I am in a sentimental mood today. And I really didn’t expect that this story would be my very first post on my journey’s blog. But life is like that sometimes.
I have been listening to some beautiful and truly heart-wrenching music – wordless music that speaks of the relationship between two lovers – the euphoria, the fire, the pain, the sorrow, the death, and finally, the wondrous transformation. It is music that takes me on a journey to the most intimate parts of my heart and exposes it to a light bathed in glorious sound.
I have been listening for hours now. Alone, sitting on my couch, only vaguely aware of the day’s lengthening shadows. Yet, I am in need of nothing. I feel perfectly content. The music has so directly penetrated my soul, lifted and taken me to a place that knows no time.
And, in a moment so infinitesimally brief and so light that I only know it has occurred because of its lasting effect on my being, I finally understand. I feel a great love and compassion for an elderly man that I once knew, many years ago. A man that was greatly misunderstood by those closest to him.
He was a stoic man who provided well for his family and in his retirement worked hard to keep the lives of his loved ones in one piece, just when it seemed as if everything would explode. He wasn’t very good at it, and in one way or another, we all let him know it. But his heart was in the right place and he never stopped trying to tame a firestorm that was untamable at its core. I am sure his frustration and disappointment were unfathomably deep.
And that’s where the memory that is etched in my mind begins. I can’t tell you how many times over the years that I saw him sitting in his rocking chair just inches away from the enormous speakers, eyes closed. He always played huge classical symphonic pieces, very loud. He would sit there -- probably asleep most of the time, especially as he aged -- listening to his music, in the living room, in the pathway of all the activity of the house. In spite of all the commotion around him, of grandkids noisily chasing each other round and round the stairwell, phones ringing, Game Boys pinging, people yelling, and chainsaws buzzing.
He sat there with a peaceful look upon his face. Oblivious to the chaos. Transported to the place where the music took him. A place so rich, so welcoming, so peaceful. A place where he had a place, where he was in need of nothing.
I never understood how he could do it. How he could concentrate so hard. How he could block everything out. What it brought to him. But now I understand. It was his true home. His place of complete contentment.
I wish I could tell him that I understand, and that I go there, too. When I listen to music so deeply.