Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Dark Night

I have found myself not writing to this blog this week in part because I was feeling like I SHOULD write upbeat or positive. The problem is that I haven't felt positive and upbeat. I have been in a funk thinking about Vicki and the unfairness of what has happened to her and about my life and how empty it feels. I feel that I need to be honest and DARK if need be! I know I feel alone and sad. Life is so very different. Sometimes doing even simple things feels like I am trying to climb a very steep mountain. I know through hospice that other losses and deaths can trigger feelings about my loss! I read this passage from DARK NIGHTS OF THE SOUL....

When you have lost someone close to you, and friends try to comfort your grief, you know, but they don't, that what you are experiencing is beyond grief. You sense in your body and in the fullness of your emotion a great rupture in the world you have known, an irrevocable emptiness that is not just to be felt but completely absorbed if you are to go on. A genuine dark night of the soul takes you to this crossroad where you have an opportunity, extremely hard won, to live in a different world.

I guess that sums it up for me. No matter how hard I try I cannot put into words what I feel. I try but it is so much deeper that words can express. I know I have to take this ride. I have no choice but to endure and slowly move towards living in a very different world!

Music continues to be a way to reach inside myself. I listened to this song tonight and it seemed to fit. I love Blood Sweat and Tears...even saw them in concert while they were still vital!




video

Monday, April 27, 2009

A community of love and compassion!


A new friend and his wife are dealing with the loss of a loved one...her mother. While I know their faith will sustain them through this difficult time, I know all too well how much the love and care of a community can comfort in times of loss. Death and the feelings of loss suck! My thoughts are with them. I once asked a very wise person what she did at times like this and she said, "I simply hold them up to light!" So I simply do the same...holding them with love and care and seeing light, even in darkness.

Friday, April 24, 2009

AMAZING MEMORIES!!!!!

I was sitting here listening to music from my hard drive and a song came up and I am overwhelmed with emotion with this memory from last summer! I had purchased Rock Band for Bailey and he had been looking forward to playing drums since he plays percussion in school. He also had been mastering Guitar Hero for awhile so he was looking forward to playing another instrument! Well one night we decided to have a family band and of course Bailey had the drums and I agreed to play lead guitar....then we had to talk Vicki into lead singer. She really didn't want to do it and let us know she had no idea about the songs we were considering. For what reason I do not remember, well maybe it was one of the few songs with a female lead singer, we chose to try "I Think I'm Paranoid" by GARBAGE. An irony considering Vicki's status as a church school superintendent and elementary school teacher. (You'll see what I mean when you hear and see the video) The first time through we all made mistakes but it went pretty well. I got the hang of the guitar and Bailey was loving the drums. If you have never played Rock Band you have to know that you really sing into a mic and must hit the notes to score in the game well. Well, of course Vicki hit the notes but she sang in a way that sounded like her Church Choir voice. It was sort of like Marilyn Manson meets Pavarotti and Bailey knew that it was wrong. He sternly let Vicki know that she was in the wrong key or something like that and she wasn't doing it right. Well, the second time through was perfect. We clicked as a band and I was amazed at way Vicki changed her voice to match that of Shirley Manson the lead singer of the band. We were sooo excited that we even did the song again and ended the night discussing our next band rehearsal! She was so cute and I can still hear her singing that night. She had a big smile on her face. Memories are precious....here is the song.....


Of course within a week I went out and bought the CD since I liked the song.....and the more I listen closely the more irony hear!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Good Day!

Today was a good day! I spent a few hours today chatting with a friend! It was an honest, open sharing of ideas and experiences.....Music, theology, memory..simple and complicated thoughts and lots of synchronicity and meaning! The two of us...like many others are seekers of truth and we realize none of us possesses it all. In fact in the span of things we probably have very little!! This journey of light and dark and many shades of gray that we call life is a miracle all by itself. To be alive on this globe spinning around the middle of a universe is a reminder to remain humble to the forces of nature. We are evolving and changing. Life gives way to death which paves the way for life again! The world can be transformed from a place of violence and selfishness to place of peace and community! Open minds and open hearts are the key to a life that can appreciate beauty and embrace and cope with tragedy! We can be sure that we will experience all sorts of pain and pleasure in life!
This song is perfect.............and very Beatles...on purpose.......

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Me and My Big Ideas!

Today was just a bland day and I just felt wiped out. Since Vicki died I just have days like that...kinda down and lethargic! I spent lots of time thinking about Vicki and her quiet way of going about living her life! I am more talkative and full of spoken words. I guess you could say I was the big mouth of the two of us. Sometimes that difference caused strain...sometimes it worked perfectly! The bottom line is her quiet service to God on this planet endeared her to hundreds of people. Her memorial service was certainly evidence of her impact. My big mouth hasn't accomplished nearly as much....I guess there is a lesson there.



Tears for Fears music really appeals to me. Most of their songs revolve around the human condition. Their first Album about childhood trauma (THE HURTING)was big in England but did poorly here because it was so melancholy! The second Album, Songs From The Big Chair got it's inspiration from Arthur Janov and his primal scream therapy which both members of the group took part in, thus the BIG Chair reference. The hit song, Shout was in fact about Scream Therapy! I love psychology..it was my major in college and my interest in life along with philosophy and theology! I guess I have typed my way full circle to my own childhood which was full of hurting due to alcohol abuse by my Father!

Anyhow...my Favorite Album by Tears is Raoul and The Kings of Spain. This next song is also from that CD and like most of this amazing CD touches on faith in GOD! Some musicians just appeal to you for reasons unknown..this music just does!!!!! This song is full of Paradox!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Living, Breathing, Growing!

I am sitting here eating a Bologna sandwich and I just finished watching the last 45 minutes of the Movie "Almost Famous". I've seen the movie maybe 10 times and it is my favorite Rock and Roll movie. Great music, good story.....but what is on my mind is today's church service at First Church in Pittsfield MA. I have noticed something interesting and it offers proof that while maybe struggling ,this is a place that is living, breathing and growing! Today, had a different feel, an aura of love...healing...caring....and community....a caring community. Dianne and James sang a song..a beautiful song and it felt like a gift...like love being passed back to the many people who loved them enough to care and pray about a crisis they are dealing with. It just all felt right and full of emotion! Isn't this evidence of life. The building had a different feel. Just like Palm Sunday had a different feel when instead of the expected few people staying for a "Community Communion", everyone stayed, sang and prayed in spite of there not being enough room. Who cared about that..we all just squeezed together as a community, much like a group of early Christians may have done spontaneously in a dark crowded cave or small room to share in a celebration of communion...eating bread and drinking wine to lead more intoxicating and creative lives! Hmmm...evidence of life right. For if it was dead we'd come back week after week to feel the same..look the same...act the same! If something that once lived is dead...when you go back days later it will look and feel the same..in fact the only evidence of change would be smell and rot...not loving, sharing and giving back to those who gave to you! I just looked up the word AURA in the dictionary...wanting to be sure I had it right...and one definition is cool.."a luminous radiation"! I love the word luminous...seems spiritual to me....the moon is luminous...as is the sun...one takes place at night..the other during the day...both are beautiful!

So back to Church...something living and organic is happening...and interestingly when I read our minister's blog he talked about spending the latter part of the day gardening..perfect...cultivating souls at church..cultivating the land to produce beauty...both are a little bit of heaven..both require getting your hands dirty..but both bring joy and build windows and doors to a room here on earth that I see as the Kingdom of Heaven! How about a song from "Almost Famous" to end for this day!

Well, enough rambling...I just feel that I am seeing some things and I am not sure I am communicating what I feel very well...This is just stream of consciousness writing...maybe I am so tired I am delirious. Sleep has not been my friend lately!

Oh yes....one last thing...the music today is not to be under estimated in its ability to create a spirit and power to transform, heal and guide. I can never escape the truth of creativity as the hand of God. John Keats said, "I believe in nothing but the the holiness of the hearts affections and the truth of the imagination." Ralph Waldo Emerson in his poem The Poet wrote that, "the poet stands one step nearer to things!"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Lonely Day!

Well, I spent most of the day cleaning (yuck) things that haven't been cleaned in along time!! Sure was lonely but I had music playing throughout the house to keep me company! I realized that I am surviving much the way I did when I was a child. The spirit of music kept me alive during the very turbulent years of abuse that existed in my home! It provided escape and fantasy but also provided lots of meaning and ways to safely allow me to feel. So, that is what I was doing today. Lots of thoughts and feelings about Vicki, our past. One song really stuck out for me. Probably because it is such a beautiful song by REM and has a melancholy and uplifting feel (a bit of paradox).......

The second song reminds me of this past summer when Vicki was feeling pretty good and we could almost forget the difficulty we were facing. I called Vicki over to the computer and played this song and as it went along we just looked at each other with tears in our eyes. No Words...just feeling...
I had actually purchased this Eagles CD around Christmas time of 2007 but for some reason never even opened it till early summer 2008. It really is an excellent double CD. The Eagles remind me of my first car in the early to mid 70's and my 8-track tape player and just cruising with no worries!

In Loving Memory of Vicki




Today Vicki's school honored her by dedicating the lobby of the school in her name. They raised funds to buy 3 benches and several plants to make the entrance to the school warm and welcoming, much the way Vicki was during her 20 plus years of teaching students at Morningside Elementary School. Each bench has a small plaque with an inscription that says, "In Loving Memory of Vicki Forfa..Dedicated Teacher & Friend...2009. The Superintendent, and Principal said many kind words about Vicki and then I spoke briefly. These are pictures from the lobby. It was an emotional room with tears as well as smiles and fond, lasting memories. I also shared a poem that everyone agreed was perfect and in many ways connected to the musical, kind soul Vicki was. I found this poem while reading my Minister's blog. It was written by John O'Donahue. It is wonderful.....

ON THE DEATH OF THE BELOVED

Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or might or pain can reach you.

Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of colour.

The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything.

Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.

Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was live, awake, complete.

We look towards each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul’s gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.

When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.
May you continue to inspire us:
To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.
















Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I will not take these things for granted!

I have been contemplating creating this blog for some time and recently decided to give it a go. I have been reading my minister's blog for a few months and I think that experience is what convinced me to give it a try. I follow his blog and it is listed in my profile! Take a look...he is amazing! For some reason I am a bit afraid of all of this.

Anyway, I believe in the following quote, "Truth can only be expressed aesthetically--in story, picture, film, dance and music." This is a quote from "Dark Nights of the Soul" by Thomas Moore. The book is the last (and most profound) book that I read just before my wife of 22 years was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She died in December of 2008. She was an amazing person and I miss her terribly! She was a light, a kind, caring soul who loved doing things to help others. I admire her more today than ever. I guess this blog is my way of communicating my thoughts. It cannot replace Vicki but maybe it can give me an outlet! I love this Toad the Wet Sprocket song and have been listening to it a lot lately......makes me think of Vicki.....