Sunday, November 15, 2015

My Heart Is Sad

I didn't know exactly what had happened in Paris at first, only that it was something terrible.

I was sick and exhausted that day.  I needed all my energy just to recover from grocery shopping enough to make it to work.

Waiting in the hall for the bridal party to enter the reception, we folded black napkins and talked about the end of the world.  Terror attacks in Paris.  A natural disaster in Japan.

Later, I found out the details and learned about the other attacks.  An outpouring of reactions on social media.  Hands reaching out to help.

My heart is sad, a pervasive chill.  My heart is sad for the lives lost; for victims who were simply enjoying life, celebrating it at a concert or along busy streets.  My heart is sad for those who have lost family or friends, and those still waiting to learn their fates ... and both thinking the other camp is lucky.  Is it better to still have hope or better to know?

My heart is sad because for some, the response was to push their political agenda, while others delighted in pointing out their pettiness, somehow feeling that was morally superior.  My heart is sad because there are people for whom the triumph of their viewpoint is so important they genuinely believe tragedy is lessened if it becomes a call to action.

My heart is sad because everyone believes they are right.

The life of a homeschooled child:  I overslept the morning of the 9/11 attacks.  When my mother awakened me to explain what had happened, I at first thought she was telling me a macabre joke.

That morning, we all left an era where such stories could never be true.

My heart is sad because Leonard's Bernstein's words have become a rallying cry for artists:  “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

My heart is sad because it feels as if my music has fallen quiet.

My heart is sad because I feel I should be shattered, I should be in tears.  I am not.  My heart is sad because it seems my reaction is a shadow of what should be.

My heart is sad because I am surrounded by the best moments in people's lives:  their weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, parties.  My heart is sad because I have built up a tolerance to their happiness.  My heart is sad because I react to the presence of a toddler in a wedding procession with annoyance; my mind ticks off the minutes of wedding speeches so I can do my job.

A newlywed couple last night had their young daughter (I am assuming from a previous marriage, but there are other possible stories) sing Sara Bareilles' "I Choose You."  I stood at the carving station teary-eyed.

It is a privilege to be a part - however small - of so many happy moments, a piece in a blissful puzzle.  And maybe that is my response and my role:  to perfect the business of happiness so no one has to worry about the details, merely relax into the rhythm of their best day.

My heart is sad for the moments that will never be, but dear world:  we will never stop making more of them.

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