The week held such a diversity of doings and goings on that to actually fully know the pleasure of life in a moment by moment way was a challenge. But I found I appreciated the challenge, the fullness. Even when it meant that within 24 hours of posting about the flu vaccine my daughter would catch the flu. I had to laugh at the irony and remember just how difficult it is to stare down some daunting symptoms. It fortunately rarely happens with my children.
The dance with naturopathic and allopathic modes of healing can require fancy footwork. Sometimes it inevitably shoves us in line awaiting antibiotics. Forget the dance. And I don’t do antibiotics if I can help it. But when the “I” is your daughter, the considerations range from how you’re affecting her own autonomy in health and just how much school she can stand to miss. So, hello amoxicillin. See, I don’t hate allopathic medicine. I just appreciate choice and the knowledge needful to repair the damage done by the blasting fix of antibiotics.
My son, in the meantime, has been flu-free and literally giddy about wielding bow to violin and joining a crowd of other violinists, cellists, harpists and bassists in a feast of music. I sat waiting 45 minutes early for the concert to get the best seat. It was a pleasure to watch him stand with violin, testing the feel and sound, preparing. He’s the middle guy and as much as I’ve been determined to protect him from the frustrations of his birth order, life has been equally determined to assert the inevitable tide. It felt good to see the middle guy, front and center. And there are memories in that place. It was the same stage my daughter twirled and leapt on in ballet wonder 4 years previous before deciding the rigors of ballet took the joy out of dance. And here was his own moment to assert his unique dance, his own vital preeminence.
So many curtain calls and life changes between now and then can easily put the soul in shock, half-present listening, half-engaged waiting to “be” in the moment of “being there” for a son. But facing the shock is much like tending to a musical instrument, tuning the strings, testing the sound. Resting into an aware and wakeful listening. Attentive. You eventually find the clarity, the moment of opening up to the moment itself. And you find life plays you sweetly enough, sometimes gently, sometimes powerfully. And it culminates in an auditorium. Or anywhere. You sit and know that the uncertainties residing between one resolution and the next are part of the process of growth, of living itself and that it is no less normal to need downtimes of clarity and “tuning” than it is for a violin to need the hands and ears of expert redress. Or even just novice care.
At one point, the conductor and instructor of the older set of musicians started a Bach piece and then, after an obviously bad start, stopped the dischordant flow. She turned, faced the audience with a bright smile and said “I’m sorry. They worked too hard and can do this so much better to continue. We obviously got a bad start. Pardon us as we begin again.” The crowd cheered, clapping. We didn’t want to pretend either! And the resulting beautiful melody proved their skill.
It’s like that symphony, life is. You wait. You practice. You tune. You go through so many changes. You find new ground in your thinking on everything from sex to medicine to music. Or you stay in the safe case, stashed in the corner, last tuned for that same sweet song. It’s safe enough. It’s truly a choice and it’s not about “right” or “wrong” as much as it’s about knowing what you want to do with it all. And what the choices will require of us. And it is, all of it, about choosing consciously what we will risk.
I’ve decided I prefer the symphony of living.