Sunday Morning ~ Hope
Sunga khosi, mkanda uoneka. ~ Keep your neck, the pearl will come.
~ Chewa proverb
July 28, 2019
I’m not sure why but I’m feeling hopeful this week. There are lots of events that ordinarily would have been despairing in my estimation: UK’s election for one, the fact that our country is still under the same leadership as last week another, but as I sit on my porch this morning watching bees exploring my recently blossomed hydrangea, I’ve got an inside churning with optimism. Go figure.
I saw the 80 year old Judy Collins on Friday night, standing in stiletto heels for an hour and a half singing the old songs, her voice cracking here and there but still sounding like Judy Collins. I’d not been a huge Judy Collins fan when she was top of the charts, but she was such an icon of my generation and here she was in our little renovated downtown theater, so how could I not go? I’d bought the ticket months ago and went alone but knew everyone sitting around me. Small town. To my right was a dear friend and we commented back and forth through the performance, and both laughed when she started singing Both Sides Now and the male half of three different couples in front of us slowly raised their arms and encircled the shoulders of their partners. It was so spontaneous, the song so obviously evoking sweet romantic memories, we laughed that they all had the same response to it. That song triggers some warm fuzzy memories of my own, but more of the potential of youth than any specific romantic interest. I was much more moved by her encore. She returned to the stage amid the standing ovation, took the microphone without her guitar, and sang Amazing Grace with only her pianist accompanying her. It was stunning. And it gave me hope. The wretch was saved.
When I got home from the concert I looked up the biography of Judy Collins. I realized as I watched her sing I knew nothing about her. She talked about her father and his radio and stage career (I had no idea who he was) and made references to her wilder days and alluded to drinking, but it was all a little vague and I didn’t have a clear picture of where she’d come from. I read about the origin of her songs, what a musical prodigy she was, her activism, her alcoholism, the suicide of her only son, and how she has come through all that. And at eighty she could still stand in heels and perform for a sold-out audience and move people to hug their partners and stand up and cheer. It all gave me hope.
At mass this morning we had a missionary guest, a Brother from Uganda who works with prison inmates and the homeless. Before he spoke he sang, a cappella, a hymn from Uganda that came straight from his bone marrow. I was covered in goose bumps. He then described his childhood in a Ugandan village with an alcoholic father and desperate poverty. He said it is miraculous to him that he could be standing in the church here in Maine speaking to all of us. His story was remarkable and it gave me hope.
It’s music festival week here and last evening the house was filled with talent and energy. We talked politics and someone asked if I really thought Betsy Sweet had a chance of beating Susan Collins? I said, “Well, sure if people vote for her she has a chance.” And all of a sudden it seemed so easy, so hopeful, that we can turn this around. So, yeah, keep your neck. The pearl is coming.
Love to all,