Compared to those who lost everything including those they love, I've quietly felt my challenges weren't legitimate enough to even consider myself impacted by the flood.
For this reason, I nearly didn't attend "Voices Rising" the ritual of remembering held at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center this week.
Now I'm grateful I listened to the quiet nudging of my internal GPS.
After a beautiful ceremony presided over by Barry Scott's rich voice and book ended by symphony members playing "Fanfare for the Common Man" and Will Hoge singing "Washed by Water," I walked around the symphony hall specifically to see "The Recording Angel."
There she stood quill in hand recording the tones just as I recalled the first time we met. This time though I noticed a quote inscribed by the female sculptor on the back of the pedestal on which the angel stands.
"The recording angel inscribes the tones, that envelope the heart and heal the bones, that lighten life's toll and soothes the soul." - Audrey Flack .
My soul was fed by the folds of her garment, the intricacies of her feathered wings and flame-like hair and the quotes from Einstein, Huxley, Shakespeare and others engraved on the granite surrounding the angel.
I stood in wonder yet wondering what else I might have missed around the symphony hall when a young man walked past. I asked him about other sculptures in the area and he told me of the fireman on buildings opposite side. I thought this an oddity until he shared that the symphony hall is built on the site of the city's first fire hall.
How had I missed the fireman? Tucked near the East entrance, he stands, a memorial to first responders past and present. The memorial described the fireman's symbol, the Maltese cross a symbol of protection adopted from the Knights of St. John who fought for the Holy Land hundreds of years prior.
What extraordinary beauty that the space, the literal land, housing those who fought fire and its potential destructiveness now houses a space for those playing with fire, the fire of passion and creativity. Both firemen and musicians save lives by living from that place that is the inner Holy Land, the territory of the heart.
This took me back to Colquitt, Georgia and the sign that hangs on their fire hall. The sign reads: "When called. We respond."
Last year from Middle Tennessee the call arose and people responded. Neighbors and strangers from near and far answered the call.
The waters have long subsided. We aren't all firemen and musicians, but now just as then we are still called for we are each carriers of the heart's holy land.
We're called to stay awake, to each find our personal way of reaching out to our human kin across the Southeast who have now lost all as well as those in Japan. We are called to stay awake and maintain connections with one another not just in times of crisis but at all times. Through these connections we become the recording angel, the vehicles for healing the bones, lightening life's toll and soothing the soul.
May we each in our own personal way, answer the call that comes every day.
Imagine that Shift in your life and the world!
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 2 May 2011