Saturday, July 27, 2013

experience without reflection is only half of what it can be

In the same week I read both an interview with John O’Donohue in The Sun and one of his poems in an anthology.  I was incredibly inspired and set out to find everything he ever wrote.  It turns out that he wrote a lot.  In my quest to read and absorb every little word that he ever wrote down, I happened upon what I feel is my greatest find since stumbling upon Sand and Foam by Kahlil Gibran in a flea market back in 2002. 

My find is an audiobook, but I plan on acquiring the book as well.  

The audiobook is a compilation of blessings for all facets of life and death including home, freedom, water and addiction.  The first blessing came to me in the middle of a workday shuffle.  It was a blessing “For the family and friends of suicide.”

I had to stop working and find solace in the restroom:

And you know there are no strong people in the world.  There are only people who have not been tested.

Since then I can expect one or two blessings to pop up when I shuffle my music.  Each one inevitably sends me to the restroom where I try to push all my molecules back into a human shape so I can pull the door open and pretend like flowers are not blooming from my earbuds as their soft leaves test the strength of my lips.

Did I ever tell you about Hans Zimmer’s True Romance?  If I have, then I am certain you will want to hear it again.  If not, you must know that this is one of my most prized little nuggets of serendipity.  

One night, long before Robert and I were officially dating, I had Hans Zimmer’s The Wings Of A Film playing in my CD player.  It was set to repeat True Romance continuously.  Robert called and I answered the phone - a land line that happened to be attached to a wall on the other side of my studio apartment.  What started out as a hello turned into hours of stories, and in the background of this conversation, playing uproariously but quietly, was True Romance.  Because I did not want to leave Robert’s voice for even a second the song continued to play the entire conversation.  It has become a very special song because of this conversation.  Whenever I hear it I am instantly consumed by the stories we shared that evening over 8 years ago, stories that we repeat endlessly without questioning their repetitiousness.  Rather than growing thinner with use, the threads of our stories are growing stronger, gathering strength and vibrancy with each retelling.  Our memories have formed a hammock.  We are carried by the motion of our words.

While listening to my music today another blessing slipped in, this time a blessing for an occasion of celebration.  As I paused to listen wholeheartedly I heard: experience without reflection is only half of what it can be.  Two songs later True Romance demonstrated this beautifully.

Perhaps our devices will never stretch beyond their inanimate barriers.  The earbuds in my ears will never find a burgeoning heart beneath the beats.  My phone may hold the face of my father, but it will never draw a breath.  We can talk to our gadgets with the same sincerity we reserve for our families, but they will only respond if we give ourselves to them. 

However, I can’t help but wonder how a blessing can shout into the black hole of data and pull from it, a response.

I leave you with True Romance.

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