‘Peace be with you’, said Christ: I sang last night
In a review of the movie “A Later Quartet “, reviewer Ivan Hewett writes: “One feels that the players have re-learned something they momentarily forgot: the music they play is wiser than they are.
With the theme of yesterday’s Gospel ” Peace be with you ” still fresh with me. I offer my thoughts about the music being wiser than the player in terms of this priest rediscovering – again – the promise of peace, or rather ” a peace” that disappears from time to time.
Last night I caught myself singing. That I could not have done the day before. Then there was no voice. I was out of tune with me. Discordant with myself, as that black dog depression had again removed life’s rythms. But last night I caught myself singing. The mind’s trip-switch had blipped and this reasonably functioning guy became deconstructed, psychologically, spiritually and physically. For the past few weeks I was functioning, just that, surviving 24/7. An inate fault-line reopened and my emotional universe closed down. Depression, whatever its duration, whatever its particular kind, is a deep wounding in which thought and time become allies with a self-destructive capacity.
Over the years my personal experience tells me that such pain, indeed all pain, is always an encounter with meaning. I can do without such encounters – thank you very much. I want to be reasonably happy, fairly content. There is pain without gain, “they” say. That can seem at times dismissive, callous, that is not my intention here. It contains truth, there is no pain without some gain, even if that gain is a slight movement towards meaning.
There is a hermeneutic of pain. The wounding needs interpetation. I believe from my life’s experience that the now-so-familiar symptoms are in themselves a desire for healing. I believe this to be particularly true of men that we are scared of our very malenss and of anything that might be the slightest hint of weakness. We male priests are very afriad of each other and somewhere within that fear is the issue of male power.
James B. Nelson in his book ” Body Theology ” says ‘ perhaps three of the hardest things for many men tosay are: ‘ I need. I hurt. I can’t.” Maybe, maybe it is only in articulating these sentiments within ourselves first, that we will come to an encounter with God, Father/Mother, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
So, last night I found myself singing, and today I can answer Susan’s unresponded- to five telephone calls of yesterday. Her cat is ill – again. She rings and rings me when Trixie is ill. ‘ You are always there for me Father, what will I do if Trixie dies, please, listen to me.’ I dare not tell her how much i envy that blessed cat! So, with some courage restored and with the ‘ Peace be with you’ of yesterday still in my heart Susan and I will enter into dialogue – again – about her blessed and much-loved Trixie.
I am writing this as part of my voice-finding. I write it for you if you understand what I have been trying to say here and I also write it for you even if you have no experience whatsoever of what I write. It’s just a brother of yours letting you know that I sang last night.