November Sings the Blues

November Sings the Blues
by Catherine Woodiwiss 11-24-2014
Here are some pieces taken from the article. For the full piece, go to:
After everything, it was the lonely branch trapped in a vase and stretching its arms against the grimy window above a grey parking lot that reminded me about hope …
I suddenly saw what the branch was doing. Even after death, it was calmly running interference on my restlessness, drawing me to its quiet none-ness while the tree of origin got busy hibernating…
Have you ever seen hope splashed across a November? The seasonal metaphors are familiar, of course — fields must lie fallow for a time, winter must come before spring. But have you known it — the sudden quickening, the leaves blowing before your feet as though shot through with an electric current of Incredible Secret, the taut ground waiting with barely suppressed glee to deliver the joke? …
I read the whole couplet…
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in the Lord for I shall yet praise Him, my salvation and my God.”
I’d forgotten that it was poetry. And poetry, unlike prescription, provides you a slim edge of truth on which you can hang your own dreams and fears. The best poems are slippery — wistful longings we fumble to grab hold of, and love all the more for the failed trying. Incidentally, a lot like the icicles here in the canyon. And this poem’s got edge…
So it is good to be reminded that liturgical prayers hold the darkness and the light together…
Next week the liturgical church celebrates Advent — the crown jewel of liminal spirituality. Advent is the thinnest place of Christian ritual, where material Today touches fingertips with spiritual Tomorrow. It looks forward while standing still, gently holding the embers of our souls, watching with hope for divine light and grace to set them aflame. Advent is gospel, singing, “The real story is yet to come.” Advent is the Now and the Not Yet.
But this week is for the Not Anymore. Today is for the blues. I grin with the others and tap my feet to the pianist’s flying hands, mourning with a rhythmic joy all that used to be and all that never quite was, what never should have been and what won’t ever be again. We laugh over the blues we each are living. Our words mix with the joyful sorrowful notes, and for a few chilly moments we’re here together in the deep. It’s almost like salvation. It might even be hope.
Pádraig McCarthy

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One Comment

  1. Margaret Lee says:

    Thank you Padraig. For me, Advent is always a time of waiting and is an antidote to the materialism that has taken over the mystery of the divine in the human. Coincidentally, We Are Church are having an Advent celebration on Sunday, November 30 at 2.45 p.m in Manresa, Dublin

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