One early morning, I was listening to music on low volume as a backdrop for doing the morning ritual of prayer/meditation/reading, what many of us call PMR. The instrumental, “Walking in the Air,” by George Winston came up on the playlist. I like the melody because it reminds me of one of my sons when he was little, just old enough to watch videos. I first heard the music when it was matched to a video of a snowman that came to life in winter and slowly melted when the warmth of spring began. The instrumental and visual was very beautiful. I would watch it as attentively as my little son would.
Hard to believe how long ago that music became a piece of my life. Many of you may never have heard the instrumental, but you do know how music can take us to places, times, and memories of the heart. How it can awaken things we weren’t thinking about before the music started and usher us into places that will always be terribly or mildly painful. Terribly painful because it can remind us of a time we wish had never been. Mildly painful because it reminds us of a place we wish we could return to or never leave, but can’t because it is past.
The mildly painful is not so bad even though it hurts, because it is always reflective of love. I remember the time with my son, wish I could have it back, recall our youth, can see him, can feel the warmth of the room, can see the trees and grass in our backyard just outside the window, can remember the simple goodness and the naïve innocence of his presence—all a part of times gone by. Wonderful and sad, the sadness that comes from caring and remembering caring that we cannot touch again unless we “re-see” what is gone.
I remember one warm day, he stood in the driveway with a Santa Clause hat on, long after Christmas. It was spring, a rain had just passed and a rainbow crossed the sky as the sun returned. I said something about a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He started walking towards the direction I pointed and said he wanted me to take him there, to that place. I recall being struck by the conflict of how much I wanted for him and how much I couldn’t deliver. There is no pot of gold and if there were, I wouldn’t be able to get us to that place. It is somewhere over the rainbow, where no one can go.
We are on earth, and bound to it. We can, however, travel beyond it. We do so by tolerating and grasping the sweet pains of remembering times and places that we wish we could touch again. We almost do touch those places again when we let the music of what matters most to us to be played again. When we let it play again in the place that matters most—the heart of who we are, where we store everything and everyone that we treasure as much as life itself. Sadness is an inexpensive price to pay when love carries it on its wings.