Thoroughly Alive

We must hunger after the beautiful and the good...


Sky of caribbean blue...

I sat in my room for an hour yesterday. The morning was a shadowed one. I stretched on the tiny couch so that my face met the tawny, mist-framed green of the mountain, and the dove light dripped and flowed over my sight. I'd read, I'd studied, I'd thought on my rainy morning, and now, I wanted music. Joy had mentioned the lyrics of an old Enya song to me the day before, and I suddenly remembered the passionate, teenage adoration I'd borne the very mysterious Enya and her ethereal music. The song itself, a twirling, foot-tapping waltz of a thing came tumbling into my mind, this joyous presence I'd forgotten. I plugged in my iPod and sat back, listening. Memories, states of being, get woven into music for me. To hear one particular song is, at times, to reacquaint myself with the heart and knowledge I had when I first heard it. Hear an old song and you find a feeling in your heart, a taste in your mouth, familiar as yourself. For me yesterday, the taste was joy. I remembered being seventeen, just moved to the eastern side of the states, with Enya as my soundtrack on long, summer conference road trips up and down the verdant east coast. Her buoyant, rather whimsical music was my marching tune as I explored my loop of lake road and wandered the farmer's fields that bordered my new home. One song especially, Wild Child, with its lines of:

Only take the time, From the helter skelter, Every day you'll find, Everything's in kilter... What a day! What day to take to, What a way! What a way to make it through...

It was my chorus. Those were hard years, and yet my heart was budding with the vibrant secret of a joy I was discovering in music and Scripture, that hummed on beyond the reach of circumstance or irritation. Another song, with the lines of

If all you told was turned to gold, if all you dreamed was new, imagine sky high above, in Caribbean blue,

was my anthem. In my dreamer's heart I was sure the blue sky she sang about was symbolic of joy. I remember loping down the hot, humming Tennessee roads to the whirling beat of the song. The blue she celebrated was the the fact of joy, the truth of a mighty hearbteat pulsing gladness right at the center of creation. I became acquainted in those days, and somewhat through the grace of that music, with the fact that it was a beautiful thing merely to be alive, to love and exult right in the face of this uphill climb of a life.

It was that glory returned to my heart as I lay on the couch yesterday. I have, perhaps, loosened what should have been a stranglehold on gladness in the past few years. My eyes have been so much on the fight for redemption, the struggle through all the foibles of fallen life, the helping of the broken, that the sheer gladness of liveness has been a little lost on me. But that's the beat of my heart deep down. Beauty has broken through though. That song, and then, this week in a craggy, cool, green place. God knows so much better than I what my heart needs. I dragged my feet a bit at the thought of another trip, even to Austria. I've been in a hurry for years. I've needed the grace to be aware of how wildly good a thing it is to have a mind to think and a heart to beat and lungs to draw life from the air around me like magic. Thank God for these days, this rest I didn't know I needed and the joy he stored up here to greet me. And know to the full again.

I wish the same to you.