Sometimes there is not a word. I try, you know, with words. It’s a blog, for God’s sake (really)! But, now wow oh how, and I could throw in a meow if I were feeling sassy. Maybe the word could be mewow.
I just walked into this coffee shop where often I write. I’d found a mug at home, finally, that is perfect for a quad upside-down con panna. It’s a once-a-week kick with cream on top (it begins on bottom [it’s upside down], but the cream slowly rises to the top, coating itself in four shots of espresso). The place is bustling with students between classes, and someone keeps leaving the door open, and it is so cool in here. I get my drink, and find a table. In the corner! And easily I settle in beneath glorious music, wrapped in velvet, from the overhead speaker. Ella Fitzgerald. That says a lot to some of you, but there is more. I said that it is cool in this place . . .
Much earlier today I had “Georgia on My Mind”. But now, the Queen of Scat–in the purest of those velvet tones, smooth and sometimes crushed, but always velvet–is singing: “A Mellow Tone”, and then “Night and Day”, and then “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”. And just as I thought that the Queen of Scat does not scat in those songs, now it is “Blue Skies” with scat all through it. You might need to look up scat for the contextual meaning here; it has nothing to do with animals or tracking them except in a metaphor, stretched thin.
Dear God, thank you for jazz. For all music and Music, but right now, you are giving me jazz. You always give us some kind of song, even if it’s the blues . . . but not today, nothing at all like that, except in that blue sky. The sky, outside that open door, is crisp and blue. Blue Skies covered in scat.
Below (with a few edits, one of them snarky) is what I wrote from Georgia just as the sun rose this morning. And I meant it and I do.
I do mean it now, as I meant it then. And I will live it until I die, and then I and you! will just keep living.
I wake up and make some sort of sound like a sigh, but in a lower register. Then I stretch, and my neurons begin to rub elbows, having become all fired up earlier with that sigh. I try to pray, and then I do pray. And then I think about it all. All of everything at once . . . every day. It’s my everyday.
That song, “Georgia on My Mind”, came to me today while on the neural freeway. It has been recorded SO many times, but I am thinking of the Hoagy Carmichael version, (lyrics by Stuart Gorrell) from the 1930s. It could be about a woman, a state of mind, or the general region of The South [except Texas, snarky edit)], or even Georgia (ours, not Russia’s, formerly). The song has been appropriated beyond its intentions or meaning, and that is ok, as long as it stays alive through all that.
So, you are on my mind today, and I will be praying for each of you by name, guided by the To: space up there in the email [letter], as I do.
This summer, I read something that has not left me, about God’s love and ours. One love, really. Differing modalities, all those Greek words you’ve heard about, all the ways you think about it, how we mean it when we say it, and so on . . . all of that, sure. But, to me, there is only One Love.
What I had read was about Incoming/Outgoing/Incoming love. And that brings me to a metaphor, related to USPS, which is my “work”, on my day off.
Outgoing mail is what you send. Put some in your box and raise the flag. Drop it in a slot, put it in a basket or tray. You place it somewhere safe. You don’t just throw it out there, do you? It would get lost, misplaced, be trampled, or whatever. You carefully address it. And put your stamp on it. And then your outgoing mail goes through a minor-miraculous process, known quite well by me. I have seen all of it, from the point you place it somewhere into the category of outgoing. From being picked up by the mailman . . . and later run through the system of conveyors and belts and high-speed readers and sorters and trays and so on until it becomes incoming mail, another category. It is now incoming, and goes through another process. It’s a process I’ve seen and most of which I do. It is more sorting, more trays, physical movement, hard work, sequential and intuitive simultaneously. It continues until finally, what was once in your hand, is now many kilometers (dozens or thousands) away, and in the hand of the recipient. Just as you intended. And you know, that once-outgoing piece of mail still has your DNA on it. Literally, it has a piece of you, or the peace of you, on it throughout the entire process and journey. But now, having become incoming, it has been touched again, by the recipient and his or her DNA. Whoever receives it, by your own intention, has now become a part of you by their receiving, and you of them, by your sending. It’s done. Yours is now theirs, from your hand into the hand of an other.
Well, you get it: God’s love is always outgoing. We–always–are in possession of that never-ending flow, and we process it as incoming and send it as outgoing. And it is received as incoming and we may reply to the sender and place it into outgoing and it goes. And keeps on going.
And, I wake up in it, sigh from it, stretch into it, think and pray and think more and pray more with it every day. It’s my everyday. May it be yours too.
I thought about this yesterday morning before work, and I almost wrote this letter then. But, it was a day after a weekend holiday, which had triple mail volume because of that Saturday being a holiday and yesterday being a Monday, and I left a little early. At work, when I got into my truck for the morning safety/mechanical check, this note was just sitting there:
I could analyze this to its near death. Why was the note there in a truck that I was not scheduled to use? I’d volunteered to do a different route, and only three people knew that. And none of them are writers of any kind, except me. I could explain it away. I could account for its presence somehow, if I were so inclined. And, my neurons work hard toward that kind of thing; they do. But, like Pascal, my heart works otherwise. IS otherwise. Like God and his love, our love.
So, there it is, and now I must leave the cool and go out into the cold for some chores. And the music has just shifted from velvet to a merino wool blanket for the cold. I am not making this up: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are singing “Please Read The Letter” . . .