Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘grief’

I wasn’t only thinking about Aleppo when I wrote this song. Christmas doggedly returns at the darkest time of the year, and sometimes it feels nearly impossible – or insincere, or inconsiderate – to celebrate when so many people are suffering.

But I think that tears of compassion and even deep personal suffering can coexist with tidings of comfort and joy. And the longer I live, the more that is what Christmas – and life in general – is about for me.

So let’s sing and celebrate – and mourn and grieve. Let’s be fully alive and unafraid this Christmas season. True “Christmas spirit” is not a mask that must pretend everything is okay in order to start the festivities, but a wholehearted embrace of the world and the people in it, just as I find them.

I’m not saying I know much about how to do this, or can even possibly begin to understand what so many people have experienced or are going through right now. But I do know that I’d rather practice listening and opening my heart to people – and risk making mistakes – than ignore and pretend – and shrink my world down to what feels manageable.

Once more, with feeling.

Here’s my song for week 50 of #songaweek2016:

it’s an old weathered song
at the darkest time of the year
merry christmas, merry christmas once more
we raise up a toast
and we try to drum up the cheer
merry christmas, merry christmas once more

while the bombs keep on dropping
and nobody’s stopping to cry

it’s a tired refrain
that keeps proclaiming peace and good will
merry christmas, merry christmas once more
and the stars keep their watch
and the snow lies cold and still
merry christmas, merry christmas once more

Read Full Post »

When Abraham Lincoln was in his late thirties, he revisited his childhood home, and wrote a poem about it. Though the American Civil War and his own early death were still years into his future, the poem he wrote in 1846 feels like a fitting backdrop for many of the Civil War photos I came across while making this video.

The song is also on my Soundcloud page, where you can download it for free: https://soundcloud.com/julia-tindall-bloom/my-childhood-home-i-see-again

 

Read Full Post »

His mother sleeps deeply, dying in a nursing-home bed. Her sunken eyes are shut in her flower-fragile face, framed with soft gray curls, adorned by a pink satin pillowcase. The baby doll she’s lately fostered lies tucked in beside her, under a blanket trimmed with lace crochet.

His sister sits beside his mother, leading her own sparkly grandchildren in a Sunday School hymn-sing, and his nephew’s wife kneels on the floor changing her daughter’s diaper.

He stands in the doorway, arms folded over chest, casually roasting the President in small talk with his brother-in-law.

Behind him in the hallway, young Sudanese immigrants wheel the shriveled children of Scandinavian immigrants to and from their rooms, their meals, the bath, the toilet.

Outside the building, breezes blow, sun warms soil, trees shiver their leaves, and cars loaded with people he will never know speed by on the busy freeway.

On the other side of the earth, it is dark. People and animals are sleeping in houses, huts, nests, and holes under the moon and the stars. Mothers are nursing babies, and elder daughters are changing the soiled clothes of grandfathers.

Out past the atmosphere planets are turning like lonely wolves, dark matter hangs like a disremembered dream, suns are dying and others being born.

So he talks, and stands, for a hard long while.

We wear our grief like fingerprints, and our tears – however, whenever, if ever they fall, are shaped like snowflakes.

Read Full Post »

On Saturday Silas and I walked downtown to buy a book for his kindergarten class gift exchange.

On Friday our town had been a snow-covered Christmas-fairy-tale village. Then it rained. It rained on Friday night, and all day Saturday. The rain erased the snow and exposed the husks and straw of fall to the numb gray sky.

We bought our book and headed home through the mist. Everything was crying. We moved slowly and silently, my 37-year-old legs newly attuned to his six-year-old pace.

The cheerful Christmas music piped through Central Park’s loudspeakers sounded alien and anachronistic.

We passed the post office and the library, who face one another across Broadway. Their flags waved wearily where they had fallen, halfway to the muddy ground.

We passed my children’s school, whose flag also trailed low, heavy with its load of grief.

We passed three neighbor boys on bicycles. I smiled and said hello. They were painfully beautiful.

That was a very long walk. I am still tired from it.

Read Full Post »