, Thomas CC
I sit here humbled, but one guest among many who have traveled so far in the spring of their lives to share with imperfect strangers their deep songs of pain and joy and all the matters that matter. To matter. It matters how many times, or barely, or not at all, we have heard such words spoken from others. Many do not feel that they matter at all. Then, one night, a song comes on the radio, speaks what your heart has been crying out for years, washes over you, and there it is, a voice that says it matters. Sometimes, I swear, art is just a dressed up miracle.
I imagine many of you have known what it is to be almost saved, held upward by a stranger's words, or song, or painting, or film. Artists intend many things with their art, but there is also the unbidden moment, the thing you don’t see coming. Something in us works through us. It’s elusive and holy. It’s no God, it’s just… witnessing. We need a witness to our mattering. Our shattering. We need a witness in order to heal.
Our caregivers are the first witness. And if that witnessing goes wrong, or is missing, the dark we learn to adjust our eyes to both saves and destroys us. It takes a long time to learn how to separate the life-giving from the death-dealing ways of carrying on. Trauma is a force to be reckoned with. Unwitnessed early, we carry the feeling most of our lives that ours is a life unseen, unheld, unheard. Worse, undeserving.
The miracle is in all of the things, and people, we find along the way to counter that feeling, that loss. What a loss. And yet, what a gift. “We wish it were easier,” Michael Eigen writes, “but what choice do we have when illumination shines through injury?”
Can I get a witness? That’s the real deal, why we’re here. There are fancier ways to say it, but when that midnight song comes on the radio and washes us to shore, we know art to be that cracked vessel that carries us through, through and through.
I say it almost saves us, because the bittersweet truth of it is, we are never saved. But to be heard, seen, held, and believed. That’s not nothing. A listening ear, a hand to the shoulder, a seat at the table, a place to call some kind of home. Some kind of belonging. Of mattering.
Friends, I hope you know that the gifts you have brought to this space are nothing short of a miracle. An overused word perhaps, miracle, but it’ll have to do. It’s the closest thing. Just like that song on the radio, speaking the thunderous language of the heart, making it known, we are not alone. We are not alone. If not for you, there would be no here, and now, and as we are, gathered for but a moment, to witness. To hold each other upward.
Upward friends, upward.
Until we meet again... Know that you matter. That even when it doesn't feel like it, the world needs you here. Here and here and here...
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.