Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I Sing Sara Bareilles (A Continued Thank You to Gilead)

And it don't hurt
like anything I've ever felt before
This is no broken heart
no familiar scars
this territory goes uncharted... 

I have been singing this song constantly since I first heard it over the Easter weekend when my dear friend Liz burned me a CD (that included some fabulous French pop music...). I don't know what caught me first. Maybe it was the beat - the song sounds like a seven year old pounding down the sidewalk covered in popsicle juice and holding brightly colored chalk triumphantly.

Maybe it was her voice - she sounds like your fiery best friend who fights hard for you, splashes a martini in the face of the guy who stood you up, who picks you up when you've fallen into the cracks of the playground four square.

Maybe it was the laughter I can hear creeping into her voice - like the first giant wave that plows over your squealing and wriggling self on the first full day at the beach in summertime.

But whatever it is, I'm finding my heart a little fluttery these past few days. It dips and soars. And in reading Gilead, I'm learning that perhaps the fluttering heart is not something to solve, but something to live. Maybe the peace isn't driving storms from the horizons but just bearing them carefully.

When John Ames (the narrator in Marilynne's beautiful story) writes, I hear him bearing storms carefully, knowing that they're bigger than he knows. Knowing that they're somehow exquisite. That in the blink of an eye they can be turned into laughter. Because, as Ames reminds me, "It is an amazing thing to watch people laugh, the way it sort of takes them over..." (page 5)

(Photo: Hannah Cochran)
So I sing Sara Bareilles in the foggy afternoon driving home from the library with Gilead (Where did my copy go?). And because my heart weighed heavy with things, I drove on, past the left turn towards home, through the lights, into the drizzle, and sang loud because when we soften our hearts to the world, to its luminescence, we discover that in a moment, our storms become laughter. We bear them well.

As Gilead gently peels away at the layers of storminess in my heart, as it reminds me that there is so much of the world that flames with God. That we can smell beauty in the air. The daffodils aim their trumpets towards the sky and the tulips bend open, and the peonies with their ferocious pink centers and feathery petals paint the landscape. How could I have forgotten that the world is this good? 

And how good it is that we are sent reminders in songs and books and car drives in the rain. 

"I love the prairie! So often I have seen the dawn come and the light flood over the land and everything turn radiant at once, that word 'good' so profoundly affirmed in my soul that I am amazed I should be allowed to witness such a thing. There may have been a more wonderful first moment 'when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy,' but for all I know to the contrary, they still do sing and shout, and they certainly might well. Here on the prairie there is nothing to distract attention from the evening and the morning, nothing on the horizon to abbreviate or to delay. Mountains would seem an impertinence from that point of view." (page 246)

Love, from my still-softening, still-wondering heart, 
(Photo: Mandie Sodoma)

1 comment:

  1. I am a fellow reader-and-lover of Gilead. But gear up before you read Home. In some ways it's like dropping a brick on your toe.


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