The face in the mirror


The sound I heard was old.  The vibration penetrated through me. It was large. It was not a sharp sound or a fast moving sound, but rather a sound like nothing I have heard in a very long time. Specific and clear. Someplace in my mind something awoke.  A sleeping thing that I had not been aware was hibernating.  It, this thing not known, was moving, but I was not afraid.

The sound was not something I had heard with that part of my mind that pays attention to such things.  There was not a file or a folder of this sound in the registry of things to be mindful of.  So begins the first page of the new file, the recognition that it was already known, and yet never known.  The stirring thing was there, for it knew as well.  Like a call from the depths of the universe and far away, but now here and now calling on me.

The sound was not even acknowledged by my companions, as best I could tell, for they did not even stir.  The chatter and banter moved swiftly on in its thin and brisk manner. I was awakened though, and now wondered at the magnitude of the thing.  My hands felt it in the vibration of the table, a silent thing that was moving.

If you have ever watched a documentary about a Tsunami you will know that the beginning of it can be thousands of miles away.  A landslide on a cliff underwater moves down into a valley on the floor of the ocean and suddenly the power of it moves through the water.  As a child I always thought the water was moving, but that is wrong.  It is the power of the slide being transferred through the water.  It is the same for electrons moving through the copper wires.  The wires are simply the path that it takes to get to you.  It is the same for the waves of sound traveling through the air to your ear, and you hear.  It is also the power of an idea spread through the medium of the paper.  It is not the paper.  There is nothing more powerful than an Idea whose time has come. 

The power of the tsunami is manifest when the water gets shallow and the wave stands tall.  Tall enough to be seen, by taking the water from the beach and transferring it to a wall of great height that comes washing over the beach or city or trees, it cares not about the land or the destruction.  It simply moves, over and around and through…

The sound of the thing was perhaps a tone from a song. The penetrating sound, of a specific voice and of a certain speed of vibration had found its place.  The intensity and the strength narrowed into a bandwidth that was very precise.  Like it had been looking for something perfect and then the power was turned up.  I was simply sitting there and then I was transported into a place to watch, in real time, as the thing went into me and there it was; glass like none I had seen before, in a place I did not know was there.

The sound of the thing entered and went through to the place it was not to go, at a frequency I could not stop and resonated in a manner that shattered the glass that had been the defense of my heart.  The glass that had dampened the sounds of my heart and kept them inside.  The sounds of my hurts and the sounds of my hopes which remained, protected but restrained.  Hidden by a clear barrier and not set free.  You cannot have liberty without vulnerability.  To be vulnerable is the essence of liberty.  Free to express, free to move and embrace.  Free to give, that which is yours to give.  Free to be wounded and caught off guard by that which wishes to destroy.  Protected no more, but available for wounds.  And now available to tell of those wounds, for the first time in so very long.

I knew this sound, as it caught the ear of my heart.  This sound that was old.  This sound that had power.  This one with the special frequency that breaks glass walls.  This one that I had both dread and desire for.  It was old and had come when I was young.  I had looked into the eyes of this power, as it washed over my heart.  Before the glass.  Before the wounds of life.  The journey on a path that took me through a hard and dry land.  Mine is not more than yours, simply the one that I was given.  Like Frodo on his quest, it is one that needed to be walked, with the burden he carried.  And the glass walls came.

We do this and seldom realize it. Some will know and for them they may choose the “bullet proof” version, and that is fine as it goes.  The understanding is that the freedoms are all the more confining, the movements all the more restrained.  There is a thing though that is in each of us, that knowledge of our youth.  That time of knowing the freedom to look into that powerful sound and be its friend.  Free of the protections, and free of the defenses.  And somehow, we know that it will return.  To resonate within us again.

I thought it was a voice.  It might have been that look you gave, without the turning of your gaze away from my eyes.  The look that said you know and the sound that came as the wave upon the beach.  It swept past the walls and the comforts and the accepted and washed into the places it was not to be.  The enveloping sound looking to find that youthful returning stare, of a friend.  Long held back by the glass, that could see but not reach.  That little waves of feeble attempts before could not break through.  I thought I was safe, behind this glass.  I thought I was ok.

It was a voice, I suppose.  This calling to be free.  It is an interesting thing, somewhat like a coach, that the one that calls to you believes that you can achieve that which is being summoned.  That this penetrating voice believed that you were ready and that you could.  That to simply be set free from the confining walls of your heart you would also have the liberty to speak of that which had come.  That still small voice that beckons and draws and yearns.  That matches the powerful and relentless version that comes from far away and cannot be repelled.  The sound of hope crashing against fear, of the soul penetrating vibration of restraint being broken and thrown down.  That time when your eyes can see that you are now, at last, free from your own limitations.  Free to be wounded again, but with a clear heart and not one hidden.  These are wounds you can bear, for the clear heart was transformed by the sound that broke through.  By the sound of your own life returning.  By the sound of your own voice singing the song of hope to another.

There is more.  The sound of a friends beating heart when your world has been shattered is like no other.  It gets past your sobs and convulsing to a place in your hearing and knowing that brings the freedom to weep.  That your world is broken is still true, but you are breathing and there is one to wipe the tears is powerful.  That they stayed after the tsunami and sat in the debris with you is why they are your friend.  And why you are theirs.  It may have been their voice that came through, to tell the powerful truth you needed to hear and to sit in the wreckage after, and they cared enough to do both.  This is not one of the “simple friends” that has come.  This one is different.  This one has magnitude that had been hidden but hoped for.  That was not needed until now but needed so much now.  There is power in the voice that clarifies.  There is resonance in what is said.  This is what penetrates to the soul.  This is the voice that comes from far away.  This is the one that you yearn for and resist.

Simple friends will become angry and resentful, for you have changed and they are fearful that you will leave.  Abandonment is a thing. We are all called to our own destination and perhaps we will go together.  But also, there is a place they cannot go and that you must.  Just as with the friends from the Shire that walked to the boat to see Gandalf away, they are dismayed and distraught by both the surprise and the obvious finality of their friend Frodo leaving as well.  He was to go to a place they could not and they were submerged in their own sorrows and not his future.  They could not rejoice and could only weep.  They could not hear the sounds of their healing but only their loss.  This will pass, but they will not be the same.  They didn’t know it was possible to hurt this much.

The voice calls anyway.  We cannot control the time or the sounds.  And it calls.  Powerful and freeing and breaking all at once. Change simply is change.  Good or bad are what we say, but change is as it is.  The wedding and the funeral can be on the same day for separate people and the day will be filled with memories all the same.  The rivers continue and the songs are sung, but not the same songs.  Some of rejoicing and hope and others of sorrow and comfort.  And there are friends.  It is this that we are called to be and yet cannot be free within our glass walled protections.  And a voice cries out, to come play.  To play knowing that the weddings will come and separate us, and the deaths will come and remove one before the other… but it calls for us to come.  To play freely in the places we are called to be, close or far.

The voice of hope has a tone that hits you and you know, you need to call or go to see that friend.  To make the journey.  To pay the cost of the travels and to be next to the one that has a heart that beats as yours… To speak of the story that is within of the hopes and the dreams and the sorrows.  To sing of the songs of the past and to toast the hopes of tomorrow with the ale that refreshes the reasons for the songs.  To dance freely on the table with the friends that fought the battles with you.  And the tears that wash the soul clean.  This is the call of the voice.  The one that has the power to break the glass that restrains.  That has looked you in the eyes of your younger days.  That has awakened the thing that was at rest.  That has begun to stir. That is ready for flight. That knows the sound of the calling, that is the voice of hope.

To be free is to be vulnerable.  With a clear heart you can sing a powerful note.  A note of hope that breaks the glass restraints of another.  Push back on the walls of darkness and you will then sing, clear and resonant and powerful, to one that needs to know your voice is still there, singing.



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