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I have always been into music. It has been such a deep aspect of my life that I find it hard to define why, or even how, it became of such importance to me. When I was very young, I would, and could, sing almost any song I had heard more than two or three times. And I loved doing it. That was how I learned to ice skate. Had a pair of hand-me-down skates and the skating rink was across the street, down a path through a city park, to the warming house. My older brother and sister had taken me with them, but as soon as they had their foot gear on, they were on the ice and gone.
My brother came back to check on me and had a few of his friends along with him. He said he’d pull me around a time or two, just to get me started. His friends joined hands and with me at the center, we set off on a very slow glide around the rink. Somewhere, along the way, one of his friends asked me to sing a song (it was a well-known fact that I did know most of the popular songs of the day). So, I started singing and got pulled gently round and round the rink. When I stopped singing, one of Paul’s friends handed me a nickel and thanked me for the music. And for the next couple of months, when I’d show up at the rink, one or more of them would offer me a nickel and they’d pull me around the rink as I sang whatever song they requested.
With weak ankles, I was never really good on ice skates, but I loved the music that gave me such a warm and wonderful memory, in my mind it was sort of like being in a movie. I eventually learned how to turn myself around, without falling down and to stop when I needed to do so. But, it was the music that really pushed me along and into several competitions. Some at school, others at Talent Shows, put on by the city’s Recreational Department at the city parks. Music was a staple of my existence. And still is.
There are days when I simply go on You Tube and spend time roaming through different pieces, listening, singing softly along, and just letting the music create a path to some unknown place of satiation and satisfaction. And if it lasts for a couple of hours, I find that time well spent. It comforts me as nothing else can.
Today, I was on Facebook, and someone had posted a quiz of fifteen songs from the Catholic Hymnal. Each question was a line from a hymn or popular religious song, and you had to choose the right word to fill in the missing blank/s. I attended a Catholic Parochial School from second to eighth grade. So, I tried it. And got every one of the fifteen answers correctly. It’s been a long time (years) since I attended church, so was rather surprised that I did so well, even the ones in Latin. Afterwards, I realized that it had been a while since I’d visited You Tube, and decided it was time for that. But, in the nano-second between the thought and the click of the mouse, I also realized exactly what I wanted to listen to. I went directly to the video above. It is perhaps, my favorite, because it speaks to, and shows the reality of different individuals coming together and, through the art and act of loving music, finding incredible unity.
Before the quiz, I had read several articles about the alarming course in our present reality. The deliberate choice of cabinet members who are opposed to the positive affects of the offices they are to hold, a working plan to deconstruct our democracy. The unfounded attempts to block and redefine the peaceful water protectors in Dakota as unlawful and dangerous criminals, and a public official who is in support of sterilizing poor women, to name a few. I believe I took the quiz to distract myself, if nothing else. Whatever the reason, it led me back to this song, these words, that help me to realize that love is still the answer. No matter the level of hatred and ugliness we may be forced to watch and come to understand, love is the only weapon that might stop that approaching darkness, or heal our world. Love for one, love for all. But, especially, those who hate.