Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Navigating Fear

I decided today not to visit Facebook until after the election. It was, I believe, both a hasty decision, and one that was a long time coming. This morning, seeing the overwhelming voices, opinions, and scathing remarks of friends who believe their side "won" the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I was so sad. These are my friends. These are the voices of my friends. These tolerant, passionate, artistic, compassionate, hard working, faithful, beautifully original people I hold in such high regard were arguing, hating, spewing vitriolic statements of fact versus lies, why you should vote one way or it will be your fault when this country goes to hell. I'm not innocent. I have posted links too. But I am no longer shocked. And that statement is the saddest of them all.

What I read between the lines of the candidates supporters, and yes, I have more than four represented on my wall, was fear. These fears range from I won't get my share, I will lose what I've worked so hard for, my life will change for the worse, my religion is in danger, my savings will be ravaged, my house and home will not be safe, my neighborhood will not be safe, my life will not be safe. If he/she gets elected. So many troubles that our president is held responsible for. Who wants that poor, despised position anyway? It comes with hope and dreams for an American people that are as different as we are. And yet we're all the same. Isn't it a great and terrible wonder? Bang your gong louder. Struggle to be heard. "I'm afraid," they try not to say in words. This is not my fault. Don't blame me. And here I am, disheartened. Here I sit, wondering when this all went so terribly wrong. It's not new, but it felt like more than enough. I do not want to read what my very own friends are posting. No longer shocked, and no longer listening. How mortifying. This is not me.

I have decided to come back here for awhile. I will post of the piano children and their amazing hope and vitality. I will post of silly and serious things. I will be faithful to the stories I'm told. I will speak for my own self expression, and struggle to be heard. Actually I don't really need to be heard in this way, isn't that a curious thing? I'd much rather write music than words. Perhaps I'll do some more of that as well.

My first student today sat down meekly at the bench and I could tell something was horribly wrong. I looked her in her deeply soulful brown eyes and asked. She said a student from high school had killed themselves yesterday. No one understood why because he was so popular and well liked. There were only 5 people in her English class because the rest were seeing counselors. At band, the teacher told her there would be a gathering tomorrow in the gym. Would she play the Hallelujah she plays sometimes before band? Just her. On the piano. A song she learned by ear this summer. We worked on it in her lesson. It's going to be beautiful. And hard. And sad. And scary. We talked about putting her and the piano in a big bubble so that she could do this performance, and then, when she was ready, to come back out of the mental bubble and be able to grieve with her friends. I told her that my mental bubble makes it sound like I'm under water and that the outside world is far away. I put myself and my piano in there when I have to play emotional events, and it helps me.

My brave brave students face fear every day. They come to their piano lessons every week. Will I have practiced enough, will it be hard, what if it is too hard, I don't understand this theory, I didn't have time to do my homework, what if I don't figure this out? What if I'm no good at this?

There's a bully that rides my bus, I'm having trouble in math, my parents are fighting a lot, I think I'm getting a cold, we were gone a lot this weekend, I'm so tired all the time, my grandma just got cancer, my friend committed suicide. I have no idea what many of them fear, and they don't need to tell me, because we all have the same fear in reality. Big kids and little kids. Old people and young people.

Do I matter? I want to matter. Do you see me?

Yes. Yes you do matter. Yes, I see you. And if you need to hear it from me, I will call you up and tell you so. I'll tell you every day. But I will speak it in a quiet voice, because you'll hear me better that way.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post Chris. I also came across kids who were impacted by this tragic loss at a local high school this week. I'm so glad you were in that student's life that day, and in my son's life each week. You pour so much more into your students than music, but also a needed sense of worth and grounding. Both of which are so terribly needed in these times. Thank you for sharing this, and sharing your soul with our students.


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