“Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good” -Ann Landers.
I watched the heavy flakes swirl through the light of a street lamp as I waited at the red light. I was headed to a fundraiser at a local restaurant. Our friends, A Brothers Fountain were going to play some music for the occasion. This night our friends life communities were coming to one place to draw some support for her. The big lazy snow floated down, blanketing the ground. I like this kind of snow, though I wondered if it would keep people from coming out tonight. This was the kind that coats the earth quick like and there was gonna be a lot of it.
I parked and cut a new track in the snow as I headed to the place. There is nothing quite like leaving the first footprints in any particular large track of snow that just makes the heart smile, even if it’s just a parking lot with civilization all around. You know without a doubt you are the first one to walk through that pristine white land. It’s almost like being an Expeditionist, blazing new territories if only for the brief jaunt to the mushy, plentifully trudged sidewalk. I like it when it snows.
The place was simple and quaint, warm and homey feeling. Perfect for a snowy evening and soul jams. I surveyed the surroundings and found familiar faces planted at random across the room. Groups sat finishing up their evening meals amidst the small pre-music flurry as the first duo was getting ready on the stage in the back. It quickly became apparent this was going to be a cozier like shindig, with low lighting and a small electric fireplace dancing against the far wall. I entered immediately met with greetings from friends and walked between a single row of tables to my left and the bar to my right. At the far end some of my friends sat, merely feet apart at separate tables One there; Two over there; alone or rather, in seeming solitude, still and quiet, being by themselves, unimposing. The sight caught like a snapshot
imprinting in my mind. It looked so surreal and yet somehow, well I was almost loathe to disturb it. Almost loathe to intrude upon it. Almost. 🙂 I hadn’t seen my friends in a while. There was something so simple, quiet and unassuming about the entire posture and nature of what I was seeing. There was something about it, an idea, a visual of a much deeper thought, I’m gonna have to revisit it momentarily… As I approached with high 5’s and hugs this scene broke and dissolved. We stood chatting and as if suddenly coming into the present, movement began, chairs were pulled up and spaces claimed those who had sat separate moments before merged and for the next little while we spent Time.
I probably use that phrase too much but the idea has me intrigued. The whole evening was based around a giving of time and resources. Time to me has become my most precious wealth, the value far outweighing paper, coin or thing. We can spend time like currency. Exchanging it, sharing energy, experiences, ideas, encounters and cares in a span of moments. Spending lavishly. Spending scarcely. It’s really up to you how lavish or scarce a moment is. How you chose to give or keep of yourself. In general, we’ll have more time come’n our way but we never get time back, once spent its spent. Choose wisely how we invest, debit and credit it.
This time: spent well. Hearts and minds at ease, carefree, opening up and sharing life together, stirring thoughts for the moment and days ahead. There is no where else I would have rather been. The conversation flowed almost like the snow fall, fast flurries, deep banks, easy cascading, fun swirling, floating in and out as thoughts and topics, questions and answers, friends, food and drinks arrived. The innermost simple joy was like the feeling when you close your eyes, lift your face to the sky and let the snowflakes fall with ticklish delight on your face. Innocent, peaceful bliss.
‘…We believe in the experience of music as an expression to God and to people… We believe that the heart and motivation behind music matters more than anything else…”
Our Friend made introductions and went about seemingly walking lightly, humbly receiving, hopefully, feeling loved. These people came here to support her in what she’s doing in life, A.B.F. coming to help create input, bringing people together for a cause. They didn’t just come with simple ease or convenience. Around work, meetings, holidays, travels, visitors, commitments. They came. They brought the whole ‘band wagon’, amps, mics. and not just members of, but all the musicians. They offered it all up, graciously and simply giving themselves, their time, their talents asking nothing in return, receiving only the joy of benefiting and blessing those around them. They live and love that way. It’s part of who they are seemingly always giving at whatever cost to themselves.
-The quality of being kind or generous
-(of a person) showing a readiness to give more of something as money or time than is strictly necessary or expected
-showing kindness towards others
-(of a thing) larger or more plentiful than is usual or necessary
The Band took a more casual approach, playing a loose, easy set. At one point our friend who has been learning to play percussion grabbed the cajon drum and joined the band on stage. Just free flowing through the night people coming and going. The casual light hearted way of it all. Fun and interaction, new songs and old, planned and off-hand requests, just friends being together with cause, ability and purpose, drawing into, drawing out, sharing will and self, community merging meeting on common ground, care and love for our friend, with generosity.
– the act or power of producing an affect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command.
– power or capacity of causing affect in indirect or intangible ways
‘Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”- James Thurber
Back to that snapshot that stuck in my head. My friend was sitting at a table alone, silent, undisturbed, peaceful seeming. Most times there’s so much wind whipping and flurries flying, people hovering and floating around and activity happening, it’s a rare sight to see any of these guys just sitting silently by themselves. Over the time of knowing them there have been very few occasions I’ve seen any of them sit in such undisturbed stillness. These are most prominent in the woods, around a camp fire or at a cliff face, where the pace is naturally different even still it’s a rarity. These guys are so often movement, action, dreaming, teaching, forging, interacting, influencing, inviting, giving themselves 110% to what and who is around them. Amidst the hustle and bustle that was happening around him, his ability to be amidst it quietly by himself was different and yet, not so different. It was like an outward picture of a feature of him that has always been present and felt just not seen so obviously displayed. As I revisit the picture in my mind, throughout the evening other members of the band were scattered through the room sitting or standing in similar like stillness and solitude. Moments like this probably happen more than we’d know, they just aren’t heralded or in seen places.
Like I said it etched in my brain. As long as I’ve known them, these guys all have had the uncanny ability to just be themselves, be free in the moments that are, to make decisions and take action as grounded and safe men and women. Their security in and of themselves is one thing that draws people to them yet baffles many. It’s like the streetlight that highlighted the patterns of movement as the snow was merrily dancing to the ground. Eyes are drawn to it. The light stood, steadfast and sure as the snow twirled and swirled through it. The light didn’t make the snow. It didn’t exercise direct command over the fleeting movements but it influenced the sight, making it all it was in its small glory and beauty that I got to witness with my eyes. Who they are, where they are, tends to highlight and backlight moments as life unfolds around them. It’s like bedrock for community and life. The people, the places, the times, dance in the light they bring to spaces around them. They stand like pillars, stalwart, dependable supporters of so much life around them. They probably don’t even realize, it’s something in the very core of them. Each of them carries it in different ways. It’s not something they try to do, it’s just like breathing for them. This, it’s a Quality and I admire it deeply.
-The action or power of moving the intellect or emotions
-the act of influencing or suggesting opinions
-the act of drawing in
-to exert an animating, enlivening or exalting influence on
-to spur on
-to breath or blow into or upon; to infuse (as life) by breathing
Towards the end of the evening, keeping with tradition and reality and continual celebration, a small bit of dancing was definitely in order. A small few of us couldn’t stand still for a few moments. We soaked in the sounds and peace and wonder of this space. Together, this time well spent. With much Delight, We danced in the light of it.
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