In the summer of '79, I had just ended my first marriage and was having a hard time navigating through life. I had recently bought a house in town, fallen in love again with a man I'd met at the local library where I worked, and was dealing with family members who were angry with me for both. The guilt I was feeling over being in this new relationship with nary a break between them and the pressure from family to conform to their expectations was unnerving me. I felt isolated, alone.
One night, when I'd reached a point where it all just seemed too much, I hung up the phone and sat down on the kitchen floor with my back against the cupboards not caring if I ever got up from that floor again. As I sat there, the music I'd put on earlier started to come through the fog. Billie Holiday was singing about heartache. I listened. I had no other choice. For some strange reason her song actually brought me back to life. Maybe it was knowing I wasn't alone with my feelings, others had known heartache, too.
No, I didn't stay on that kitchen floor. Heartache comes and goes and we go on with life determined not to make that mistake again. But we do. Again and sometimes again. Now, here comes the good part: I wouldn't change one moment of it. Not one. You see, a few years back Hafiz taught me how to sit with it, how to let it all go so I could get to God.
Don't surrender your loneliness
Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My need of God
Painting by Danish artist, Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864 - 1916)
Love this post! Been there...ReplyDelete
I thought more than one person might be able to relate... I heard the song again recently and it all came back so I could write it down.Delete
We need to have both the good and bad to make our lives whole.It is sad when others feel they need to interfer, not knowing how we are really feeling.ReplyDelete
No one else is in our shoes when we are. Interference and judgement from others is the last thing we need at that time.Delete
Are you my doppelganger ? lolReplyDelete
Love Lady Day, love Hafiz...been there, girlfriend, with my back against the wall.
Not regretting my past...loving all the experiences that have made me..well, me.
Hey Annie, so good to see you again. Yeeeeahh... :)Delete
The ONLY thing I have ever regretted in my life was too much sun exposure!!and I am not even sure about that! ha! and we have all been with our backs against the kitchen cupboard..if we are the lucky ones.ReplyDelete
It's a universal place, it seems, cupboards or their equivalent. :) Yes, if we are the lucky ones. Exactly. Glad you stopped by.Delete
The Devil May Be In The Detail,But God Is In The Broken Heart.XReplyDelete
Big sigh. Thank you, dear man. And one for you.Delete
I remember 1979. It was a turning point in my life, too. Heartache is my old friend. But today as I look around at life, I am amazed that somehow it all morphed into this reality. I love your gentle realizations, the poem struck deep, and Billie soothed me as I say, "good morning, my old friend." Thank you for this reminder.ReplyDelete
You're so welcome, DJan. I'm pretty happy with where I am, as well. It's good to ahave that kind of heartache behind us.Delete
It does slice us open to something, doesn't it.ReplyDelete
Yes, it certainly does. Well-said.Delete
Nobody can sing about love and pain like Billie. There is some element within her voice which makes every song a personal confession.ReplyDelete
Yes, as Roxanne noted above, "It slices us open to something." Some voices have that tone, that quality to them, though very rare.Delete
The loss of a child did it for me. Stubborness may have helped as in deciding to just go on...ReplyDelete
That is The loss among all losses. I"m so sorry you've had to endure that one. To stay among life's beauty is always the better choice, although often a difficult choice to make. I'm so glad you commented.Delete
There she is....Sylvia.... but she is beyond the reach of poetry, song and hope. AND the light that can get through the crack in everything.ReplyDelete
I have never had a close enough family to interfere or comment on my bad choices (of which there have been many!) and rather envied it in others, the idea that people care enough to call you and be obnoxious because you're part of their clan. I would not appreciate insensitivity and judgement though. Not one bit.
Jill, You always leave such thoughtful comments and I'm so glad to hear from you. I have sometimes wondered what could have been had she been able to hold on even for one more day...one more afternoon....Delete
Family, from my perspective, can vacillate wildly between caring and interfering. I can't handle judgement and am trying to remove it from my life, that which I express about others. I still have a ways to go.... :)
Teresa E, The letters in the word HOPE stand for Hang On, Pain Ends. The light we glimpse at the end of the tunnel is the light of our lives. What we must understand is that the tunnel is only temporary.ReplyDelete
"Doc," So good to hear from you. What a nice surprise. Love your acronym: HoPe. Never heard that before. That's nice. Yes, the tunnel is always temporary....Delete
Thank you very much.
Drop in on me sometime. I get lonely...Delete
I'll be by... HoPe you're getting time on the water.Delete
Heartbreak feels like forever. That's the worst part.ReplyDelete
At the time, you think it will never end. It always does. Well, for the most part. :)Delete
Moments of revelation come most often when we are on the ropes. All the dross is blown away and we can see far more clearly. Beautiful lesson here and you tied the art, post, and poetry together beautifully.ReplyDelete
"On the ropes..." Yes, there is a clarity that comes through, most definitely. Thank you so much, Cletis.Delete
Your life's experiences are my life's experiences and are those of every man and every woman. The difference is that you notice then have the great talent to show the rest of us... brilliant prose ...ReplyDelete
It is our shared human experiences that allow our stories to be told and understood. I'm always so grateful when others see and feel what I see and feel. It speaks to our connection to each other and to Source. Thank you, Cletis.Delete
Good to remember the sweetness of life is not so sweet without the heartache and loneliness, been there so many times, and sometimes it seems (seemed) too many times with family, friends, and lovers.ReplyDelete
"That's the story of, that's the glory of love..." :) Good Morning, Linda.Delete
There is no better mood music than songs sung by Billie Holiday. Her sultry voice was so expressive. It is easy to hear the subtle pain in her voice. Certainly one of my all time favorites!ReplyDelete
There are a few singers whose voices share their pain and their understanding of life. She certainly was one. No one, though, has ever been as good as Patsy, imo.Delete
Yeah, I was only vaguely aware of her until the movie came out years ago, and after that I couldn't stop listening to her. My first personal is "She's Got You". In case you've forgotten here's a link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LgEDPaITmU !Delete
Sweet Dreams.... yeah it was a good movie. "She's Got You,"is a personal favorite of mine, also. Thanks, Bill !Delete
Life's trials and tribulations definitely make the good times taste sweeter. And make us more interesting. And tougher...ReplyDelete
Yes, they do, Sharon. Love that photo of you. Is that at the Mpls. Institute of Arts?Delete
A great song by Lady Day and the Hafiz poem is also quite moving and beautiful.ReplyDelete
Hi George, It is a nice combination of how to deal with the pain of life.Delete
I think everyone goes through one of those dark periods in life. Mine was in 1983 and it was awful. You either sink or swim and I was a really bad swimmer. I think it took two years to dog paddle to the shallow end of the pool. For sure a learning experience.ReplyDelete
Steven, There's no map for this kind of pain, we each find our way through it in our own way and time. I'm sorry you had to go through an extended period such as this, but the joy of who you are comes through every time I hear from you.Delete
A poignant and intimate post, Teresa; from your experiences, Hafiz, and Billie Hoilday. I'm reminded of the favors of almonds that are given at Greek weddings. They symbolize the bitter and the sweet of life. I remember eating the ones from our wedding, now almost 40 years ago. I think I was hoping to swallow the bitter and the sweet all at once. Of course, the bitter and the sweet followed us, and we've managed to plow through. This was a thought-provoking post. Thank youReplyDelete
Hi Penny. The bitter and the sweet and the bittersweet. Life as we know it. Your almonds are such a good representation. Always nice to hear from you.Delete
Of the many versions of Billie's song, her own remains the definitive one. A great post.ReplyDelete
Yes, Billie owns this one. It's hard to top. Thanks, Tony.Delete