Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gracias a la Vida

This Saturday in Disney Hall there will be a tribute to the woman who composed "Gracias a la Vida," Violeta Parra.  

Her niece will sing, along with guitarists and others.

"Gracias" is one of the last songs she composed before taking her life, perhaps a parting message.


It's so easy to be mute when facing death or disaster.  Violeta put her pain to music.

Sometimes the arc of life is interrupted at its height--when a person is successful, famous, creating beauty in some form of art or work in the world.

What can we do when the plane crashes, the stage 4 cancer comes, the gun releases its fatal bullet?

Sometimes we are gone before we can even cry out.  Other times a person holds the tragic turn of events close to the heart, mute, unable to speak, even to family, friends, business associates.  

Sometimes the success is exterior while on the inside the person grieves and even takes his or her own life.

There may be anger or shame.

There may be a shallow memorial service or a splendid celebration of life or no gathering at all.  A family may sprinkle ashes alone and private. 

What a gift when the story of one's life rises in an arc and in later years falls quietly toward resolution.  

What a gift to be able to say each day, "One thing have I asked: that I may dwell in Your house, behold your beauty, and seek answers in Your presence" (Psalm 27:4).

We ask so many things.  We ask for 70 years or more, for bread and love and joy.

May we learn to ask only to dwell in this house, to see its beauty--and to sing "Gracias a la Vida."

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