This morning started with a phone call from the babysitter that our house had flooded! She sounded calm, yet had an urgency in her voice that let me know that this was indeed pretty serious. Turns out a hot water pipe had burst and flooded the house – and it was ankle deep in many places. To add insult to injury a “rain forest” effect had developed and water was dripping from the ceiling, the walls were drenched and all the electronics in the house were likewise coated in condensation!
I am in Memphis attending the Blues Music Awards. Right now there are floods in many states in the Heartland as well as here in the South caused by the Mississippi swelling and flooding. With this new information about my own flooding at home I find myself feeling a kinship with all the people who right now are in a similar situation – or in fact in much worse situations than I am in. Nonetheless I experience the insecurity, the doubts, the feeling of being powerless. As the stream of destruction has invaded my sacred domicile, a stream of questions and uncertainty seems to now similarly flood my mind: How bad is the damage? How much will be have to replace? Will insurance cover any or all of it? Are we going to have to move out for a while?
Walking down Main Street of Memphis with my husband by the hand, we soak in the sounds and the impressions around us with renewed intensity. A man is in the park with the sun shining down through the green leafy trees. He is black and past his prime. He plays his harmonica and sings of the heartache he feels. Something about the chords of the blues scale speak to me. In the open-hearted state I am in with all the uncertainty surrounding this flood at home, the chords of the blues progression go beyond any point they have gone before. Beyond reason. Beyond the mind. Beyond analysis. And also beyond my emotions. I allow myself to just feel enveloped and embraced by the eternal kinship – the never-ending identification with all people, black or white, brown or yellow that have ever been in a place of worry, fear, sorrow or pain through the soft, soothing and cyclical chords of the blues progression. We connect through time and space in the Blues.
I look at my husband – and he tells me that this is how the Blues always has spoken to him: The soft embrace of kinship – a feeling of being one with others who have been there before. And in this place of affinity is also a space where loneliness and uncertainty feels comforted and held by the consciousness of all – the flow of life itself.
And in this place of understanding I connect to the Blues in a new way, I also find a new purpose in partnering with a performer of this genre who brings this music to so many. I feel the real power of the Blues: The way it connects us to the deepest regions of our hearts and souls – the places that are beyond ourselves and thereby connects us straight to God and allows us to not feel alone anymore! I have the Blues today – and in spite of all the connotations of uncertainty and doubt – it is a beautiful, meaningful and revelatory experience.