Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Etta sings of impossible choices

Still gasping in Pasadena, the heat, the thing, that wouldn't leave.  Etta James with the chilliest blues was the morning jukebox song.  Meaning of this?  At first, I just listened.  The original recorded version - the shortest - seemed the best choice for clarity of sound and its massive lack of ambiguity. 

We all receive great sacks full of what is unrequested and unwanted, bad surprises and situations harder than we ever dreamed we could handle.  Wiser minds than my own discovered, promise,  that each circumstance brings a gift that is greater than its burden.  It is a lesson, in my case, of slow dawning.  We are called again and again to bear what could be called unbearable.  We are not asked if it is convenient or if it fits into our life or our plan.  It arrives, no return address, and redefines inconvenient, the bomb that blows everything apart.

Over time my gratitude list has as a constant the fact that I'm still here.  Many are not and I don't take for granted or trivialize the fact of resilience.  Though I no longer choose to go back to the sites where, for a time, hope disappeared, when I hear Etta James sing of making what seems her better choice, I get it.  How do I unknow, unsee, unexperience THIS?  I don't know how we do it, just that we do.  And I say, "Thank you."

10 comments:

susan t. landry said...

prob my favorite of hers. i remember many long, long nights, a million years ago, in NYC, lying on my bed, listening to this over & over -- on my record player ;)

Kerry O'Gorman said...

This song breaks my heart. On my song for Friday I mention two of the best breakup songs and neglected to mention this one. Thanks for reminding me. Etta and so many others are a tragic loss when they leave this world but what magic and feelings they've given us.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Silly me, I was listening to the Kingston Trio. Well, and Sinatra and Dylan, but hadn't discovered Etta yet. And how I loved my record player or the family stereo. Drove everyone nuts with the repetitions. Still know the words. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kerry - Because they (Etta and others) stand like giants among us and sing or play our hearts, they do seem they will be here forever. What a gift - to be indelible, unforgettable. xo

toomuchaugust said...

oh! a gift greater than its burden (lifting your words a bit). yes. i love "unknow" and i think some of the trick to grace is in knowing when to know and when to unknow :)

beth coyote said...

Showing up for whatever arrives, damn hard.

Saw/heard Dean Young the poet night before. The man had a heart transplant last year. Holy fuck.

We do go on, while life brings us a new heart or a healed hummingbird.

The wonder of it.

~Beth

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sherry - The trick to grace and, perhaps, sanity. Always the balance. We really are much more skilled gymnasts that we acknowledge. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - I didn't know or know about Dean Young, and thank you for the referral. And how do we not show up for whatever arrives? I would not want to have stayed home when the heart or hummingbird came to call. Wonder? Oh yes. xo

Angella said...

You. You are part of how we do it. You and what you write here. Your words bloom quietly after I read them, and always, I see something anew, or for the first time. This is your gift.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Angella - Thank you. It really is a gift to be here, in these times, with access to something as once unlikely as a blog. I don't think I'd have done well with the soapbox on the corner of Pershing Square. What a grand forum at one's fingertips. xo