Down South, in the town of Enterprise, Alabama, a statue was dedicated in 1919 to the the Boll Weevil, the scourge of the cotton farmer. Back in the beginning of the 20th century, many areas relied solely on the cultivation of cotton. When the Boll Weevil came up from Mexico via Texas, it destroyed much of those cotton crops. It forced farmers away from the monoculture of King Cotton, and they diversified and prospered. The city fathers of Enterprise honored the Boll Weevil, and the statue itself has a long, bizarre history. But I'm not here to talk about the Boll Weevil.
For the last 15 years, I have played bass in a small intimate worship community, we've referred to as "The Early Service." Early, because we started at the ungodly hour of 8:30 AM! During that time I have been fortunate enough to evolve and improve my skills, and have shared music making with a long revolving list of wonderful, talented people. But, one doesn't have to walk very far down the road of old clichés to find "All good things must end someday."
For a variety of reasons (we won't go into it, remember the 'silver lining' focus here?) we've been on hiatus the last three summers, and I don't think I'll be rejoining whatever it is that's scheduled in the Early Service's place later this month. Certainly there's lots of pain, sadness, and sometimes anger, but let's get back to that silver lining, OK?
With some time on our hands during the last few summers, we have played in other churches on Sundays, and also at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco. Laguna Honda is the hospital of last resort for many people, and we have been honored to play there. Sometimes there are 50 or more residents, most in wheelchairs, and they really appreciate what we do. It really puts things in perspective for us. Sometimes when we play John Lennon's "Imagine," it really hits me when we do the last verse:
Imagine no possessionsUsually when you hear the first line of that verse, it resonates in some sort of intellectual way, but here we are, playing for the residents, many of whom literally have nothing. It's been an honor to play there.
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
Another thing we didn't used to do 'in the good old days' was play with Martha. Martha has always been an excellent piano player and musician, who can actually read those funny little black dots and staff lines, as well as work off the 'cheat sheets,' and helps me figure out the 'idiot chords' for songs, but hasn't been asked to help out in the past at church. Now we get to rehearse and play together, and that's what I call a silver lining.
So, what do I usually do in a case like this? What else; quote some T. S. Eliot that seems appropriate to the occasion:
Fare forward, travellers! not escaping from the past
Into different lives, or into any future;
You are not the same people who left that station
Or who will arrive at any terminus,
While the narrowing rails slide together behind you;
And on the deck of the drumming liner
Watching the furrow that widens behind you,
You shall not think 'the past is finished'
Or 'the future is before us'.