Returning, Day 45
My older friends especially know that I have traveled an interesting road spiritually, to say the least. At one point in my while earning my undergraduate degree, Frank Abrahams, the head of the music education department, asked me how I could possibly have time for three Christian Bible studies a week. How that didn’t seem ridiculous to me too, I’ll never really know. Admittedly having gone a bit overboard on the conservative end of the aisle (HUGE understatement), I’ve swung back and only slightly forth again, and of course reevaluated my life and decisions after my undergraduate degree, marriage, divorce, master’s degree, random out of town and overseas opera programs, etc.
Friends, strangers, and partners of course all change my perspectives a little too, and I’d like to think I have a strange but wonderful balance of ideals and thoughts on love, life, and God as diverse and fairly open-minded as my DVD collection. Elliot used to say that I made a better Jew than he, since I actually interact with my mezuzah and don’t eat pork and shellfish. I did love Tel Aviv and have coincidentally only had relationships with Jewish men since I moved to the city, but I am not Jewish. I would definitely still call myself a Christian, and I personally love God at least as deeply as any friend or family member, but I have no regrets about running far away from the unknowingly judgmental cookie cutter contemporary culture I once called home.
Perhaps the pendulum swung too far back though. When dating a guy who, regardless of stated religion doesn’t make spirituality his home, I do sometimes downplay this part of my life that really has played a role in defining my essence my entire life. Aside from my family, I have known love, God, and a desire to perform as long as I can remember. Of the three characteristics, I’ve actually spent most of the last several months prioritizing my spirit several rungs further down the totem pole than it belongs, aside from my paid Sundays in church singing and the occasional yoga class or Ekhart Tolle audiobook on the subway. I even had to add a “Faith” category for this post on wordpress.
Many thanks to Nicholas Reeves and Rob Sirico, who lent their talents of conducting and composing respectively, to a spiritually centered evening to benefit the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. I thoroughly enjoyed singing Rob’s a capella Crucifixion Cantata with the small group of singers and the skilled conducting of Nicholas Reeves.
The church had a full and respectful audience, and I believe the International Orthodox Christian Charities will see that the donations reach those who most need them in Haiti. At the end of the evening when we had sung everything but our final encore, Nick addressed the audience about an upcoming concert in May dedicated to the people who lost their lives as part of an Orthodox genocide, including the Armenian Genocide. As he talked about the composers persecuted or lost and the others who perished and suffered with broken voice and tear touched spirit, he helped to awaken my sleepy, somewhat buried spiritual sensibilities.
This weekend, I also enjoyed singing a Bach cantata at church and having a friend visit who knows me well. Thanks to a rather easy two days of spending time with someone rather like myself, I feel much more at home than I have in a long time. I did not enjoy last week. I felt dizzy, crazy dream-ridden, nauseous, distracted, and sad, thinking about the loss of a relationship with someone who will continue to mean a great deal to me. In fact, I regret nothing about the past six to eight months. I thought I had done rather well in this this time around, not losing myself to adapt to my partner, but all of this weekend’s events helped me to realize I did indeed lose some personal ground this year. Rather than upsetting me in the least, that realization dissipated my anxiety and depression as I settled back into the parts of me I really need and had missed more than I knew. It feels so good to be back.