Anne Lamott quoted her pastor in a Face Book post saying,
"It's not what you look at; it's what you look with."
Sometimes what we see at first glance is not what actually exists, but a misrepresentation. Through time we often discover and recover the depth of what is actually there.
Years ago a prophetic sort of fellow said to me that I had the ability to get the songbird up and singing again. I had the ability to mine the gold out of misfortune. Interestingly, all those many years ago, I had no idea that I would be the songbird that needed to reconnect to her song after 3 ½ years of silence and an inability to sing.
I’m not talking about technique, vocal prowess or the ins and outs of song writing. Although that is great stuff, I am talking about the truth that resonated with my heart spoken at the Nashville Tree House Songwriter’s Retreat by my friend Paulette Wooten. She spoke about the necessity of using the gifts we’ve been given. She reminded us that if we had a song we needed to sing it. We needed to sing it for ourselves.
That’s what I had always done, until I couldn’t anymore.
I started singing and writing at the age of twelve. I sang happy and I sang empty, but I always sang.
A singer/songwriter retreat might have been something I would have eagerly done years ago when my singing and song writing was in full throttle; when I was in the thick of pursuing an acting career; landed the job as the opening act for Buzzy Linhart; or in a band being produced by Runaways producer Kim Fowley; performing in a musical, comedy improve troop; recording my Cd; or singing in my faith community; but this period of musical-shutdown was anything but my comfort zone.
Following this year’s discovery of incongruence within my heart; the pieces that had been at odds; the settling for less than what my heart knew was right; the dogma I could no longer tolerate; trying to shoe horn myself into what I had outgrown; owning the conflict and self-betrayal; unashamedly voicing my story, finally led me to recovering the songbird within myself.
Driving through Nashville the street sign ‘Song Bird’ popped out at me like a lightening flash on a stormy night. Then driving home after the sanctuary of the retreat, I popped in my Cd with Fleetwood Mac cuts and the words of Stevie Nick’s, Edge of Seventeen, hit me in the gut as if I'd heard it for the first time.
“Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song
Sounds like she's singin”
I paused in disbelief having the same ring tone on my phone but never recognizing the words I sang along to. I listened further to hear the words expressing my journey. Here are some of them.
“Well, he seemed broken hearted
Somethin' within him
Well, the music there
Well it was hauntingly familiar
When I see you doin'
What I try to do for me
With their words of a poet
And a voice from a choir
And a melody
Nothin' else mattered
Well then suddenly
There was no one left standing
In a flood of tears
That no one really ever heard fall at all
When I went searchin' for an answer
Up the stairs and down the hall
Not to find an answer
Just to hear the call
Of a nightbird singin'
Well, I hear you
In the morning
And I hear you
Sometime to be near you
Is to be unable to hear you
We all have a song, but if it gets trampled it will cease to sing. Singing and seeing begin with the heart. Tend your heart and all else will follow.