I have a friend who once sent me a card that said: “remember your song”. I looked at her and said “And… if I forget it, will you promise to remind me the tune?”
I called her last week. I told her that I remembered what my song was, but I couldn’t remember the tune or the words at all. I was crushed. I was beaten down. I was devastated. I was weary. I was totally void of any fight left, as my body went its renegade, foreign way.
She listened. She didn’t say a word. She let me pour out my soul until I was empty and limp. I was void of the hurts my words carried, or how the words were misunderstood. I was unaware of unintentionally hurting a close friend; I had no realization the power words my carried – what they can mean or what they can do to people different as night and day. I hadn’t taken time to reflect how words I speak, often said without thinking, could have double meaning;
My friend, who knew me possibly better than I knew myself, listened as my gut wrenched in frustration. She patiently kept quiet as I ‘toxic-wasted-dumped’ over the long-distance phone lines. I shared my irritation of not knowing ‘who/what’ I would wake up to each morning. I was quickly coming to the end of my rope as I dealt with a super-glued/bionic/screwed up and together body.
She listened to me whine that my husband was right once again. Namely, I haven’t come to the point of acceptance, and that there was a better chance than not, this was the hand I was dealt. It would be how it will be as I went forward, day by day. Heknew the solution was I needed to go back to my song and re-work some of the measures and rests notes. Life would continue to be fluid, always changing, and my song needed to reflect that.
I realized I was focusing on a song that was not of the genre I was used to. My focus was not the tune where the beat and measures flowed easily. Anger would begin rising, on a day when I didn’t know ‘who/what’ I woke up to, I literally didn’t know if I was capable to go on.
I sat crumpled on the stairs. My cheeks streaked with tears, my breath came in gulps. Still, my friend listened silently. For a while it seemed like the phone line was dead, as neither of us spoke.
Slowly, a thousand miles away, I stood up on the stairs and looked at the mountains outside our living room. The “Big One”, one of our favorite eagles soared on a thermal. Suddenly, I heard not only my song, but I could hear the tune. Some of the words were missing. No…. they weren’t missing, they were rearranged. In their place was a pause – a rest. Vaguely I remembered something from my piano lesson days, taken as a child. A rest is part of the music. Foolishly, I thought I had come to the end of my song. Instead, all my song needed was a rest, a pause to be inserted.
While I was fighting the need to slow down, to pause, I felt angry. Somehow I felt there was nothing I could do to repair the damage of words misspoken. I had overlooked a pause that would make the tune flow, a time for healing. While I was rebelling against a body I had no control over, I disregarded that slurring over the rest/pause would change the melody, and ultimately the song itself.
I know my song. I know the tune. I am grateful for a friend who listened. And, while the arrangement might need a wee more practice, my song can, and will soar to the heavens
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.