Thursday, November 25, 2021

Good Stewards, a Thanksgiving Blog for 2021

May we be good stewards of the gifts we’ve been given.


That’s the sentence that popped into my head just now. It stopped me in my tracks and grabbed my attention, like someone tapping me on the shoulder; only in this case, I think it was the Great Someone tapping me on the shoulder.


I’m mulling over what it means to be a good steward, and what constitutes a gift, and why that specific verbiage. So this blog is being written in real time, after a long absence and frankly, more than a modicum of avoidance. 


The truth is I have two responses to the question, “How are you?” 


One is a slight hesitation while I imperceptibly contemplate a) if you are just being polite in asking, b) if you warrant the length of the real answer to that question, and c) what I want to speak into the Universe, because words have the power to create and recreate what we say.


The other response is to burst into tears. 


In a world that frequents the expressions “man up,” “put on your big girl pants,” and “get over it,” my admission might be frowned upon. And when I consider all that I have and am grateful for, and how good I have it compared to most in the world, my troubles are few, indeed. 


But few isn’t none. And pain is pain, no matter the person or their station in life or how they look to the world on the outside. 


So I want to talk about what I’m thankful for differently this year, with greater depth, and maybe some of it will resonate with you, too…


I’m thankful to be alive. I am aware that it is a gift to open my eyes each morning, and every moment is a choice point of what I am going to create with the day I’ve been granted.


I am thankful for my father still being here. It is an excruciating honor to be with someone I love at the end of his time here, but oh, what a gift it is, too. I never forget to revel in the joy of our lighter moments, and try to breathe through the harder ones that remind me that the clock is ticking.


I am thankful for my family, near, far, here, and gone. Since last November, I have lost an aunt, uncle, and four cousins. That’s a lot to take in. And Covid made funeral attendance and the proper grieving process impossible. I know I speak for an entire world that suffered unfathomable loss in isolation when I say that it prolongs the loss in ways we cannot measure. 


I am thankful for community and relationships that were forged in the unlikeliest of ways – virtually. I have made new friends, deepened relationships with old ones, and stayed connected during this period of disconnection. So huge kudos to the book of faces, the zoom, and the StageIt, my concert platform of choice.


Speaking of StageIt, I am thankful for the gift of music – both the music I get to make for and with others, as well as the music I get to be the benefactor of. 


Nothing has made me a bigger fan than people whose work has given me solace and whose energy, even virtually, was that of kindness. I’m talking about you, Gary, Georgia, and MBNation.


Being a caregiver to someone you love isn’t easy. It takes effort to carve out time that’s your own and ways to nourish your soul and rest your body. Though it might not have started out that way initially, the Wednesday night Pajama Party with Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr fast became the “me time” I cherished and looked forward to all week.


For 50 blissful minutes, there was beautiful music, laughter, and a community that began to build. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and yes, losses were shared. Stranger cared about stranger, and little by little, we weren’t strangers, we were just friends who had never met. 


These concerts paralleled my own monthly ones. And soon, there was overlap in audience. I can only hope that people who need it get the same support from my shows as I get from Gary and Georgia’s.


I am thankful for my niece, Samantha, who grows into a more amazing person with every passing day. This kid makes me have hope for the future of the world, that it will be a more loving and inclusive place for everyone. 

I am grateful for LA traffic. That's right, you heard me. My brother always calls on his way to work, and thanks to LA traffic, we have had some wonderful and lengthy conversation about all the taboo subjects, mainly politics, religion and where the best deli sandwich can be found. It's been a gift, truly.

I am grateful for my Inspire Project bandmates, Tanya and Lorraine. One of the happier highlights this past year was our unexpected sleepover because tornados descended upon our area after practice ended. For all our rehearsals that became lengthy discussions about life and art and what we want to do with ours, I am profoundly grateful.


I am grateful that I look for and find the gift in every situation and relationship. It’s easy to see the gift in someone’s presence, but not always so easy to find it in their absence. Lately, I’ve been realizing that there is a gift in both. Not everyone is meant to stay.


I am grateful for inspiration. I can turn just about anything into a song – maybe not a great song, but a catchy confection nonetheless. I have started having fun with that. I know, took me a minute, but I’m onboard now.


I am grateful for friends who walk this life with me, who keep me sane, grounded, and laughing most of the time. 


Lastly, for this Thanksgiving blog, I am thankful for the courage to be vulnerable. I believe it is a gift that grants the recipient of our vulnerability permission to be the same.


Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me. 


May we all be good stewards of the gifts we’ve been given.


Happy Thanksgiving