This last weekend, I was out listening to live music for the first time in two years and suddenly the people, the place and the context overran me with a sublime feeling of community. I was with my brother and his wife and because the lead singer of the blue grass group we were listening to went to high school with my brother, the audience was filled with many of his high school friends and families that I’ve known from 40 years ago.

The place stirred up this feeling of connection because it’s a community center in my neighborhood that holds classes, the farmers market in the summer and my daughter went to pre-school there.

And the context struck me because the last time I was in this performance hall, two years ago before the abrupt pandemic shutdown, it was for a story-telling night for all the kids of my daughter’s preschool and the same twinkle lights were hanging from the ceiling.

As a consultant, I work alone and as a single-parent, I parent alone. Although I see, email and text family and friends all the time, it’s different than being in a room filled with people listening, singing and clapping.

It reminded me of a powerful mediation led by my meditation teacher. We close our eyes and picture an aspen grove. We see the individual trees, the way they stand tall, the singular leaves that blow in the wind. Then as we focus on those trees and start to relate to them, we go underground and see how all the roots are connected. The health of an aspen grove is a web of interdependence because it’s one root system. They, like us, all come from One, and the image of separateness is just an illusion.

And so it was with my moment in the auditorium last weekend. It was if I have been going about spinning the threads of my life and then I received one beautiful moment of perspective that gave me a glimpse of how they all tie together. Which went beautifully with the music. Here’s the thread of a story about a couple spun through one of the band’s hit songs, Be Here Now by True North:

They were on their honeymoon, and the bride said to the groom

I just can’t forget the dream I had last night.

I saw John, Paul, George and Ringo, In the church yard playing bingo on the gravestones

This is how the groom replied:

He said “Be here now

Be with me, look into my eyes, kiss me

Make this a moment we will savor, and will put aside for later

We are young , our lives begun

But it will not last forever, they’ll be days we’re not together

So be here now.”

They’re in their middle years, pretty deep in their careers

And he called her from the plane in Amsterdam

I just heard John, Paul, George and Ringo , from that dusty old single on the muzak

It made me want to hold your hand

He said, “Be here now

Be with me, look into my eyes, kiss me

Though our hearts still feel this hunger, we won’t get any younger

From the start our days were numbered

So be here now.”

It was after visiting hours

And he’d rearranged the flowers

And she hadn’t recognized him in a week

And the nurses heard him sing “Hey you’ve got to hide your love away”

And she opened up her eyes and began to speak

She said “Be here now

Be with me, look into my eyes, kiss me

Every breath becomes a treasure, in my heart we’re young forever

My race is nearly run, I no longer feel the sun

But I can face whatever comes just…

Be here now.”

The word community is defined by Merriam Webster as “a unified body of individuals” – maybe because of living in a particular area, or a common interest, whether it be social, professional or religious. But community brings unity – a sense of togetherness.

As I was sitting in that audience last weekend, I felt the ease of collective energy in a room full of great music. The physical reminder that we are in this experience together and it was a thin place. Thin place as explained by Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal church as those places, moments, people, experiences when you get a sense, “Wait a minute, God just touched me.” Something beyond me just happened to me. Those moments when time is intersected by eternity.

As I got that tell-tale shiver, all I could think was “Be here now.”

Have you experienced community lately? Or good music? Where did it take you?

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(featured photo from Pexels)

19 thoughts on “Community

  1. Yes, Wynne, I have experienced that “thin place” that you have described–right here, right now, after just reading your incredible post. Very rich, young lady, very rich. Now is all there “is.” 🙏

      1. It’s true, Wynne–I could literally feel what you described. You’re welcome.

  2. Recently I went to a jazz club for the first time here in Brussels. I was so much thankful to the friend who invited me! I am not sure having experienced community, but I am sure having enjoyed the music with other people!

  3. The idea of meditating on an aspen grove sounds absolutely divine. At the moment I have become a mom to three kids and two of them are my sister-in-law‘s. Overnight I went from having one to three and it’s been such a huge adjustment. Hopefully a temporary one. But reading this post was incredibly soothing and it reduced my stress level! Thank you so much for sharing

    1. Wow – one to three is a huge adjustment. Especially overnight! So glad you liked it and it gave you a moment away. Always wonderful to hear from you, LaShelle!

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