Escaping, Through Music, But Not Really
Starting at 1:40, which is probably where it always began when DJs played it on WBLS-FM, the song almost makes me forget my grief. Almost:
It's a great time when songs like this are playing on the radio -- my dad's employed again and I'm learning Disco and Ballroom dancing from David Jones in my hometown, Stamford, Connecticut, so that I feel like I belong at the 11 Bar Mitzvahs and six Bat Mitzvahs I attend between 1977 and '78.
This song comes a year later, but it's the sort we Hustled to at all of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah receptions, and I miss it today. Who knew then that five years later, my dad (z"l) would be dead of common bile-duct cancer?
This next song...
...also gets good about 30 seconds in and almost makes me pound away the blues of my pastoral session from earlier today. Ruhi Sophia Rubenstein, Rabbinical Intern at our shul, wants to know what God would say to me after I ask, "When can I just fall apart?"
"Never," God says, I tell her. He says, "Keep going. It won't serve you to fall apart."
At ~1:20 in, God might as well say:
Or He could be as Kind as a number of the Psalms and pledge:
Ruhi Sophia tells me, "Let's look at Psalm Chaf Zayin. Keep reading."
I read aloud, "For my father and my mother [in that order] have left me; but the Lord will take me up."
"Do you believe that you can let God into your life to help you?" Ruhi Sophia asks me and I'm almost embarrassed at her revival-style inquiry.
"I *can*, yes, but will I?" I say, barely aloud.
Last night on Twitter, a former Modern Orthodox Jewish day schoolmate and I had an exchange of tweets around an article that compared and contrasted coming out as Atheist to coming out as lesbian, gay, bi or trans. He's an Atheist and one of only three friends of mine who identifies as Atheist...that I know of. He's definitely not:
Didn't God give me this great music for dancing, escaping, wanting to live, for hope and joy, even in the midst of my sadness and fury?
Can't I shut my eyes right now, even as I'm typing and be transported through the furniture from *The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe*? Dancing the whole way! God, for a moment, I've become even younger than Bat Mitzvah age.
Now, back to the present, where I feel very alone. Indeed, Pat is not home right now, but even with Phoebe, the kitty, here in her plush bucket-bed next to me on the floor, I'm just by myself, except for my Disco and Funk friends:
What if I could time-travel and heed the eventual call of this video to go to Barbados for a weekend in 2010, for three days and nights of "Pure Rare Grooves"? There's no such thing as a geographic cure, they say, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to escape my mourning. I am parentless. I am childless. Who will mourn for me? Ok, that was melodramatic.
Ever since I went to a '70's dance party at my friends' Stephanie and Laura, I'm craving dancing in public, and there seem to be fewer opportunities for public dancing than when I was younger. "Don't stop me and I won't stop you," as this song commands:
"Are you angry at God?" asks the Rabbinical Intern.
Later, I think of an answer: Not when I'm dancing, or rollerblading:
Or "Funkin' for Jamaica" and getting to see the beautiful, female singer for the first time by watching the video, which I usually don't like to do; what they produce is always less appealing to me than what I see in my head. Not this time, though. And the mens' spirit is uplifting. They love making the music maybe more than any musicians I've ever seen.
The Psalm book I was reading from today had been a gift to my mom (z"l) from me. I inscribed it 15 years ago, in 5760 of the Hebrew calendar:
May these Psalms comfort you whenever and wherever you need comforting.
When Ruhi Sophia, the Rabbinical Intern, and I were talking earlier, why didn't I notice that my mom (z"l) had underlined part of the last sentence of the very Psalm that the Intern asked me to read aloud, "...be strong, and let thy heart be of good courage...."