I’ve lost the bells.
Somewhere in the middle of our first lockdown, the massive bells high in the belfry of the grey stone church half a block up the street stopped ringing. The cacophony of bells heralding noon and eventide fell silent.
Bells no longer grace my days.
Even in winter’s minus forty, I’d crack open the back door until the last of the reverberations soothed my cells. The bells moved the fidget wheels of my day. Maybe I need to find the parish priest and in bumbling French, offer to pull the bell ropes myself. I could do that twice a day. Maybe not as melodically, but how hard can bell ringing be? Hard probably.
So here we are, now. Locked down. Ankle deep in golden leaves. People scurry, masked, eyes dart, then avert.
This round feels heavier. Answers don’t match questions. Some questions can no longer be voiced. The gap widens. Between what is, what was and how we each see it, the gulf widens, one that strangle words, feeds fear.
Jack Kornfield wrote, “To live an awakened life is to be here in the reality of the present, in the now, which we all have. To be awake is to be present.”
Eva, my seven-year-old granddaughter, overheard her parents trying to figure out complex contingency school plans. Aware of her listening silence, they asked if she was worried.
“Some things are not your matters– you don’t change them. But it’s not to be scared. We don’t know what will happen. This is not something we can do anything about, so it doesn’t worry me.
There is not one day that I don’t ask a question to the universe. Every morning I ask a question. Sometimes I don’t get an answer right away. And that’s ok. Maybe you’ll get an answer in a minute or two hours or two days, or years. But you’ll always get the answer. You don’t have to worry about it. We don’t always know but that’s ok, we will get an answer at one point.”
To live in the now.
To accept that we don’t always get answers is part of the ‘now’.
But we can choose gratitude for what we do have. For what we do know. For the love in our lives. For the courage to choose our responses. For the ability to out-create even in darkness, our hands cupped around flickering flames to dispel that thick night. To connect in whatever way possible. To hold others in our heart if not in our arms. To be tolerant enough to hear and see other’s points of view, knowing we can stand apart, often alone, and even in many different places at once.
To hear the grace notes of hearts ringing out, marking our days, makes us able to live in the now.
I send you love,
I’ve lost the bells.