Ladies, Lyrics & Laughter and Unspeakable Grief

For the heartwarming story behind this cover image by photographer Jan Somers, see:

A Facebook Post from April 2020

Good morning, family & friends.

Today is Monday, March 52nd, 2020.

Many of us awoke today without some of the gifts that we thanked God for yesterday?

For most of us, those will have included some of life’s most ordinary moments & simplest of joys. Others of us may be suffering from various God-sized holes in our hearts as can result from all manner of loss. Let me share a few words with those who are suffering life’s bigger losses, presently, for it’s you with whom I experience the deepest solidarity & wish to minister compassion & consolation, presently.

The following words are from Gerald May (from 3 different books, perhaps):

“We are conscious not just because our hearts are beating but because they are yearning.”

“The only way to own and claim love as our identity is: to fall in love with love itself, to feel affection for our longing, to value our yearning, treasure our wanting, embrace our incompleteness, be overwhelmed by the beauty of our need.

“Love is present in any desire … in all feelings of attraction, in all caring and connectedness. It embraces us in precious moments of immediate presence. It is also present when we experience loneliness, loss, grief and rejection. We may say such feelings come from the absence of love, but in fact they are signs of our loving; they express how much we care. We grieve according to how much of ourselves we have already given; we yearn according to how much we would give, if only we could.” end of May quotes

What I can promise you, in the vein of always teaching best what I’ve most needed to learn, is that, while God has fashioned each human spirit to heal in its own due time & own unique manner, more generally, He has also formed us as incredibly resilient persons, who, for the most part, will inexorably learn to live again, to love again and, yes, even to laugh again.

There’s a beautiful group of ladies in my hometown who call themselves “The Three Ells,” which stands for Ladies, Lyrics & Laughter. Its membership spans multiple generations. Biennially, in the spring, they put on a variety show (a real healing liturgy for those with Eucharistic lenses) and donate the proceeds to a different local charity. [I’m struggling to keep this short, but my heart gets so full when I write about my peeps & I’ve a neighbor passing on the levee, who’s often whistling Amazing Grace at this particular locale on his daily walk. One can’t make this stuff up!]

When the precious sacred faces of the 3 Ells make their precious sacred sounds in lyrics with laughter, it is because I happen to know so many of their stories, many regarding immense losses of unimaginable proportion and unspeakable griefs of every variety, that I also know that I am a witness to the Resurrection, as we experience it now in part, anticipatorily, and will some day realize it fully in a way … well, “Will we sing hallelujah? Will we be able to speak at all? We can only imagine!”.

Now, for others of us, for example, in quarantine mode with hearts aching & breaking to be unsocially distanced, let me help you imagine your next greatest moment of joy. Below is a song, the refrain of which came to me in a dream, wherein I was walking through downtown Lutcher, near my first ever place of employ on Texas Street. In my dream, a radio was playing through a screened shop window, with a song that I thought was beautiful. I suddenly awakened, grabbed my guitar, and penned the refrain lyrics, charted the guitar chords & hummed the tune into my phone’s voice recorder, so as not to lose what felt like a gift. Then, back to bed. The next day, I penned more lyrics, making it autobiographical, although, in my dream, I had associated the song with an old friend, as I pictured her real life experience of kissing her boy’s coffin, then whispering his name & goodbye.

Well, gotta stop here. But, enjoy the song and imagine how you’ll feel when you can once again Eskimo Kiss those precious sacred faces, whose voices make such precious sacred sounds!


Truly yours,

John Sobert Sylvest