Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"What a Wonderful World"

The sound (and feel) of rolling thunder greeted me this morning as I prepared my first cup of “getting ready to go to work” coffee. “Going to be a morning of delivering the newspaper in the rain” I said to myself. I enjoyed the drive to the warehouse in the absence of the usual summer humidity that was the gift of the slow drizzling rain, and appreciated the cooler air brought in with the weather ‘front’ that passed through yesterday.

Then, I turned the radio on to set a mood and tempo for the morning’s work. Static and noise was all that greeted me. “Well, I guess that the antenna has finally given way to allowing rain to soak into it, or its cable, or connections, or all of the above” I surmised. “Can’t expect much more from it when it has performed so well for seventeen years.” I then turned the radio off, and decided to choose an “internal soundtrack” for reflection as I went about accomplishing my tasks. The one that I chose was the one that played on the radio yesterday … prompting me to shut the radio off at the final note of the song, in order to preserve, and allow me to dwell on, the echoing of the melody … the image of the singer (the incomparable Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong)… and the sweetness and rich profundity of the lyrics … for the balance of that day. So, this morning, I resurrected that song from my mind’s archive … and accepted it as the soundtrack for my morning. I share it with you now … and will comment on it after …


(George Weiss / Bob Thiele)

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Oh yeah

Ahhhhhhh … how sweet it is! And there you have it, My Dear Friend and kind Reader … the power of choice of soundtrack. For, you see, I can do nothing about the rain (which is responded to, by most [if not all] of those whose job is to deliver newspapers in it, as a misery and an inconvenient complication to life.) I have no ability to correct or undo the effects of rain water seeping into some hidden part of my poor old van’s radio antenna. But I, and I alone, have infinite control over … as well as absolute responsibility for … my personal choice of a spiritual, mental, and attitudinal “soundtrack” to accompany the given “lyrical” details of my life.

And I am here to tell you that my choice, this morning, resulted in a lovely and rewarding symphony of circumstances. As I played that song in my soul, I stopped at the entrance to one of the cul-de-sacs, that I make deliveries into, and responded to Life’s whisper within, by turning right where I always turn left. This brought me into another cul-de-sac as one of my customers was carrying out trash cans for this morning’s pick-up. Whereas this reclusive and shyly solitary person and I do greet each other with distant smiles and enthusiastic waves … this morning’s exchange (while brief and fleeting) was one of eye-to eye gladness of presence accompanied by a very few words of sincere well-wishing. A wonderful rarity that would not have been possible absent the accompaniment of the spirit of that song in my heart … and my openness to the quiet whisper of Life’s “still, small, voice” responded to. I proceeded from there with a grateful “Thank you Life” whispered within.

Then, as I progressed further along, I saw another who (had I not chosen to alter my usual pattern) I would not normally see. She was also carrying the accumulation of cans, boxes, and ’stuff’ that were destined for pick-up by the trash haulers. She was attired in a ’frumpy’ house-coat, or bath-robe (whichever may be the case … I am not much for awareness of appropriate names for such), her hair wrapped in some sort of bandana or kerchief … altogether fitting in a drizzling rain, and the requisite slippers. She looked up at my approach … I reached out of the van’s window with the newspaper extended to her (to save her having to pick it up … wet … from the driveway) … and playfully commented (with appropriate theatrical emphasis) … “I just LOVE the fashion statement!! … No, No, I REALLY do!” (Big smile) I then bade her a good day and drove along my way.

But wait!! There is more. I have never … in all of these nearly-twenty years that I have been delivering her paper … had an opportunity to tell her what has always been on my mind, and in my heart, each time I have seen her. (Song playing in my spirit and me willingly giving myself to it) … I put the van in reverse … she stopped what she was doing and looked up … “I was willing to take a moment to be a wise guy … now I am willing to take a moment to be truthful … Since the very first time that I saw you … I have been smitten with you! So there! There you have the other side of the coin.” I waved. She said a quiet “Thanks” accompanied by a lovely smile. I drove away once again and continued my work.

Simple little “Life Things.” Uncomplicated and unscripted human exercises. Unplanned responses to opportunities. All made possible because I was willing to employ an enabling background to the factual, elemental, concrete “lyrics” of my life’s pathway today. I made the conscious choice to place the “paints” of my life’s details on a “canvass” of beauty. The “stuff” of life is handed to us through the circumstances and details of our environment and our responsibilities within that environment. We can, quite often, do nothing about that “stuff.” But, My Darling Reader, we have, as the gift of Life’s beautiful providence, all power over our election of accompanying soundtracks for our individual “dance of life.” Whilst I thank you for your patient consideration of mine … I lovingly bid you … give yourself the gift of a magnificent symphony … today.

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