One of the communities I belong to is my choir. I attend the practices on Thursday nights, and always feel happier at the end of the 90 minutes. The same joyful experience as practising yoga in the Shed each morning.
A dearly beloved choir member, Leo, asked us to perform at his retirement home, which about 30 of us did tonight. There were about 35 or so in the audience in the dining room, including some staff.
I was surprised the acoustics were so good, and our choir sang so beautifully. Often our practice sessions are rather chaotic, but tonight we gave our two choir directors our full attention and the old folks our best effort.
At some point, I looked around the roomful of elderly people, mainly women, and felt a wave of emotions flood me. So much so that my throat choked, I forced back tears, and had to mouth the words. I felt like leaving the room, not to spoil the performance.
It was just that there have been 4 deaths of people close to me or friends’ parents in the last month. I wondered how long those in our audience had to live, what their quality of life was like, and I also saw I was looking into my future and those I love.
It was a sweet-sad evening, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
How does one keep from “growing old inside”? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people…. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable.
– Robert McAfee Brown