When Words Fail 


It is 4am on the first official day of my Thanksgiving holiday, and I am up watching a wild front blow across the city, finally bringing a bit of much-needed rain to our drought-plagued Birmingham. The tumultuous clouds seem to echo the chaos in my mind;  I am having a difficult time writing lately, or focusing on most anything. I start piece after piece, but words seem to fail, sticking in my throat and at my keyboard. My heart feels heavy and my nights are restless with  thoughts of impending change and what will happen to so many people that I love and care for. 

I am very much an empath, and at times all of the emotions coming at me are overwhelming. My students, my colleagues, my friends, my husband, all of the news…So much worry, sadness, and fear. I want to help, to be apart of the solution, and I am trying to formulate what that means. Right now, I have to work on finding an even keel again, and I’m hoping this week-long holiday of gratitude will give me time to focus on the many positive things in my life and in our world. It’s far too easy to let fear take the wheel, but I need to wrestle it away and work on the things that I can control. Fear never solved anything- it only cripples us. 


I am grateful that when words fail me, there is music. Sometimes what I am feeling is more powerful and complex than words can express, and music is the only way to connect with that part of myself that desperately needs to release the tidal wave of emotion. I chose some new music to work on this week, and going back to the elemental work of learning notes and deciphering phrasing and musical intent is calming and focusing. Pouring my heart into the music helps me bring sense to my world again, making me more able to remain positive in what seems like chaotic times. The arts have always been humanity’s way of making sense of the world, healing, and moving forward. Art truly reflects life. 

Today I am going to enjoy the rare treat of being home with no agenda other than what I choose to do. As always, I have self-scheduled way too many goals for the holiday, but I know that each day will include practicing and creating of some kind as I work to make sense of a world gone topsy turvy. Change begins with me, and it’s time to work through the tangled web of emotion until my mind clears and the words come back to me. Then I can truly begin to be part of the solution. 


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