Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Barroom Revelations

In a moment of vanity I wore high heels, a decision I wryly came to regret as I stood for a couple of hours, listening. The balls of my feet hurt, and I would slide one foot out of its shoe, stretch it and twist it and press it flat upon the ground for a few seconds before sheathing it once again and sliding the other out to roam free for a moment. I had nowhere to set down the drink in my hands - when you show up too late to get a chair, you're too late to get any table space, either - so I held it in one hand and clapped the other against my leg when clapping was called for.

But the music was stupendous and simple delight wafted in waves over the audience, and I couldn't seem to make the smile leave my face even with the force of will. The people on stage would be paid little for their troubles this evening, but they had other jobs that paid the bills; this one they kept simply for love of their craft. Their delight drew us in, so that what started as entertainment unfolded into a rush of joy.

Joyous as it was, though, it wasn't the music that drew my soul upward and outward and gave me clarity of vision. With my feet hurting and the drink cold in my hand and the music wondrous and fun, with the crowd of people standing around me and the smell of beer and popcorn in the air and the ceiling painted black hanging low over my head, it happened again: that recognition of perfection, the sudden inrush of knowing that everything around me was exactly where it was called to be from the very heart of creation. It wasn't perfect in spite of hurting feet and cold hands: they were part of the perfection, they and everything else I could see and hear and touch and know. Nothing can be out of place because nothing can be outside of God. And I stood still and closed my eyes and simply let it be.

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