Sometimes, for reasons that aren’t necessarily clear, I find myself in a conversation with a customer that goes to places neither of us envisaged. Some of these interactions stick with me and teach me a little something more about myself and humanity. One such conversation I had this year, with an older lady, started as innocuously as any other, about music and our respective journeys with the artform. She was a very kind lady and took a genuine interest in my story of Layne discovering music for himself this year.
By the end of the conversation I was in awe of this woman’s strength and her commitment to her faith. With enormous tears welling in her eyes more than once throughout the exchange she had effectively told me her life story, a tale of lost love, shocking domestic violence, misfortune and misadventure, which frighteningly could have all been very, very different, save for one single decision, many years ago. When she arrived at the present day she looked at me with surprise, composing herself and making apologies for having been so candid. You know the sort of person who tell anyone who will listen. This was not that sort of person. She was a proud woman, not one to lean on others but to be the one giving support. She was a woman of faith and told me, with the utmost of belief and sincerity, that she wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for the faith she held so dear.
She visited upon me again recently, many months after that conversation. She had been in poor health and has been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, of which the full prognosis won’t be known until after the Christmas period. Her biggest worry, however, is that she has been unable to honour her commitment to the nursing homes she visits to play for the residents.
Recounting our discourse earlier in the year she again apologised for “prattling on” back then, as though it were burdensome to me in some way. She was visiting to wish myself and my family a merry Christmas and, enquiring as to what she would be doing Christmas Day, she told me, without any despair or sadness, that she would be spending Christmas Day alone. What little family she has that she interacts with are interstate, but she was in no way lamenting her day alone. She again referred to her faith and God and she was more than happy to have His company for the day. After all, they may be meeting in person sooner than later, she joked. “I don’t fear death, not at all”, she said, with conviction in her eyes rarely seen in such a circumstance. Her concern? Making sure there wasn’t too much clutter in her small house for others to have to tend to when she was gone.
While many people have committed many atrocities in the name of their respective religions since their inception, there’s no arguing the comfort and solace it brings to peaceful believers. While I’m not a religious man I have nothing but respect, and indeed, admiration for their commitment, for those who believe so deeply in something. Be it God, Allah, Buddha, Brahman, or whatever deity they turn to, if they’re not trying to convert anyone, practicing hate, or judging themselves as above others, how can you not respect them? I have equal admiration for those who have just as strong a commitment and belief in the power of music, of art, of oneself, of family, or simply of love.
Christmas is the big Kahuna for all Christian faiths, they got you a holiday too. It would be the big one for my late Grandfather also, it was his life’s vocation, after all. He would have been flat out knocking up sermons, and my Grandmother alongside him, whacking the hymn numbers on the board, making sure the pews were stocked with Bibles, and that there were plenty of honey biscuits and lamingtons good to go after the service. He was the wisest and most gentle man I’ve ever known, and she his equal on all counts. Their religion saw them through tough times and heartbreaking hardships that my generation, thankfully, rarely endure. If we all believe in something, something that works for us and brings us solace, not judgement of others or hatred, whatever that may be, we’re better people.
The picture attached is from a time when our children believed in something, a bloke called Santa. I haven’t asked, and I’m sure I’ll never be able to, but I fear they no longer have that belief. /cue sad face
I have a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which is my family, the family who I look forward to being present for and repaying, in part, for their patience for supporting me through another long year. On that ledger I’ll always be in the red!
In our 18th year in this business, as with every year, my family and I owe our everything to those who have supported the shop and ourselves once again. We rely solely on your patronage and are always filled with gratitude for it.
Whatever you do, whatever you believe, I hope this Christmas and the new year ahead bring you good fortune and peace. And in times of less good fortune, turn to what brings you consolation, and lean on it.
Be safe, one and all. Peace…….