I’ve posted this before. I keep returning to it – and it never fails to remind me how deep and complex we are. It is so easy to trivialize, to label, to stereotype… and we forget that each of us was once somebody’s child. We’re not cartoons. We’re not liberals and conservatives. Inside each of us lives a child who longs to be understood.
Years ago when I first met my wife, she gave me a copy of a beautiful story.
I was anxious to share everything there was to share about myself – and I wanted her to know everything about me – both the good and the bad.
We spoke about things like regret and we also spoke about forgiveness. We spoke about what it means to lose yourself and lose your way.
I long for a community like the one in this story. I long for love and support of those who remind me when I’ve lost my way and help me find the real me whom I forgot.
How many of us could benefit from hearing our song sung to us when we’ve lost our way? How many of us sometimes need to be reminded who we truly are?
The Song of A Life
When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she
goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray
and meditate until they hear the song of the child.
They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses
its unique flavor and purpose.
When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they
return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.
When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child’s
song to him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village
gathers and chants the child’s song.
When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the
people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person
hears his or her song.
Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family
and friends gather at the person’s bed, just as they did at their birth,
and they sing the person to the next life.
In the African tribe, there is one other occasion upon which the
villagers sing to the child.
If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or
aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the
village and the people in the community form a circle around them.
Then they sing their song to them.
The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not
punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you
recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that
would hurt another.
A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when
you have forgotten it.
Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or
dark images you hold about yourself.
They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness
when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your
purpose when you are confused.
You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song
to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when
you are in tune with yourself and when you are not.
When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and
when you feel awful, it doesn’t.
– Author Unknown