lenten journal: get here

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I went walking around the Green today three different times for no other reason than I needed to get out of the house. The first time, Ginger and I walked down to the Marketplace to buy some bread, but my second trip was going nowhere in particular other than out. I came home to find that Ginger and Lila had made a break for it, so I hooked up Ella and Lizzy! and we went out to find them. Tonight Ginger and I made one more loop around the Green after dinner. We were the only ones in town who were out.

One of the reasons I made a point of walking today is I can feel a storm front looming. When my depression takes hold, I feel like I have on one of those green eye shades that poker dealers wear and I can’t get out from under the shadow of it. I can’t get enough light. I began seeing some of those shadows today, and I know walking is one of the ways I can keep them at bay at least part of the time. So we walked.

On my solo trip, a song popped into my head as I thought about all of the people I wish I could see–all of the people, both near and far away, that I want to make sure know I care about them even as I am leaning into the love I trust from them. It’s Brenda Russell’s song “Get Here.” I know the Oleta Adams version better, but Brenda is the one who wrote the words and music.

get here

you can reach me by railway, you can reach me by trailway
you can reach me on an airplane, you can reach me with your mind
you can reach me by caravan, cross the desert like an Arab man
I don’t care how you get here, just get here if you can

you can reach me by sailboat, climb a tree and swing rope to rope
take a sled and slide down the slope, into these arms of mine
you can jump on a speedy colt, cross the border in a blaze of hope
I don’t care how you get here, just get here if you can

there are hills and mountains between us
always something to get over
if I had my way, surely you would be closer
I need you closer

you can windsurf into my life, take me up on a carpet ride
you can make it in a big balloon, but you better make it soon
you can reach me by caravan, cross the desert like an Arab man
I don’t care how you get here, just get here if you can

I started singing an updated version

you can’t reach me by railway you can’t reach me by railways
you can’t reach me on an airplane, you can reach me with your mind

Then I jumped to the bridge

there are hills and mountains between us
always something to get over
if I had my way, surely you would be closer
I need you closer

Tonight during dinner Ginger was telling me how the deacons have divided up the congregation among them and have a plan to call everyone personally over the next month. The staff is working on sending postcards to every member. I’ve read other stories today about how people are trying to get here for one another.

If, on Day Three of Our Unfortunate Isolation, I am already feeling the storm clouds rolling in, I have to figure out how to get here for those I love, and for my own survival. The call Russell sends out to the one she loves in the song is to figure it out:

I don’t care how you get here, just get here . . .

Whoever was on the receiving end of that message understood they had to do something on purpose to get here; it wasn’t just going to happen. So, along with my walks and reading and journaling, I am going to make time to get over the hills and mountains between us. For me, texting and e-mail will probably be my main vehicles, but who knows what I might find. My usual practice when I get to my window seat at the Marketplace is to sit and look out the window and let names bubble up in my mind and heart. It’s my way of praying. I’m going to expand my practice in hopes that it gets me closer to whomever needs me to get here, or who I need to get here for me. I imagine I will be the one calling for help as well.

I am not writing to say everyone needs to do what I am doing, but I am writing to say the centrifugal force of the virus and everything else is throwing us to the edges and flinging us far away from each other. We have to be determined and tenacious to find each other across the distance.

I don’t care how you get here, just get here . . .

Peace,
Milton

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Have always liked the song, but whenever I hear the music I first hear the weaving together of the notes, into chords, then phrases, and then the finished product. A fascinating setting which says to me that it takes all of us to weave our lives together. My two cents. Love you, and you have taught me to love hippos.

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  2. We’ll have to work at it, but technology does give us new tools for breaching isolation. The sound of a human voice is so important during this. At Pilgrim we are calling those who live alone to check on them and to give them an ear. Sometimes a person is so happy to hear a voice, the sentences flow and flow and flow. Instant feedback….like a song.

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  3. Milton, thank you for your blog. You are lifting me up during these days of darkness. Royal Lane is finding ways to enrich our souls by hearing the voices of those we love via technology.

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  4. Beautiful! It is so lonely for single people to be isolated. I have moved in with a friend so there is one person who knows how I am, same for the friend but we are careful, assuming infection. Soap kills the virus by disturbing the outer coating of the virus so scrub those hands! And treasure the moments, even in dark times, music is light and I thank you..

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