The sense of inward welcoming when sitting to meditate, like coming home from a whirlwind vacation. That timid smile on my toddler’s face when she’s given something she’s never seen before. The soft velvet carpet of emerald green covering the hillsides from the recent rains. The quiet satisfaction of a day’s work completely cleared. These little things are the words of a psalm.
There are other notes that don’t seem to belong. The park ranger who called my five-year-old son’s happy digging for pebbles a violation. The stranger who anonymously wrote to tell me that I’m scary. My furtive glances at the whiskey bottle. The sleepless nights. These seem to be lyrics of a different song.
Trials and tribulations, little arrows, and small confrontations sound different than joy and praise, it’s true. They are a battle song or songs of mourning. Sometimes the music book even looks like chalk marks on the walls of a prison cell.
When still learning to speak, we are taught how to compose music. Our first drive to impose our wills upon the world is conditioned to fit in with the tribes. We are mostly taught how to revise the song of life, not how to sing.
Oh, dear hearts, revision is the duality that defeats our hearts and masks our glows. It’s no use to seek after wholeness and unity in meditation if we judge one meditative session good and another bad. There’s no love in my heart unless I can hold the irritating park ranger and anonymous accuser in my chest along with my toddler. The desert scrub and the fresh grass are both lovely on the hillsides. In truth, there are not desirable plants mixed with weeds in our lives – all of it, the unpleasant and happy, are together the holy garden.
The song of mourning, the battle song, and the joyous hymns are all one psalm. My psalm, and yours. You will never be able to edit out all the “undesirable” parts of your song, and your task was never that. Instead, the question of these little things was always this: will your psalm be sung?