Listening for the birthday song


One day, fifty-two trips around the sun ago, a soul made its leap into the body of a baby being born. The young mother had an artistic spirit and was already stretched to her limits with three children. She wouldn’t let herself admit her misgivings about this fourth because her husband, a soldier, was a good man who loved his growing family.

The soul saw all this and chose this family for its earth walk, and to help the child weather the coming storms, it bestowed these gifts:

  • Sensitivity, so the child would have tender awareness of the feelings of others, compassion and good listening;
  • Curiosity for the world around her, a sense of awe and wonder for the magnificence of Creation;
  • Appreciation in the form of an artistic sensibility, delight in seeing and making order and beauty, inspired by the vast creativity of the living world; and
  • Imagination, to hear the songs of Earth’s magic and mystery, and to receive spontaneous understandings to help navigate her life.

As can happen in these cases, the girl’s day-to-day environment was so consuming that it distracted her from the gifts. For weeks, years and decades, she wandered in a dark land, buffeted by frightening people and experiences.

She forgot that she carried the gifts with her always, and instead recognized them only in others. She told herself that they were more powerful, talented, and successful than she was. When her way grew darker still, she worried that she was worthless.

Still, she was strong and so struggled on, beguiled by occasional glimpses and dreams of her soul’s presence. She would fall ecstatically in love with her life from time to time, only to slip back into forgetfulness and habits that had formed a crust over the light of her spirit:

  • Cynicism to cover the pain of feeling others’ suffering.
  • Boredom with the toys and distractions of her thoroughly man-made environment;
  • Judgment that artists are useless dreamers who cannot properly support their families (and resentment of this “truth”); and
  • Distraction from the messages and guides of the whole animate community of Life.

Then one day, in a rare moment of stillness, she heard one of her ancestors singing a song of such ethereal beauty that tears sprang to her eyes and the gates of her heart opened wide. Her rational mind rebelled, used to being always in control, but her soul gently lulled the mind into acquiescence.

She dedicated herself daily to listening for the song, which took many, many forms, so many that eventually she realized the song is boundless and eternal. And it wasn’t only her ancestors singing. The more she listened, the more she heard. From clouds and cardinals, streams and storms, meadows and moonlight. Trees hailed her and demonstrated with tender patience a reciprocity that she had never imagined. The world unfolded at her feet and starlight sparkled in her veins. She knew at last the joy of birth, the wonder of incarnation in this land of paradox.

And she was filled with gratitude.

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