"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

lean your ear this way

I spent the morning at a senior center in their storage room (officially called "the library" because among the stored items are some bookshelves full of very old paperbacks and ReadersDigestCondensed volumes). I have appointments here once a month. Today a client asked me, "Are you an attorney, or are you from Legal Aid?" I explained, why, as it happens, I am an attorney AND I am from Legal Aid! To cut the old lady a little slack, though, a lot of free legal aid happens through the efforts of non-attorneys and attorneys who volunteer their time. I don't really wear the uniform that people associate with attorneys either so I can't blame her for not being sure.

Since I had a couple no-shows today there was more opportunity to reflect on the senior center environs. A gentleman started playing Christmas songs on the piano in the main room. He played a bit hesitantly, as if sight reading and a little rusty, though less rusty than I would have been. He played "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" in a halting, reverent way that made it sound exactly like like a hymn, which was pretty much how he played all the songs, but for some reason that one stuck. I'm a sucker for paradox, I guess. But the main thing was that the music warmed the air a bit, sent out some good vibrations, and that he was both able and willing to play for us. Bless him.

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