Walk On

by Maria Theresa Maggi on October 29, 2018

"Lark at Daybreak," chalk pastel by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Lark at Daybreak,” chalk pastel by Maria Theresa Maggi

I got out of bed this morning after my first set of meditations and stretches to do a bit more yoga and loving kindness meditation. Afterwards, I was left with the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” so present in my being that I started to sing it out loud. After decades of not even thinking of it, I was surprised and moved I remembered nearly all the words and the correct modulation of the chord change in the melody at “the sweet silver song of a lark,” which I always loved. And I felt my Mom with me, who taught me, and others, this song, which we sometimes sang at folk mass.

Most people equate musical theater with camp and happy endings, but my mother, who was a vocal music teacher and put on many musicals herself, taught me the depth of their portrayal of so much of the shadow side of American life.

For example, l learned about the historical prohibition of miscegenation and the term itself from my mother’s explanation of the plot of Showboat. I learned about systemic racial discrimination and hatred, and the struggles and catch 22 circumstances immigrant populations face. I learned the devastating personal consequences that can follow achingly clearly due to our conversations about the meanings in the songs of West Side Story. I learned how racism and slavery was acquiesced to from the greedy beginning by our founding fathers in the powerful and horrifyingly accurate song, “Molasses, Rum and Slaves,” when she took me to see 1776. And though we sang “Happy Talk,” from South Pacific when I was a little girl, I also listened to the groundbreaking song from the same show, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,” about how racial hatred takes root, which tragically, is more relevant than ever.

I remember Carousel less clearly, but I do remember it was one of her favorite musicals because it showed the real life tragedies of workers, their desperation and the tragedies they have to live through, are trapped in. I remember being surprised when I did see it or hear the story from her, that everything is not all wonderful at the end; in fact its expose of domestic violence with no clear way out, and the rationalizing of it by both abuser and abused has gotten it the nickname the “wife beater musical.” But isn’t that still one of our most horrible and dangerous problems, along with the reality of poverty the musical also shows? This great article places its history of productions alongside one in the era of #metoo.

All this is to say that this morning I felt deep gratitude for my Mom’s life and how she used and taught music to teach and empower as a vehicle for learning a more truthful and painful form of American history. And I missed her enough this morning listening to “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “If I Loved You,” both from Carousel, to cry out loud and even say “I miss you, Mommy.” That was the 8 year old, the 10 year old, the 12 year old and later the teenager who followed her to musicals, who helped her with her chores and errands so was privy to this treasure trove of insight she so generously shared. And so, I share a little of it here, with you, in her honor, and because we’ve had one hell of a week on the dark side of American life, and because I trust the return of this song to my attention is perfect timing. “Carousel” and I were born in the same year. And though I cried my tears, both the song and the tears give me hope that I am not alone, ever, when it comes to those people of good will who walk on again and again, after terrible brutal violence, loss and heartbreak, like those left behind who knew and loved those who died so horribly and senselessly this week, at Kroger’s in Kentucky and in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.  May all these beautiful souls rest in peace. As I try to take my own humble steps forward, even stumbling ones, I am buoyed and humbled by the spirit of all those who have loved profoundly, both living and remembered. We are bound together in sorrow, in the comfort of loving and joyful memories, and the continued and committed active struggle for justice.

Maria (moonwatcher)

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marge Evans October 29, 2018 at 5:05 pm

love.

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2 Maria Theresa Maggi October 29, 2018 at 9:36 pm

love back 🙂

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3 LeAnn October 29, 2018 at 6:00 pm

Thank you Maria.

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4 Maria Theresa Maggi October 29, 2018 at 9:36 pm

You’re welcome, LeAnn.

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5 Peggy October 30, 2018 at 10:21 am

Love really is the answer. Blessed be!

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6 Maria Theresa Maggi October 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Yes! Blessings back to you, dear Peggy!

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7 Silvia October 30, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Thank you from your german fan!
It really comforts me that you pactice Loving Kindness Meditation.
I feel that this is the most important thing in this time where hate seems to be everywhere.

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8 Maria Theresa Maggi October 31, 2018 at 10:13 am

Thank you, Silvia, and bless you! I feel that way too–it’s very powerful and much needed and should not ever be overlooked or discounted, but practiced to the best of each of our abilities. <3

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9 Deborah November 1, 2018 at 9:07 am

Hi Maria,
Are you a friend of Timber Hawkeye?
Here’s something he posted yesterday on facebook along the lines of your piece:
I’m not against Monsanto (calm down, keep reading), I’m pro organic food. I’m not angry at meat eaters, I simoly choose a plant-based diet for myself. I’m not against men and women getting married, but I see no reason why two women or men shouldn’t marry one another as well. Instead of bashing what I hate, I promote what I love (my blood pressure thanks me). Large corporations aren’t evil, I just try to support local businesses whenever I can. It’s that simple. I choose to operate from a place of love, not rage (it’s better for my health).

We are not all activists in the rioting sense of the word, but we all vote with our wallets. We decide which companies get to stay in business and which do not. For example: grocery stores in Hawaii will continue selling mangoes that are imported from Ecuador (even though mangoes grow right there on the island), as long as people in Hawaii keep buying those mangoes from Ecuador. Again: it’s that simple.

It’s been said that anger is a good motivator to do the “right thing,” but so is compassion. Anger can sometimes blind us in our actions until we’re so busy protesting against somethin, were actually disturbing the peace (not just around us but within).

I’ve been accused of sticking my head in the mud to avoid seeing the injustice in the world, but my eyes are actually wide open. That’s why I can see the beauty in the world as well. If you zoom in on the problem, it’s all you see. I say zoom out and look at the big picture every once in a while.

As Mother Teresa said, “If you invite me to an anti-war rally, I won’t go. But if you invite me to a pro-peace rally, I will be there!”

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. Namaste. -Buddhist Boot Camp

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10 Maria Theresa Maggi November 1, 2018 at 12:34 pm

No not familiar.Yes, similar. I will call out BS or gas lighting or racial cruelty if I need to. Recognition is part of a profound learning curve. I know that as a teacher. But that’s only a start. It is above all, most important to supplant those forces with the power of compassion. And that takes some guts these days. May we all have those guts. Thanks, Debbie! <3

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