I’m listening to Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) this morning. His voice is ethereally gorgeous, I’ve never heard a voice anything like its clear-as-a-bell vibrato. I’m choosing his songs as a background for my day because they lean me towards the raw, achy loneliness that I find so enchanting. This voice reminds me to stay, to wait and see, to find a bit of joy within the dismal forecast. I am grateful for his music.
I have struggled to learn and practice gratefulness. Religions, particularly Christianity, teach it as a lofty spiritual value. I know that my own practice of gratefulness helps me get through the day. But lately, I’ve come to view gratitude as just an American form of selfishness. I am grateful because, not only could it be worse, but for most of the world, it is worse. I think about earthquakes and tornadoes, wars and hunger, daily violence, and I am grateful for … what? To not have to experience earthquakes, wars, and hunger myself?
I think gratitude, as an attitude, only goes so far. It helps us to ignore the reality of suffering. It is a far cry from compassion.
So Antony is the recipe for the day. Listen if you get a chance. Be grateful, but try to practice compassion.