Sunday, April 22, 2012
The Send Off
It all happens when someone approaches you and says something like, "I heard from someone who heard from someone that you can sing." And even after you admit that you haven't performed or been a part of anything musical in years, you are suddenly convinced, through listening to the fact that none of them had been consistently playing in years, you may as well give this a shot because... it just might be good for you. After all, you'd pretty much been sitting there doing next to nothing but surviving anyway, so why not add a little color to your life? And the next thing you know, you're standing in a room with five people from five walks of life and five different backgrounds and they all seem to be having this moment of, "Not sure what I'm doing here but... let's rock."
You soon realize that, through music, you had all become friends. You crack jokes and swap stories. You branch out and hang out, you jam here and there, but you start to learn what makes each person tick and you realize that a part of the synergy between you all is based on a balance of personalities and character -- where one might be weak another is strong, and when one falls down the other picks them up. It became a space where you celebrated each others triumphs and you supported each other though struggles. It became a space where honesty was the best policy, no matter how intimidating that may have been at times, and it was a space where you all had a say and you worked together for good. But as with anything in life, nothing stays the same for too long.
Things happen. Babies are being born. Work gets in the way. Stress and lack of time become major players. Health problems sneak in. Relationship troubles creep up from the shadows. Priorities that demand more attention take away from "the fun." Communication breakdowns, changes in the game plan, curve balls and strike outs... Suddenly the winning season was last year's news and the next round looks like the team is facing some injuries and recovery time is required. But regardless, you have all created something between you much more beautiful than just good music.
And even when you walk away from something that you loved so much, in an attempt to catch up on everything else, or to recover and heal, or to forgive and forget, the bonds that were created between you remain as strong, if not stronger, than they were when you picked up your instruments and played. You've all grown to understand one another. You've learned to recognize your lives as works in progress, and you all have seen the progress that each one has made -- musically, professionally, and personally. And with the passing of time, those things that seem like road blocks or set backs level off and are overcome. And you were all there to work through everything together -- friends first, musicians second.
And then one day, after everything in between, the time comes when you find yourselves together one last time, friends first and musicians second. Everyone's life has taken a turn in which this musical setting that brought you all together has finally reached its end. And you find yourselves walking into that space feeling the same joy as always, but this time there's a tinge of melancholy as you work together to bring a positive send off to something that you all consider a solid and common bond -- full of beauty and good times and good memories and good music.
Music is in the soul, but friendship resides there also.