I’m cribbing the title of this site from alt-country, all-around-badass musician, Lucinda Williams. In a recent interview about her latest album she talks about taking inspiration from a poem written by her father, poet Miller Williams:
“Have compassion for everyone you meet,/ even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit,/ bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign/ of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen./ You do not know what wars are going on/ down there where the spirit meets the bone.”
And also: YES.
I have been turning that phrase over in my mind since I heard it. I am letting it rattle around in my head when I scan headlines about hatred in Ferguson, death stalking West Africa, about the pro athlete who beats his wife and the suits that look the other way. What we don’t know, what we choose not to know, what we willfully turn our eyes away from. This business where spirit meets bone, where the hands we cannot see lay claim to the architecture that we can, is where IT is all happening whether we heed our call to witness or not.
It’s where life and death dance, really. It’s are you in or out time. It’s Custer’s last stand and the casualties are our very souls; the rapidly fraying threads of our humanity.
Deep stuff. This spirit and bone business. But what else is there worth showing up for?
That’s why I’m here. Or, from another musician, John Coltrane who said: “I have to feel that I’m after something, it’s the striving, man, it’s that I want.”
I’m cored out by this bleak world, but I’m tethered to its beauty and amazed by the miracles it scatters in our path like we are so many pigeons chasing crumbs. I’m tired of pretending that this spirit and bone business does not apply to me, that I’m somehow insulated from the messy task of being in IT—life, the human journey, you know, el whole enchilada.
I’m going to start showing up here, (and maybe you’ll show up too, which, hey, peachy keen…that’s cool) and I’m bringing truth, stories, and whatever it takes to reach that place where the spirit meets the bone.