The Church of Aretha and Apple Music

I wake, tears slipping down my face because of yesterday’s disappointment, love lost before it could be found. But also: spinal discs slipping back into place, master healers having manipulated muscle and tissue as I submitted to magic sleep.

I feel better and worse–the human condition, don’t you know.

My heart aches: The sadness of not being held by someone I’d hoped could handle my rawest and shiniest states. Fear about my health and ragged humanity, all our future. Rage about ego, all that ego, run amok. Grace gone when we get afraid.

My heart soars: Hope and her sweet and sundry ways. Coffee, blue divan, the sun’s glorious ascent from my small city window. I turn on music and let the shuffle gods sermonize as I take their holy-holy communion.

To wit:

“Morning Fog”–Kate Bush
(Where is my spirit? I’m nowhere near it) “Blame It On the Sun”—-Stevie
“She Wolf”–Sia (oh, spirit, you have a sense of humor)
“(Living My Life Like It’s) Golden”– Jill Scott
“How It Feels to Fly”-Alicia Keys

And then Aretha, always Aretha, lifting me out of pain and confusion so that I am dancing as the room fills with peach and amber morning light:

I’m climbin’
Higher mountains,
Trying to get home

My road been a little rocky on my way home
Trying to get home

I’m going up the side of the mountain
The ruff side of the mountain
On my way home (meet my people on my way)

And there I am racked with sobs, tears as prayers, the biggest cleanse. Child’s pose on my rug, permakitten watching with owl eyes and pinned-back ears before she climbs on my lower back, reikitty in retrieval mode.

Because in this moment I am possessed by my chosen mother, Aretha, forever Aretha. Who also slides into the next track–her 1968 cover of “People Get Ready.” Which is about this business of living in and as spirit, swelling and surrendering in voice and cadence (means and ends as one, the Lady Soul way):

People get ready, there’s a train coming
Don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All we need is faith to hear the diesels humming
You don’t need no ticket, well, just thank the Lord

People get ready, for the train to Jordan
It’s picking up passengers from coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board ’em

We’ll just thank the Lord
Oh, I’ll thank you because I’m living
(Get on, get all on board)
I thank you everyday because I’m here

As ever, church is wherever you let it breathe.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy