cathedral – a lullaby – for matthew

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do you create art out of whatever you find?  i love to do this – reusing this or that in some unconventional manner, recycling materials in inventive ways.  an insightful friend once said to me, “life is your medium, julie.” alyssa was right – all of life is material to be used artistically and imaginatively!  and lots of people are doing it, for example, check out this music made by a cool guy and a small tree.

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whatever we find in our hands, experiences, minds, hearts and souls is precisely what we can make into an artistic expression, be it ordinary objects treated in an extraordinary way, or some negative reality we wish to transform with our inspired response.

here’s one of my most treasured artistic expressions, born of a horrible event, a tragedy i felt powerless to change, so i did what i could – i created something of beauty to offset the horror.  i made an offering, a gift, of my deepest hope for someone i’d never met, and never will meet, as his brutal murder made so.

i learned what happened first over the radio, then on TV, in magazine articles eventually.  matthew shepard, brutally beaten and tied to a fence, was left to die in the dark of night.  a sweet young man, a poet even, with his whole life yet to unfold, except that ignorance and hatred intervened.  two tragically homophobic men beat him and left him alone to die.

[if you don’t already know the story, please also learn about the courageous, creative response of matthew’s parents – they created a foundation for matthew – you can find more info here: http://www.matthewshepard.org/our-story ]

so what could i do?  i could not change what had already happened to this young man.  yet the fact that it had happened cut at my heart whenever i thought of it.  the only thing i could do was make something beautiful, pure and innocent – for matthew.

i could make something full of what my heart felt, full of what i wished for him in those moments during that horrible night – that the stars sang him a lullaby of hope, that the wind comforted him with secrets only the wind knows, that his precious, precious life would help heal a broken world and he knew this, somehow he could know this and feel it and be comforted.

i wrote this song for matthew.  it’s a lullaby.  it’s not fancy or perfect, it’s merely my heart’s wish.  click on the triangle below to listen.

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if you’d like a copy, email me and i’ll send it to you.  i’m giving it to everyone for matthew. and although the word “pray” is in this song, it’s meant in an unconventional way – “pray” is most often used in a religious sense, though i’m talking about something outside the bounds of a traditional paradigm.

i make art in response to everything i find, the good and the horrific, and you can too.  in order to do so, though, you’ve got to wake up-wake up to the power of your most inspired, imaginative response.

i know my song can’t bring matthew back, but when i sing or listen to this song i feel that i’ve at least made a creative offering to his gentle spirit.  from his unjust death, a simple song of hope was born.

i believe our responsibility as humans, as the “smart ones” on the planet, is to address every part of our lives with our most creative response and the most brilliant harmonious resolutions we can conjure.  with every negative comes the potential for some radically positive response, the only difference between the two is awareness of this possibility and applied imagination.

have you created an offering in response to something you were helpless to change?  i invite you to share your thoughts in the comments.

lyrics:

cathedral – a lullaby

i pray inside the cathedral of my day.  i pray.
i pray under a sky that is blue, for me, for you.

i pray within the cathedral of my night, i pray.
will this world ever be as one,
like we share the ocean, like we share the sun?
the stars will always shine down on me,
everywhere i go, anywhere i’ll ever be.
the moon will bear the light again,
born of the motion of a silent friend.

the stars are my spires, the wind is my preacher.
these pews, they still have their roots in the ground.
my cathedral grows.  my cathedral grows.

i pray inside the cathedral of my day.  i pray.
i pray under a sky that is blue, for me, for you.
i pray within the cathedral of my night, i pray.

will this world ever be as one,
like we share the ocean, like we share the sun?
the stars will always shine down on me,
everywhere i go, anywhere i’ll ever be.
the moon will bear the light again,
born of the motion of a silent friend.

the stars are my spires, the wind is my preacher.
the stars are my spires, the wind is my preacher.

the stars are my spires, the wind is my preacher…

the stars will always shine down on me,
everywhere i go, anywhere i’ll ever be.

the stars are my spires, the wind is my preacher.
the stars are my spires, the wind is my preacher.

the stars are my spires, the wind is my preacher.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa@SacredCircle November 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Beautiful, Julie…. thank you for being you.

julie November 16, 2010 at 5:48 pm

thank you for listening, lisa!

Tom Volkar / Delightful Work November 16, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Julie, that is a hauntingly beautiful song and so well delivered by you, with such heartfelt passion. Thank you.

julie November 16, 2010 at 7:45 pm

thanks so much, tom.

it’s strange how close i feel to matthew when i hear and play this song – for someone i never had the opportunity to meet, he is a true presence in my world. it was the powerlessness i felt to change what had happened that inspired me to do something – anything – to create beauty on matthew’s behalf. for ALL those who were taken too soon, may the stars and wind sing them lullabies.

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