Hello crunchy children! I hope we’ve all recovered from my previous post and can carry on as though nothing has happened, simply squeezing all of our collective rage into a bitter little ball to be released at an appropriate time, like that day I hit the referee with a whiskey bottle. Remember that day?
It is a grey Saturday in my town and I am in my winter pyjamas eating red velvet cupcakes and drinking tea at the kitchen table and recovering from a challenging, busy and somehow still-beautiful week. Free Saturdays always fill me with this unbridled sense of possibility. Not for the day, but for the world. It’s like, suddenly, anything could happen. And it could be really good. It’s a great feeling.
I was lying in bed this morning listening to David McRory’s All Time Greats show on the wonderful Dublin City fm and David had a guest. I don’t know who she was: I tuned in too late. Her name, though, was Annmarie. I got the impression that she was an Irish musician, who was maybe in her early sixties. Annmarie was sharing some of her favourite pieces of music, and related anecdotes. She spoke of being a music student in Dublin in the sixties and buying poor-people’s tickets with her friend to an upcoming concert due to be given by the legendary British mezzo-soprano, Janet Baker, in the RDS, and the utter excitement that preceded the show. She recounted going to the Golden Spoon in Grafton Street with her friend the evening before the concert, for a cup of coffee, with piles of sheet music on the table between them, brimming with anticipation at the prospect of seeing one of their idols live in person. As they gushed, an elegant woman and her husband stepped into the restaurant and walked past them. Certain that it was Janet Baker and her husband, Annmarie nervously got up and approached them. She said, “Mrs. Baker, I am so looking forward to seeing you in concert tomorrow night.” Janet, taken by surprise, and wearing a large fur hat and dark glasses replied, “How on earth did you recognise me?” Annmarie simply replied, “I just wanted to welcome you to Dublin.” Janet and her husband were very touched and invited the young women to visit them after the performance the following evening.
At the end of a spectacular concert, during the encore, Janet Baker said to the listening crowd, “Last night I experienced one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened to me. A young woman took the time to approach me and welcome me to Dublin. She is here this evening. Annmarie, I dedicate this last song of the evening to you.”
At this point in the story, tears were pouring down my face, and I heard David McRory say softly, “Oh Annmarie.”
And I had a moment of worship in my heart, because I thought yes. That is communion. A moment of stepping out, making welcome, receiving warmth, and responding in grace. That is communion. Come in, come in, come in.