Chelle and the Fig

Photographic Art


We Give Thanks for Our Friends- A song called New Day

We Give Thanks for Our Friends
We give thanks for our friends
Our dear friends
We anger each other;
We fail each other.
We share this sad earth, this tender life,
this precious time.
Such richness. Such wildness.
Together we are blown about.
Together we are dragged along.
All this delight.
All this suffering.
All this forgiving life.
We hold it together
(Michael Leunig)

I read this poem by Leunig recently and I felt the courage to post a song I wrote for a friend almost two years ago (with stunning violin by Sarah Holmes). It was written when I was in the throws of a heartbreaking event that occurred between us. It was a final and tangible layer to deeper more subtle flaws, which had come to unsteady our relationship. The emotions around this unhinged me and played out in slow motion over months, revealing new and varied angles of hurt. It was real for me, but I can also see now it was a story I chose to zoom in on, while permitting other parts of my world to slip out of focus. I felt the stubbornness of my father fuming inside me, which is ironic because the damage that waged has continued to this day and he is still absent from my life. I so didn’t want to be that person. The other irony was that my friend and I are both strong, conscious women. We believe deeply in Sisterhood and yet jealousy and competition, two words that allude to something shallow, prevailed. It wasn’t shallow though. It was deep and ancient…it was our creative essence, tenderly reaching out, grasping for expression and grasping to be honoured. So much stands in the way- tall poppies, debilitating self- judgment and the judgement from those we love, failure, rejection, humiliation, vulnerabilities too fragile to expose. A feather could take down such struggling little dreams. Potential threats are every-where and our lizard-brain steps in. Under this spell or something like it my friend and I stole each other’s beauty in ways that looked subtle on the surface- a mood, a look, a casual slight, silence- but which actually cut concisely to the core of us at a time when we perhaps needed more love than ever. When it reached it’s crisis the wounded part of me wanted to give up for good. Perhaps my friend felt the same. We didn’t though. We were humbled and sad and we took the long, winding and excruciatingly truthful road back to love. There was no guarantee we would reach it. I think we both doubted that we would with such a swamp of pain between us. And yet we didn’t quit. We kept turning up for each other. My friend sat steadfast in the line of fire as I intermittently over months emptied my heartache and accusations. Never once did she look exasperated or imply that I should move on. I could barely stomach the sound of my own droning complaints, which over time made me sharply aware of her patience and compassion. Like all of us -and the relationships that spring from our fragile hopes to be loved and held -we/they are imperfect. For me this very imperfection, this rupture and my friend’s love held within it an opportunity to stay present with the truth in pain; to move beyond bruised ego and false pride, and sit in emotions that feel ugly and sometimes shameful. To have another sit with us in that space, to feel their love and presence while communing with our own shadows is a dear gift. The mirror it offers reflects the way to our own self-love, nurturing our inner solace and helping us move through this blustery, often fickle world with more ease, trust and grace. The evening featured in this song was one moment in our healing, but much more was needed. We allowed it to be whatever it was, we allowed it to take whatever time it took. Eventually love dwindled back, the hurt dwindled away and here I sit with my mended heart.