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renewing Together

by | Dec 19, 2021 | Ray Charles, renew, Together

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🖋 Faith, fundamentally, is belief in something you can’t see, but know is there. As the results of Project One spiraled out over the last year I was there, I knew that it was time to take a leap of faith into something that I had never really contemplated. The dream of owning my own business was never a thing, and yet, that was what was on the horizon. If I really believed in what I was seeing both as a need and my talent, I had to act. On Faith, or In Faith but either way, how?

The paradox of my faith tradition is the centrality of a personal relationship with the Maker, and the requirement of support Together for/of other believers. In the past couple of years, that last part has been complex, but for me, our church has been meeting Together for nearly 18 months now. Initially with distance, masks, etc, and always following the local requirements – but renewing Together. And I am hopeful that we will all get back to that in all aspects of our lives soon…

.. and not being “A Fred”. My mother has been way ahead of her time most of her life and has worked with Homeopathic treatments for the last 30 years. During the last 2 years, the one that has been used the most around the globe is what you take to reduce an emotion that has been at 11 (or higher) throughout – Fear. That is before they even start to treat other symptoms – can we get the level of stress caused by that emotion to be under control?

🎵 Ray never appeared afraid, not that I would have been there when he might have been. And imagine how that developed in him. His family story is one of sadness through and through – a Mother who was abandoned by her own family, impregnated by her adopted Father… who then abandoned them both. He lost his sight as a child and eventually learned to play piano in a School for the blind. Even that was hard – reading braille music with his right hand while playing with the left… and then reversing for the other hand. His mother died when he was 14, and he started playing in local bars in Florida…

… before moving to Seattle… because “… all the big hits come from Northern cities”. He met a young Quincy Jones there, before moving back to Florida where he became not just a recording artist, but a producer. Oh – remember that we are talking a black man – in the south. He was fine living/working in that community… but also knew that money was going to be made elsewhere. His reputation caused Jerry Wexler from Atlantic to actually find the “segregated” part of St. Petersburg, and sign him. One of his early hits is in my favorite scenes of Planes, Trains, AutomobilesThe Mess Around with John Candy playing along on air piano…

🖋 We have “gotten used” to wearing masks… or not, and certainly now, we are all tired of doing that constantly. On a recent flight, I realized that to help me sleep, I could actually pull mine up over my eyes in addition to the rest of my face. So – imagine that – a mask on your eyes… forever. Never able to see anything. Reading is only available with your fingers, translating those little bumps into meaning. And thank goodness SOMEONE developed those bumps – and also did them for musical notes.

Wherever we are going now, I can tell you that for me, it will always be Together. It is a part of my brand for sure, but it is much deeper than that. We were created for relationships, and science has never found any argument with that. At the start of this, we all knew that instinctively, which is why Zoom and other platforms blew up. Some way of just seeming even virtually to be “with” others was required. And in small and bigger ways, my call to get Together has been renewing to many around me – and I hope they all know, mostly to me.

As I put my foot on the transom of my last corporate role, what helped me jump into the unknown? Sure, the “parachute” of skills and stories I had accumulated. And of course, some ego that could get over the fear that was always hidden from others. But most importantly, it was the Faith that a few others had … in me. Together – they helped me think about this step as not a leap… just a small step forward. Which is also a part of our faith tradition. You have to step forward and make a profession … and then, the community – Together – is there for you.

I know that Ray grew up in the church, and brought that gospel sentiment to all of his music. And I know for him, the blues were real – deep, and throughout his life. Today’s song reflects that… recorded with only a 2 track recorder – live – to get the warm and touching sound. The picture is rare – Ray without his glasses, but enjoying his time in the studio. It is appropriate to close out our week with this – a Gold Record, and a #1 hit. I believe in the renewing Faith that I will write about next week… but for today, for this Sabbath, I want to salute you for coming along on this Journey of mine… Together. I Can’t Stop Loving you.

I’ve made up my mind
To live in memories of the lonesome times
(I can’t stop wanting you)
It’s useless to say
So I’ll just live my life in dreams of yesterday (dreams of yesterday)
Those happy hours that we once knew
Tho’ long ago, they still make me blue
They say that time heals a broken heart
But time has stood still since we’ve been apart
I’ve made up my mind
To live in memories of the lonesome times
(I can’t stop wanting you)
It’s useless to say
So I’ll just live my life in dreams of yesterday
those happy hours
(That we once knew) that we once knew
(Tho’ long ago) tho’ long ago, (still make me blue) still make me blue
(They say that time) they say that time
(Heals a broken heart) heals a broken heart
(But time has stood still) but time has stood still
(Since we’ve been apart) since we’ve been apart
I said I’ve made up my mind
To live in memories of the lonesome times
(I can’t stop wanting you)
It’s useless to say
So I’ll just live my life of dreams of yesterday (of yesterday)
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