Last night was the first time I went to a show at Jimmy’s in Portsmouth, NH. Mavis Staples was great, it was the second time I have seen her perform, and the singing uplifted me and helped me feel so thankful for getting to see live music again. The most moving version of The Band’s “The Weight” felt wonderful. If I was smiling and shedding a tear through the biggest smile to the end of the song, it may have been in my observation of a number of things: the bold folks dancing and getting up to dance or sway with the music, people’s faces meeting mine. The gratitude with which I felt being in the presence of those I loved that night is still something that brings a smile and a tear, so many in fact that I’m sure I am so truly blessed to be alive.
In my ability to enjoy some of the activities that had been up until recently forbidden to experience, I count myself lucky to have come through it healthy, with most of my family intact. My philosophy has changed somewhat since before the pandemic. I did not come to this way of thinking overnight, and it was not just one thing or even the past year or so that brought me to this idea. I believe that being with others includes everyone. The purpose of life is to experience enjoyment, inclusion, and to be uplifted, benefitted, and blessed by others. Mavis said, “I want you all to feel better when you leave here tonight than when you first arrived.” Today I believe she was right.