May Your Soul Feel Its Worth
The Wine: Non-Descript California Chardonnay (The Only Option at the Airport Bar)
The Winery: Jake's Bar, Ontario International Airport (The Airport Bar)
The W(h)ine: May Your Soul Feel Its Worth (Even While Stranded after Cancelled Flights)
The Holidays are here (as if you need my reminder).
Cue the carolers, year-end-giving emails, and relatives phoning in last-minute holiday wishes. Add a bomb cyclone, a California earthquake, an airline's colossal failure to fulfill cross-country travel promises and a host of other valid reasons for some to not feel like celebrating.
With the season, traditions abound. Tethered to each tradition, A Story.
Horrible Ones. Hollow Ones. Holy Ones.
All intended to invoke an emotional response, inviting us to feel.
Tis the season to not just feel jolly, but to feel across a spectrum of human expressions.
Raised Protestant, my adherence to any religious sect and corresponding holiday ritual continues to evolve. One childhood tradition remains: listening on repeat to the old hymn, “O Holy Night!”
Something about the song's soulful melody beckons me into sacred space, and in seasonal surrender, grants my nervous system permission to fully feel, without judgment, uninhibited, safe, and cosmically held.
I need that.
(Especially via Josh Groban's rendition, just sayin'.)
Perhaps its a favorite too, because besides the holiday feels this 1843 hymn recorded by all our favorite performers beckons from within...
...it comes with one hell of an origin story.
What happens when a conservative church (believing only one gender comprised both a body AND a soul) unwittingly hires an Atheist lyricist and a Jewish composer to create an (unintended) inclusive, equity-minded anthem?
One stirring deep feelings within French soldiers as they sang "O Holy Night!" aloud in the midst of war, stopping all fighting with the Germans for a full twenty-four hours.
One inspiring radio's Canadian inventor to experiment singing into a microphone and sending "O Holy Night" vibes across the Atlantic, moving weary, wave-worn sailors to tears, mesmerized and wooed with feelings of wonder and awe.
One beckoning top recording artists across genres to pour out emotional renditions (Nat King Cole, Mahalia Jackson, Mirelle Mathieu, David Foster, Mariah Carey, Martina McBride, Andrea Bocelli, etc.) since its controversial conception, and capturing attention across musical categories from "spiritual" to "classical" to "popular."
Yet the church leaders who compelled the song's creation rejected it altogether, banning it from being sung in cathedrals or by congregants, once they learned the two who wrote believed differently then they.
I feel that.
Who of us can relate to having been beckoned into this world, created and/or evolved, only to feel rejected at our core by the very same people/places/perspectives that taught us to be?
Those feelings do NOT feel like Holy Ones. Yet, they are real. And worthy. Feeling them comprises the spectrum of human experience, as much a the happier end of the emotional spectrum. As Dr. Susan David so eloquently (and accurately) states in her 2016 book Emotional Agility, "Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life."
May I propose that all our feelings point towards something deeper: our core values, who we ARE, who we want to BE, and what MATTERS most to us. So even the negative feelings, whatever their cause, can point us to our CORE. And that, my friends, is the Holiest of Holy:
My hope for us all this holiday season, no matter our tradition, belief, family, or culture, is that - as the song says - our souls feel our worth.
What the two unlikely collaborators of this unforgettable hymn had in common is what all humans have in common...
...a core longing to feel our worth. The worth felt by virtue of being simply and profoundly loved by another.
Might you be that other for someone? What about for yourself?
I invite you to give yourself a gift this year that truly keeps on giving...
The gift of deep feeling....all that is....without judgment...in safe, surrendered space...whatever that needs to be for you.
"People are NOT problems to solve, but Beings to Understand." - Lisa Maaca