Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

09 December 2005

"Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life"

Some. . .how. . .must. . .get . . .through. . .these. . .inane. . .songs. Argh! What makes this one worse is that I remember singing this in college, in Opera Workshop, which I belonged in like I belonged in a professional football team. (In fact, I could have faked basketball, soccer or hockey better.) I sang this with Tom, whose last name I forget, he was a tenor. I also played a fat (alto) nun in another piece. Typecast yet again, ha ha. But I did get to sing about almonds.

Happy-sad-ironic laughter. Today I did not laugh enough, which has contributed to my snotty mood. In general, I do find life endlessly amusing, and never dull. Even when I'm frustrated out of my head, there's lots to laugh at. My first recollection of this kind of laughter is when I was twelve, and fell down the stairs at Sesame Place, spraining my ankle. I laughed and laughed, and one woman chastised me for doing so. "It's better than the alternative!", I retorted, cheeky little minx that I was. That ankle hurt so bad, I just couldn't think of any alternative.

I think I have my mother to thank for this attitude. Laughing *is* better than the alternative, and more healing. It feel so lovely to laugh all out, though it can lead to its own kind of physical pain and serious loss of breath.

When I was a little older I read Robert Heinlein, who said that man is the animal who laughs at himself, laughs because it's just too painful to do anything else. I wrote a song, one of my earliest ones, that talked about not being able to love a man who could not laugh. My daughter understands that laughter can be cruel sometimes, and has trouble understanding that laughter can be joyous, as well: an outburst of love of life and this moment that cannot be contained. And sometimes I laugh because life is just too weird, too terribly silly and nonsensical, and there's just no getting around it.


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