Like many of you, I watched the inaugural festivities on TV. And like many of you, I was in the company of not only my family, but also far-flung loved ones through the magic of social media. I read people’s real-time reactions on Facebook and laughed at the color commentary on Twitter. I shared in the collective gasp at the poetry and poignancy of “Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall.” And I enjoyed all the dish over the dresses and the hats.
All in all, it was a lovely American pageant.
The poem by Richard Blanco was deep and good. I caught many of his exquisite phrases and evocative details, and at some point I wrote, “We need more poetry at public gatherings.” Several people nodded, and a friend on Twitter responded, “Yes… both for the content & to engage in listening together.”
And that’s when I realized.
I had not been listening with full attention.
Yes, a few choice phrases had come in for a landing, but mainly I’d been chattering along, content to have just a smidgen of the experience, like the people who talk during the organ postlude. That kind of conversation isn’t bad—it can even be holy—but I had missed the opportunity to give myself fully to the gift this poet gave to his audience.
Twitter chastened me, and rightly so. But Twitter also redeemed me, because that wonderful poem has been posted and retweeted countless times. So today, I listened. I really listened.
If you missed it, for whatever reason, I challenge you to listen to it, or read it, or both. Let it be a moment of Sabbath for you…
Here it is. And tell me what you think.