Dear Friends,

 We hope that you are safe and well.

 Today's Meditation recounts an encounter between Carrie Newcomer and Starbucks Barista Owen in spontaneous concert at O'Hare Airport. "There is a goodness down deep and it just keeps on singing" if our eyes and hearts are wide-open to the miracles right around us.

We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

MEDITATION 602: Recounting of Starbucks Barista Owen and Carrie Newcomer in spontaneous concert: "There is a goodness down deep and it just keeps on singing"

Carrie Newcomer - A Gathering of Spirits Newsletter

There is a Goodness Down Deep – And It Just Keeps On Singing

Carrie Newcomer

Feb 23

Hi Folks,

I’ve been thinking a lot about singing this week. I’ve been co-facilitating (with a truly amazing cohort of volunteers) the Mystical Music Pod offered by Often the conversation has turned to music, poetry and what music and singing means to us personally and collectively. It has been over two years since the start of the pandemic and there have been deep and personal challenges for all of us. For me one of the challenges was the fact that singing, the very process of moving air from my lungs into the world around me, became a dangerous activity. For someone who has lived most of her life leaning into the healing power of singing, and the transforming power of singing together, this felt grievous and like something important was lost or unraveling. I was incredibly fortunate in that I was able to continue to make and share music online with a small pod of wonderful musicians, but it would be 1 1/2 year before I was able to sing in-person again.

When vaccinations became available, we could begin to gather for music again. Songs are places where in a divided world we still see one another, where superficial walls come down and where we still connect as human beings becomes apparent. In that sense our lives are a continuation of an ancient song expressed in our individual voices and whenever we live more authentically and open-heartedly it is a form of singing.

Below is something I wrote after experiencing someone singing in an airport and experiencing a moment of human and musical connection. I am looking forward to a time when singing can just be singing, when a song can lift through the air again and move heart to heart to heart, unencumbered and without unease.

There is a Goodness Down Deep – And It Just Keeps On Singing

Last week my flight out of Sioux Falls was delayed several hours and so I missed my connection in Chicago, resulting in a four hour layover in O’Hare Airport. I found a comfortable booth in a busy Starbucks and settled in with a book. There were three baristas working the counter. One was a young African American man with a wide smile. This wonderful man was singing mini arias in a beautiful operatic voice. He was obviously a trained vocalist and a seriously fine baritone. He kept singing out the orders in soaring melodies as they came up, lattes and cappuccinos, the name of the patrons, and then always (with a final flourish) a generous thank you . I sat there for an hour, just listening to him, closing my eyes, enjoying the resonance of his voice, the flourishes, the final gratitudes. I noticed how some people stopped, clearly delighted by something so fine and rarefied. Others hurried by, so intent on getting where they were going that they arrived at their gate but missed the miracle.

There is a lot in this troubled world that feels like a gathering storm. But then something utterly unexpected and truly beautiful happens. There is a goodness down deep….that just keeps singing.

Eventually I got up and took my place in line at the counter. When the barista asked for my order I smiled and sang, “ I’ll have a grande latte, with almond milk please. ” The young woman started to grin and the baritone turned to look at me. We then began a completely sung conversation. His name was Owen, he was a student and would be singing in an opera in town next Saturday. My name was Carrie, I just had a show in Sioux Falls and I was heading home. He was from Chicago. I was from Bloomington. He played piano, but his main instrument was his voice. I played guitar and I wrote my own songs. This went on for awhile. The two other baristas were standing back, nodding at one another. Finally, I sang an affirmation, “You have a truly beautiful voice. I have been so moved today by your incredibly generous spirit.“ And then with a bow, I sang a heart felt “Thank you my friend…Thank you". He stopped, I could see his eyes were shining and full. He leaned in over the counter and whispered, “ I needed that today.” Then he straightened up, lifted his head and his glorious baritone voice, and sang “Grande Latte with Almond Milk my friend” and ended with a flourished “Thank you” that was an elegant as an old time signature written with a quill tipped pen.

Yes, there is a goodness down deep. It shows up in songs and stories, in chance encounters and unexpected places. There is a goodness down deep, a collective spirit that keeps lifting us up…….and it just keeps on singing.