Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

No religion at my age... faith... I hope....

I have no religion any more

My dear dear Larry, who spoke to me out of the silence of this lonely blog...
religion is for the young. I have a spiritual path called Quakerism. I once had a religion ... Quakerism, and Marxism, not Communism or Socialism, and both at the same time, as I was also an anarchist... and I knew the difference, because of my religion, Marxism, and I could quote thee the difference. Religion is learned and memorized and catechismized, and quoted back at the tired and sad old grey headed fools such as I now am, by children who are sure of the faith of their religion. I hope the young learn to stop reading and quoting and look inside, but damn, didn't I once, I could quote Connolly and Marx and Molly Stiemer and Fox and Hicks, as they do their lights... quote those who describe light, it is so much more comfortable than looking inside at the darknesses that cause us our greatest fear... the fear of the Me we all can't face.

Religion is for the young zealot. The sadness of faith, the joy of faith, the tears of faith and the uncertainty and loss of faith of faith comes with the sadder wisdom of age. It comes of seeing so many that thee loves die, and seeing thy death, sometimes, lonely death approaching, and knowing that the young don't know, can't know the difference between love and lust, and passion and patience, and fear and caution, and dependence and dependency, and all the subtlety of age which brings tears to the old and disgust to the young... all this... all this I wish we never have to learn.

But learn we do, and we keep on. And today, an old friend and I speak of how we can keep on, wounded as we are, in this cold city full of cold and zealous hearts, who know so much of what we once thought we knew... and this friend and I pledge to try and keep on that road we have been on, two buskers, making our parent's music, in a world where that music is a commodity... a thing to be traded and sold, and performance, when to us... it is what it was, the language of our people's souls...

And we may be beaten down, and I may be reduced to tears, and I may not survive the struggle against my whole world being thrown on the young people's scrap heap of change... to hear dear young hearts tell me, "this is not working for me..." as they deny the effect of the "me generation" that we had a part in creating by challenging old values... and so... well, a dear old heart and I are setting out... on a new voyage.
pray for us.


At 2:25 PM, Blogger Rich in Brooklyn said...

Hey Lor,
Look outside. It's a beautiful day today right here in New York City. Buds on the trees that don't know any better than to try to grow on a city street.

There are lots of reasons to be discouraged from time to time. I go through it, too, so I won't try to talk you out of your mood. But at least be open to the possibility that it's just that: a passing mood and not a new state of being.

If I'm not mistaken, I'm older than you are. I've probably made more mistakes as well. Right now I have a good job, but that's nothing to rely on. If it's taken away I may have a harder fall than someone who hasn't gotten as addicted to a large salary and large debt.

The young will have their turn. Right now they have to share the stage with us geezers.

Seize the day!
- - Rich Accetta-Evans

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Well, me and me old pal, Mary Pat Shannon ... a brilliant singer who started my band with me ten years ago, have been pounding the pavements, and singing away our sorrows and playing out our joys... there is an open road in front of us, and, well, as you know Rich... there are those of us who for generations got told "move on..." and sometimes I forget that part of me that says, "so what else is new... I'm movein' ain't I? " Off to the new corners of the world they don't own yet, and new places of the heart not discovered yet...

Born in the middle of the afternoon,
in a horse drawn wagon on the old A5,
the 18 wheelers shook the bed,
ya can't stop here the policeman said,
you better get born in someplace else so
move along get along move alone get along, go ... move... shift.

Freedom happens when there is no place for you sometimes.


(thanks Euan McColl for the song above... )

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

By monday I will write about us being run out of the park, after playing there some 30 years or so... life in the new america.

the old ways are finished
the way of the Traveller's over
there's a by law to say you must be on yer way
and another to say you can't wander...


At 3:16 PM, Blogger Larry said...

You wrote: "religion is for the young. I have a spiritual path called Quakerism. I once had a religion"

No, Lor, I am 79, and I have a religion that informs and glorifies my life. You, too, have a religion, which has informed your life through the years.

I have been reading your blog. Your posts are impressive. You have held up faith in the midst of hardship. Don't falter, write the good, positive posts, and you will feel better.

You have a lot to be thankful for as well as some hard times. You are alive, and your life is a gift-- to you and to many others. I'll see you some day, ole buddy.


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