Sometimes the world seems a bit too challenging to bear. The summer sun in Seattle shines brightly, and yet the underbelly of our society’s weaknesses are exposed with new awareness of racism, sexism, and global pandemic. Each day my heart is longing for simpler days of family, faith and community, while I am asked to stand in new places of truth-telling, courage, and discomfort with a heart of peace and justice.
Before these challenging days were upon us, I felt called to organize a reunion. Fifty years ago, I was in the 7th grade at Sacred Heart Academy in Cincinnati, and I learned my beloved school was about to close its doors. I took my first dance class at Sacred Heart! I wrote my first poem at Sacred Heart! I made my First Communion at Sacred Heart! I learned about the evils of slavery and the heart of Christ. Mary watched over us and I felt her feminine wisdom guiding me. At my young age, I was devastated that our little community would close its doors.
Here’s a poem I wrote in 1970 –The Great Hall stands empty now.
Long past are its years of fame.
Seldom are there visitors here,
and those who come cherish its name.
“What Great Hall do you speak of?” you say.
“What building could you possibly mean?”
‘Tis the silent old Sacred Heart,
the lovely old Sacred Heart,
which now stands alone on the hill.
Fast forward 50 years , and it turns out that my cousin has recently purchased a condo in the “lovely old Sacred Heart” building … and not only that, this condo is in the Chapel of the old building! So that was the clincher: I organized a reunion of our 7th grade class … most of whom I hadn’t seen in literally 50 years, and we were to regather in our beloved place of origin! Well, COVID had other ideas, so we ended up with a ZOOM reunion , which had its own beauty!
All of this is to say that in these challenging times, I revisited the place of my beautiful budding child self, and embraced her with joy. I want to share the slide show I created for this grand occasion. May it stir in you the memory of the heart of love that created you and us all. May the Sacred Heart of love continue to plant in us the courage to live with generosity, honesty, faith, creativity and community.
I am fortunate to live with my husband, Charlie Bommarito, a passionate musician who creates music in our house daily. Since we are not able to have large gatherings at the moment, I’m sharing here a summer music creation by his/our band Percolations (also featuring our son, Chaz.) For this video, I am the videographer and editor … (and you can see my surprise appearances at 9:14 and 10:40.) Kick off your shoes and join me in the dance of summer!
Our son, Chaz is contemplating some changes of direction – so it’s a special treat to have this co-creation before larger shifts happen in the fabric of our lives. May the music of summer soothe your soul for the joy and challenges of living!
Stay healthy. Sending prayers, music, and dances from our heart to yours!
Betsey Beckman, MM