I’m accompanying the Form 5 Select Choir singers tomorrow as they sing for the Form 5 promotion ceremony. They’re singing an arrangement of Simple Gifts. In it, they do a canon on the phrase ‘turn around right.’ The lowest part keeps repeating ‘turn around right,’ the soprano line does a suspended descant on the same phrase, while the middle voices sing ’tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be simple and free.’ It’s an absolutely haunting section. It also happens to get stuck in the mind. Especially the lowest part – which is very rhythmic.
This set me to thinking. Which is always an interesting if not always a good thing. At the same time, I’ve been reading the comments to a blog post where a picture of a baby in a wig led to accusations of racism. I’m not linking the post or the comments because they were already inflamed enough and I don’t really want the conversation coming over here. Needless to say, these people were continually working the problem over. They kept turning it around and around – but, they never came around right. Perhaps because the issue encompassed both child death and racism it was very charged. But, people were refusing to see the point from any angle other than their own. They were essentially Dancing in Circles. They would call each other names, defend each other, come so close to loving each other and then they’d start off down the whole cycle again.
Turning an issue, or ourselves, around and around, is only good if the goal is to come around right. If we have a goal of reconciliation than we can achieve it. We can turn the issue around, and as long as we are looking for middle ground with the other people than we can find it. Middle ground can be very hard to find. Especially when we don’t actually want to find it. When we are more interested in just spouting our views, in holding our high moral ground, we forget that the other person has a valid reason for their viewpoint. And that’s when we just dance in circles without ever coming to a conclusion. How much better would it be, if we could turn around in circles only until by turning, we come around right.