At year’s end is the beginning

by Barbara Maria Rathbone

“Life is the game that must be played, this truth at least, good friends, we know; so live and laugh, nor be dismayed as one by one the phantoms go.” Arthur Rubenstein

I used one of those Facebook apps today to compile my year in a sum of statuses (stati?) – a stream of wisdom, irrelevance,  sometimes frustration, sometimes delight and just plain fun. This macro nostalgia made me think of the very real surprises, joys and disappointments of my life in the year past, which actually awoke a deep contentment in my spirit. For the year that is now burning out has been singularly replete with a joy I can barely describe, just as the year that preceded it was a year of shadow, doubt and sadness. In the first weeks of 2010 my spirit began to slowly resume its former poise and I was lifted through circumstances into the light again. I think I must have been karmically rewarded as I have no other explanation for such a contrast. As Rumi said – ‘The wound is the place where the light enters you’ and so the hollowness and loss I felt in January and February turned to enlightenment and joy.

Music and love did indeed return to my life and sit with me here as I write, and I thank love itself ultimately, for music can only shine most brilliantly through it.   But I must also thank  those special friends of old and the wonderful people new to my life who have been such a gift for me in learning to ‘keep the faith’. One especially…

Also today and very much related to this, Jess Duchen reminded me of the great romantic pianist Arthur Rubenstein, who upon a similar contrast of fate set upon a life of loving the world he created, for nothing brings about a miracle in time as much as unconditional love. His philosophy, as he attests above, was to live, laugh and play the game.

So I wish you all a new year of light and joy – but above all love life, for as AR promises, it will love you back!

Here is the man himself playing the exquisite Grieg concerto 2nd movement – a rare diamond in the snow.