From the book “The Soul’s Code” by James Hillman. “The so-called traumatic experience is not an accident, but the opportunity for which the child has been patiently waiting – had it not occurred, it would have found another, equally trivial – in order to find a necessity and direction for its experience, in order that its life may become a serious matter” (W. H. Auden).
Today I am walking through the dunes near Haarlem, there is a strong wind which makes the sea restless and which blows sand in my hair and in my eyes. A muted sun shines in the sky and the dunes are empty, safe for some hikers and mountainbikers.
I have arrived yesterday already, to see and hear Bach’s High Mass. I got the idea the day before yesterday (what can I say? 🙂 ). My computerscreen shows a theatre full of white dots with one lonlely red dot, almost at the front. That one will be mine then. A woman, sorry, a lady, takes the seat next to me. “That’s my sister’s seat”, she says. “She can’t come because our brother died yesterday and the wake is held this evening. She needs to be there to check all the flower arrangements and so on. She is a bit of a controlfreak. Not me, oh no. I don’t like dead people and my brother had a good life, so why should I go stare at his dead body? I’d rather be here”. The concert is great, even a bit too great, overwhelming. I feel it’s like a kind of Bach’s Greatest Church Hits. Maybe it becomes tolerable when you can share it with someone, like so many people around me do. Missa est… My neighbor is not bothered by that, she thinks it is wonderful and she definitely will be back next year. After the concert I see her sitting on a bench while everyone else waits at the coat racks. She is waiting for rush hour to be over. In invite her to a glass of wine (she had already mentioned that wine is her favorite, I expected it to be white but she prefers a strong red). She hesitates for a moment, then joins me. Over the wine she recounts her turbulent life’s story, with frank openess and wry humor. Now she is free, she says, she travels the world with her friends and her son. A second glass is denied, she is driving. We walk outside together, I walk her to her car. She hesitates for a moment, as do I.
The opportunity to take your soul’s code, your life’s path, seriously does not only come to you through traumatic experience, it reveals itself just as much in the unexpected meeting. The vast reveals itself in the small, the small reflects the vast.