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    The Secret Sound

    We sat in the middle of the lake, the water smooth as glass. The echo of Rick’s Mongolian flute playing the Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts, reverberated against the hills and in our hearts. In the quiet stillness, I read aloud a poem by Kabir.

    If you want the truth,
    I’ll tell you the truth
    Listen to the secret sound,
    The real sound
    Which is inside of you.

    As the night fell, clouds hid the stars but the warmth of friendship and shared experience radiated brightly. Each in our own way had been touched by cancer. Some through personal diagnosis, others by association. All keenly aware of its presence. Though often hidden, like the stars, the shadow of cancer is always there, a constant reminder of the fragility of life. But on this night, we were strong and cancer was the thread that held us all tightly together in faith and friendship.

    As we floated in tethered canoes, we ate strawberry shortcake under the darkening sky. We talked about being present in the moment, about our lives and those around us. We listened to stories about cultures different from our own where the words “please” and “thank-you” are unnecessary because kindness is just a way of life, not something to ask for and acknowledge.

    Together in silence, we listened for that secret sound inside ourselves. That sound that all too often gets lost amidst the noise and bruising clatter. That real sound that beats deep within our souls, refusing to be drowned out by the boisterous blather that permeates our lives. That sound inside each of us that guides our course when skies are dark and we can’t see the stars.

    Before returning to shore, the sweet sounds of Amazing Grace bounced off the water and the now, pitch-black sky. For me, this night was a powerful reminder to quell the noise that sometimes threatens to distract, distorting the sounds that really matter. What if we all listened to those sounds more often?

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