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I looked up the origin of the phrase “true blue.”  Some speculate that it refers to the endless blue sky above us, the blue yonder.  Others suggest that it might have had something to do with the purity of noble lineage, as in “blue blood.”  Most likely, the idea was first associated with a particular dye-making technique in Coventry, England, in the Middle Ages.  Coventry Blue was the best — it didn’t run or fade like other blue dyes of the period — it lasted, it remained true. “As true as Coventry Blue” appears to be the complete, original phrase.

It seems appropriate that “blue,” now, can also mean “sad.”  Because being true to our own feelings, the completeness of our emotional landscape, almost always means acknowledging some measure of sadness, nostalgia, and heartache…

The colors of grief and loss with time do become less sharp — perhaps fading with wear — but the truth is, sadness endures.  While all feelings tend to become  familiar and maybe even comfortable the longer we inhabit them, still the blues can pop with renewed intensity from time to time.  This often happens around the holidays, especially.   

It’s so important to remember that this sadness doesn’t necessarily mean that something’s wrong.  

It’s okay to be blue, to mourn, to feel moody and melancholy and maybe even a little miserable.  It’s okay to remember the past, and look back with sweet sorrow, love, and longing.  It is always more than okay — it’s kind of essential — for us to try to recognize and honor what’s genuinely going on in our heart, whatever it is…
It’s also perfectly fine to be confusingly happy at the same time.  We get to be complex.  Honestly, this kind of contradictory mixed bag of emotions is probably the most authentic expression for most of us most of the time.

Sure, the season calls for the donning of gay apparel. Sparkling gowns and funny-ugly sweaters and reindeer ears and jingle bells. That doesn’t mean we can’t get our blues on as well. 

Let’s add some bluesy notes to the “fa la la la la,” and truly share the fullness of our hearts.

This weekend, we hold a special place for our ambivalent, convoluted wholeness during the holiday season — happy and sad, in love and loss, with tenderness towards ourselves and each other through it all.

Even when I’m blue, it is a joy to be with you, friends.  Celebrating our connection whether we’re together in person or far from each other, whether we’re up or down, while we keep on keeping on navigating the ever-shifting terrain of human community and possibility.

Join me and Patty Stephens for music, message, and ritual at Maple Street Dance Space, 10:00 am this Sunday morning. I’ll also share my talk online Sunday evening, along with some of what we recorded for Blue Xmas last year.

With love.  XO, Drew

©2021 Drew Groves

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