Grace Operative song story

Grace Operative – a song dedication

Thanks for listening to this song: “Grace Operative”. It is dedicated to my friend, Coke. I’ve interspersed the lyrics of the song with the story of its creation.

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InterPlay

InterPlay light and intentionAs the rains tenderly, softly fall 
As the mists rise you float through it all 
When the questions seem to need answers 
You are one of the leading dancers 

Last summer, I attended an InterPlay leader’s gathering in Pennsylvania. It started out as a rainy long-weekend. And turned into a moving (literally and figuratively) community of caring folk.

As is the custom, we each wrote our name on a slip of paper and put them into a common container. Then, everyone (who wanted to) chose a name to be their “Grace Operative”.

Basically, this just means giving any sort of gift to the recipient. For me, the intention becomes showing the person how special and loved they are. I saw many gifts of flowers, poems, dances, and I’m sure there were dozens of these graces that I did not witness.

Body Wisdom

Grace Operative song storyFrom a wisdom deep as bodies know 
You bring the dance and start to show 
A way that wants to reconcile 
To act, bring change, then rest a while

I picked the name Coke out of the basket of slips of paper. I’ve known her for many years. She is a spirited leader, artist/dancer, advocate for people-of-color, and so much more.

When I lived in the Bay Area, Coke was instrumental in raising my awareness about my racism and social racism. Since I moved across the country, the stories from InterPlay of her work, play, art, leadership, and advocacy have continued to inspire me. So, I was thrilled to select her name as a grace operative. I knew almost instantly that I wanted to write a song for her.

Truth and Love

You know the truth from ages past
You seek a love that’s bound to last 
Within the frameworks of the now 
You call us to bright futures somehow 

Naturally, I could use my own experiences as a foundation for some of the lyrics. But one of the things that Coke taught me over the years is that I cannot claim to give voice to someone else — especially a person of color (since I’m caucasian and identify as male).

So, I browsed through Coke’s own postings on FaceBook and elsewhere. I used as many direct quotes from her writings as I could in the song. In doing this, I hope that I have honored her in the kindest and sincerest way possible.

Awaken Each Other

InterPlay Moth“May we awaken to help each other back 
To address: we’re off the track 
Privilege and greed have derailed us” 
You see “society’s failed us” 

Another way that Coke has inspired me is by her courage in the face of challenges ranging from health to institutional structures. Indeed, she embodies “grace” in a passionate and compassionate way in each of these encounters.

And these are my perceptions (possibly even projections, which can be tricky). I tell you this only so you can see how much she has affected my own life and thoughts in such positive ways.

Gratitude and Grace

You call me to my best self 
Through your compromised health 
You bring up a heart-full song 
We join in to sing it strong 

There will never be a moment like the one in that retreat center dining hall when I sang the song for her. Dinner had just ended. Since I had freshly written the song, some of the melodies were sketchy and barely rehearsed. But that didn’t matter.

Between the passion, the vulnerability, and the tears, I found grace in giving. My sense in that moment was that Coke received the gift. I hope so.

In InterPlay we have a concept and form that we call on-behalf-of. That is the best we can hope for as human beings.

Grace Operative cover

From a wisdom deep as bodies know 
You bring the dance and start to show 
A way that wants to reconcile 
To act, bring change, then rest a while 
You know the truth from ages past 
You seek a love that’s bound to last 
Within the frameworks of the now 
You call us to bright futures somehow

All content (lyrics, song, story, blog post) are copyright © 2018-2019 by Stan Stewart and muz4now, inc. All rights reserved.

6 comments

  1. Just received this message on a private forum from another InterPlay leader: “My heart has been broken wide open listening to such a touching song. Lovely!”

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