An Invitation

27 Mar 2019

"The Perfect Choral Piece," said my friend Raz (and with his background, he should know).

I was telling him about the invitation from my sister to go to listen to her choir sing Bach's Mass in B Minor in her local cathedral.

How could I refuse?

True, I had to reschedule some commitments for the weekend. I had to plead with my family for yet another weekend away, but – I could not refuse the invitation.

There were two reasons - no, three – for this. The first is that, as Raz says, this is a sublime piece of music, and the chance to hear it live in a beautiful cathedral is not to be lightly turned down. The second is that I love my sister and know that her own family is not at all musically inclined; without me she would have no near friend in the audience. The third is more complex.

Yes, I love my sister and know that she loves me too, but the relationship is something we both work at; it is not always easy, as it is always easy with our brother. It seemed important that I demonstrate my love for her by accepting this invitation.

So, I drove half-way across the country (for you in the USA, that's across into the next State; for the Australians here, it's just next door) to hear her sing.

And it was a sublime experience. True, the seventy-five meters of nave between the orchestra, the singers, and me rather muddied the mathematical precision of the music. But the atmosphere more than made up for it. The chill of the air and hardness of the seat were more than adequately dealt with by the cushion and blanket I had the foresight to bring, and the delightful conversation with people in the seats around was an unexpected bonus.

The real reason I had accepted though, came after the concert, when we sat, a bottle of wine between us, Jonathan Ross on the disregarded television, and talked; really talked.

There is more than fifty years of shared history and our lives have taken different paths, but we both bring to that life an appreciation of the metaphysical, for the spiritual interpretation of science and intellect. It is fortunately not as if we need to work through an utter dissonance of interests.

Family dynamics are frequently complicated, and although our family dynamic is probably more complex than most, I'm sure most siblings have "stuff" they have to work through.

I think the difference for us is that we have both decided we will love each other, whatever comes, and have a good relationship – even if that relationship takes work.

And, it's worth it; it's so worth it. Even without the Bach it was worth the journey; it was worth the time away from my family; it was even worth the two-hour hold-up on the M6 on the way back.

Because I love my sister and I cherish that time with her.

(And the Bach.)


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