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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Unfinished Symphony

Franz Schubert, prolific Austrian composer who died at the early age of 31, wrote nine symphonies, liturgical music, operas, some incidental music and a large body of chamber and piano music. He began his famous Unfinished Symphony in 1822 but only completed two movements.

The immense body of work produced by Schubert reveals to us the powerful dedication and immense energy he gave to expressing his life view through the venue of music.
And, still…given that…Schubert is most famous for his Unfinished Symphony…the composition that was never completed.

The theme of The Unfinished Symphony is singing in my heart this morning as I reflect on the connection we have with our families of origin and our ancestors.

I believe we choose the families we are born into so that we may have the very best environment to inspire us to work on the lessons we have chosen.

Sometimes those environments are nurturing and positive; sometimes they are troubled and conflict-ridden…but always they contain the impetus for us to explore and achieve our lessons and dreams.

And, now…another thread is weaving itself into this picture. The theme of The Unfinished Symphony.

Perhaps there is even more to our choice of birth family…

perhaps it is the CONNECTION we have to the dreams and desires of those who came before us.

On a historical note
I have read that when people emigrated to this country...often at the very young ages of thirteen or fourteen seeking the opportunity to make their way in the world and often coming for the purpose of making an arranged marriage…when they arrived here, they were overwhelmed with the work of finding a place to live and securing a job to support their families.

Because every ounce of their energy was being used to survive, it has been theorized that their children carried on the process of mourning their parents' loss of the mother country for them.

And so the tapestry unfolds through many lives and many generations. Which brings me to the concept of The Unfinished Symphony.

The questions presenting themselves to me are these:

Can we identify the longings and dreams of our parents…not for material goods or money…but for the character traits they wanted/needed to develop (consciously or not)?

And, if so, has the development of these character traits been begun by our parents but has now become their Unfinished Symphony?

We have so many choices in life…so many places to put our energy.

Is the finishing of their Symphony something we are especially equipped to achieve because of our understanding of their life circumstances and longings and the impetus we have experienced to carry on the dream


is it something we wish to complete?


  1. These are good questions to ponder, Marie. I am thinking that it is NOT my responsibility to complete their unfinished symphonies, only my own from prior lifetimes, and those I've designated as top priority in this lifetime! And that's plenty enough for me!

    Matter of fact, I feel that when I get diverted into something that might have filtered into my consciousness from a parent, as a goal they might have had, I lose track of my connection with my own higher purposes for this lifetime.

    I've given this a lot of thought over the years. For a time, I believe I lived out some of my mother's desires -- as a newspaper journalist, for instance (which she also was, but was stopped in her career, I think, by her preference for alcohol). I could have gone many other ways, but I "fell" into that one. It was good training, as it turned out, and so I don't regret it. But in truth, it was her influence that drew me into it, told me it was a reasonable career to pursue. She and I may have even planned it that way! Or I may have planned to be influenced in that way, as part of what I needed to learn to accomplish my own goals. But now I view it as a "sampling" process I went through, sampling something of my parent's experience. Until I was ready to become my own being.

    Perhaps this is a phase all offspring go through. Not necessarily a bad one, just a factor in our development. I'd say, choose your parents wisely if you have the opportunity to choose! (And not all do.)

  2. I think this is fascinating. I can see how we might be influenced by the dreams of those in our families. I wonder how many other people are so busy surviving that they they also did not mourn their life situations--the death of a spouse, the loss of a baby, etc.