Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘dance’

Promises…the Ballet

We use the word promise so casually today. We promise to do things and we promise not to do certain things. We even make promises to ourselves. But somehow when a loved one is ill or dying the promises we make then carry more weight. They seem to be more important…like a final testament of your love for them.

 

Well Sunday, I kept a promise that I made to my dear friend…I went to watch her daughter and granddaughter dance in a performance of the Nutcracker.

Please do not misunderstand my intention here…Yes, I am going as she requested. I have gone before and would have attended this performance anyway, but this year it is in her honor.  The difference is that it was one of her last requests.

A few weeks before her death, while she was hospitalized, we had a most intimate conversation about the future without her presence. It was a special tender time for us together as we shared so much about her futures hopes and dreams. As we lovingly held hands she softly spoke about what things she would miss and how she wanted me to be there…not to replace her presence, but to somehow give flesh to her love representing her deep desire to be there. A symbol of our loving commitment to one another; she was confident that I would be thrilled to go watch her precious daughter and granddaughter dance. She knew my love for them was great, too.

When people are dying they grasp on to those things which represent life for them and to them. For my dear friend supporting her family in everything they pursued was at the top of the list. It brought her great joy to watch her daughter perform ballet and jazz dance as a child. There were many long hours invested in dance lessons, practices, sewing costumes, and all that is related to dance. When you are devoted to dance (or anything else that requires intense attention) you happily make sacrifices in other areas of your life.

While her daughter was an excellent dancer she chose another field for her career, but dance was and continues to be one of her great loves. I know that my friend could see and feel the joy her daughter experienced when her granddaughter began to blossom in dance as well.

It was not long before this beautiful wife and mother of three was back at the ballet bar and once again on point. She was bitten by the ‘Ballet Bug’. You know the little ‘bug’ in the fluffy tulle tutu! Ballet is such a beautiful art to watch…grace, movement, muscle control, timing, flexibility, the music, and much more.

I will always hold in my heart the joy and the twinkle in my friend’s eye just seeing her granddaughter dance and pirouette in the living room. She would break into a full face, ear to ear smile. I loved her warm smile.

I believe Sunday night she was there for I felt her presence sitting with me. I could feel the warmth of her smile. Excuse me for a moment as I wipe away a tear of love and joy. I trust that she had the best seat in the house looking down on all of us. She could even see back in the dressing room as her daughter commented later.

Following the final performance we celebrated with dinner together and managed to joyfully include stories of our loved one. I have heard some people refer to death as just being on the other side of the curtain. Well Sunday night behind the curtain was something made in heaven; lovely ballerinas especially the two we love and most wanted to see.

The beauty of ballet is truly heavenly.

My dear friend, here’s to many more promises joyfully kept.

 

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~ The Numbness of Grief ~

Sometimes I just want to go to the top of a mountain and scream at the top of my lungs. There seems to be no release. Days go by and the heaviness of grief is numbing. I can understand why people get caught up in drugs and even those who cut themselves…sometimes you just want to feel something intense. Day after day you guard your emotions.

If I could dance I would be putting my feelings into some wildly expressive dance where everything could pour forth in silence. Reaching out far, stretching up high. The emotions could explode from the very core of my soul. Would dance soothe this deep inner pain? I can only perform this dance in the recesses of my mind while listening to music repeatedly.

 

The numbness of grief has a pain unique to itself unlike any other. It is a pain that sears your from the inside out. A pain you cannot hide from…a pain you cannot run away from.

If I was an accomplished pianist I would sit at the piano and play with such passion anyone listening would experience the intensity of the magnitude of my pain. Composer/Pianist, Michael Allen Harrison in his composition Fly Away best captures this state of grief for me. It is a heaviness played in the low bass clef and yet there is a light melody creating a delicate balance and then the oboe comes in with tears of lament. The tempo is like a solid drone. Life continues, the sun rises and the sun sets, but it will never be quite the same. The drum beat keeps everything moving forward with heavy footsteps.

 

Grief makes you want to turn yourself inside out, exposing who you truly are inside. I am at the foot of the cross with the Blessed Mother weeping and holding on to what I was taught and have believed since childhood. I am not alone, but I my tears are held close to my heart.

Do others have the right to enter into your personal space of grief?

 

Sometimes I think about taking a feather pillow and ripping it open; throwing all of the feathers into the air. Watching the soft white feathers slowly, quietly drifting one by one back to the ground, I find a comforting thought.

 

Tenderness is how I treasure the many memories…the times that can no longer be shared.

I have been reading Job and the Mystery of Suffering by Richard Rohr today and listening to music. Throughout the book of Job it is easy to identify with how abandoned he feels by God while at the same time being convicted of God’s love for him.

“If we take happiness from God’s hand,

must we not take sorrow, too?” Job 2:10

 

I had no plan to write these words today; they just flooded into my heart. I really cannot comprehend what my life would be like without music. Music is a spiritual experience for me almost mystical. Music is a retreat in the space of a few precious minutes. Heaven surely has ‘The’ most beautiful music. All of the different instruments harmonizing together remind me of the Body of Christ, the angels and saints worshiping and praising God together in harmony.

I sit with grief as my daily companion, both day and night. Grief is in my dreams. Grief walks beside me like the grim reaper.

I choose life.

I choose to walk in the light.

I choose to embrace all that is part of my journey here on this earth.

 

Below is a link for Fly Away by Michael Allen Harrison

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