Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘Nutcracker’

Yours are the Eyes

Christ has no body but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks

Compassion on this world,

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,

Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,

Yours are the eyes, you are his body.

Christ has no body now but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks

compassion on this world.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)

jesus_open_hands

This poem or prayer written so long ago by Saint Teresa of Avila has been a favorite of mine for some time. This past week as I eagerly waited for the curtains to open it became very real to me.

As I have done before I was waiting for the opening scene of The Nutcracker Ballet. While I have watched my best friend’s daughter and granddaughter dance this ballet previously this time it seemed to mean so much more. This year the granddaughter was Clara! What a wonderful experience for her. My friend would have been beaming with eager anticipation. She would have been so happy and filled with joy to see this ballet performance.

The youngest son was not in the ballet. He was sitting with us in the audience. As he is small he climbed into my lap for a better view. I felt the presence of my friend. My hands were her hands holding him on my lap. She was present in my heart for the entire evening. My eyes were her eyes twinkling with delight.

At one point the little one on my lap leaned his head back against the side of my face. It was for just a brief moment as he could not see well in that position, but for that moment however short my friend was there too feeling his little cheek next to mine.

It is cause for me to smile even now as I sit here alone writing.

When someone we love is present to us in our heart whatever we do can carries that loved one into the event. When you tell stories while baking their favorite dish you bring them into the kitchen with you. When you see something while shopping that they would have liked you bring them into that experience too.

So she was at the ballet with us looking through our eyes seeing how beautifully they were dancing. She was smiling with us as we followed every toe point and pirouette, every curtsey and facial expression bring the story to life.

When you truly love someone it brings great joy to keep their spirit alive in the things that you do… laughing, loving, sharing, reminiscing…

In this season of Christmas I am reminded of how my friend loved giving. She would collect little items and tuck them away in a drawer in the guest bedroom. She was always prepared to give you a little token of her love. She was most generous with her love for others. I often find myself looking at a situation with her eyes. Asking myself what she would do…I can always get the answer because we spent so much time together.

Christ has no body now here on earth but ours and neither has my friend.

The spirit of those we love lives on through us…we are now their hands and feet and eyes. We keep their love alive for others to feel.

I am blessed beyond words!

 

with love

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.