What about other situations: the sudden losses, the accidents, the sudden loss of a child … Newtown? Does The Actual Dance exists for the parents of the children lost in Newtown? Or the parents or siblings of the teenagers on the Ferry in Korea?
I understand the question. Here is my answer in the form of a poem (found on tab for The Actual Dance Poetry):
The dance that one day, each and every one of us will dance
The orchestra that forms and plays only when it is needed
A wonderful, and intimate and beautiful goodbye
Instead the music stops, suddenly without warning
This dance takes only an instant
A lifetime in the Universe
The ballroom sits achingly, intolerable empty, silent
Almost in black and white
I am moved to think about these questions again on this particular day, May 2, 2014, because I am reminded that there is yet another circumstance in which The Actual Dance metaphor is challenged. On this day 69 years ago – May 2, 1945 -- one of my dearest friends and mentors, Rabbi Laszlo Berkowits was liberated by the 82nd Airborne Division from a POW camp called Wobbelin. He was 16 years old and he remembers it clearly. I have been privileged to be his travel companion on six different occasions to ceremonies in the nearby town of Ludwigslust on anniversary events to remember both those who did not survive and to honor those who did survive.
Today, as I think about the Holocaust and the other horrible places in the world where human slaughter is practiced I wonder what that Dance is like and for whom. I do believe that there is a space for us to dance The Actual Dance with and for those who perish in these horrible ways.
The Actual Dance you see happens in a different dimension. It is the ultimate experience of love. We can practice that love through memory and remembrance even for people we have never met and especially for those who came before us. There is a scene in the play that comes to mind and reminds me of the continued presences of all those who have gone before us. This is a description of the ballroom as I prepare for what I expect to be The Actual Dance with Susan:
“There are people now standing at the back of the ballroom. They add a constant murmur to the back ground. It is everyone we have ever met, even known, ever loved in the world. Not just our families and our kids and the friends we have now; but even the generations before us. And I wonder -- just wonder -- if in the mass of people crunched around the darken walls of the ballroom are even generations yet to come.”
The Actual Dance happens too when we remember with love all of those whose lives we have cherished and all of those lives that need to be cherished and especially those for whom we are the only ones left to remember.