The Actual Dance
It is also true that there are different stages of The Dance. There is no doubt a moment when existence on the physical and tangible plane of time ends for us and those we love. We experience that moment with great intensity and emotion. It is a moment when everything in the universe stops for an instant and we are enveloped in an ecstatic embrace of pure love with the person we love. An instant is a life time in the Universe.
Despite that moment – when the Ballroom goes dark and the orchestra leaves – the Dance itself never really ends. The Dance is our on-going engagement with love of the life that is no longer available to us in the tangible world of material existence. Once again the division that Martin Buber so helpfully creates for us is the distinction between the “I” world and the “Thou” world. The tangible, physical here and now world, and the world of love and spirit and of God.
In the “I” or for the purpose of this blog, the tangible world, someone has died. They are not physically with us. The “Thou” world is our continued love for them in which we continue to keep their memory dear and our own love for them alive.
I have written about this before in the context of finding the time after the intense grief around losing the love one’s life when “The Dance” is finally over. When are we “shalem,” once again whole in the world that is different and changed?
What I’m referring to now is the our ability despite being “shalem” or whole again in a broken world, to find our way back to the “Thou” moments in order to experience and remember and live again in our love for that person in that other place and dimension. Can we go back to the Ballroom again in order to experience the ecstatic embrace of pure love once again?
People live on in this world through our active memories and rituals of remembrance. In the Jewish tradition this is done through a number of rituals. One is the act of creating a memorial stone at the grave site. This is done about one-year following the death. It marks also a time when we can focus on become “shalem,” more whole so we can now live productively in the world without the one we loved. Yet we spend a moment and honor the memory
We have the tradition of visiting the grave of our loved one several times a year and leaving stones to mark that we had been there.
Every year on the anniversary of the death of someone we light a 24 hour “Yahrzeit” Candle that burns in our home for 24 hours.
Each of these rituals are invitations. Invitations for us to Dance again. To open our hearts and our being to the spirit and essence of the one we loved. Find our way back to that instant on the dance floor, listen to “our song” --- the one which only we heard – and for a moment be in that other dimension and world. The world of The Actual Dance.
And just as we are obliged to surround those we love – to be in the Gallery and around the darkened walls of the Ballroom for others as they dance The Actual Dance – so too do we continue to be obliged to be part of their journey. This week-end Susan and I are flying to Brownsville, Texas to be part of the ritual of memorial unveiling for Ruben Edelstein, Susan’s brother-in-law who died just less than a year ago. We will be there to remember Ruben and to be with Susan’s sister and his widow Bernice.
So no, The Dance never really ends though our relationship to The Dance changes. And while there is great fear and sadness at the loss of a loved ones, especially a spouse of 50 some years or a young child. We come to learn that the emotion of that moment can also fade and become fragments and we seek to keep that alive as well. The Dance never really ends.