It has been some time since I have written about Love.
In the year 2000, Susan my wife then of 34 years was diagnosed with what turned out to be stage three breast cancer. Susan now 19 years later and in the 53rd year of our marriage is an unlikely survivor of what is now referred to as “triple negative” breast cancer. During her early medical treatment, a new and unexpected lump appeared. The tone of the medical team changed drastically.
The Actual Dance, the play, is the story of my coping with what seemed to be an inevitable end, something I feared I could not endure. It was written in 2012, more than a decade later finally giving expression to what had sat inside of me since that time. The first poem I ever wrote was posted on the web site based on my evolved understanding of a love that connected Susan and me in some fundamental way. The Poem US
A tangible essence of who we are.
Love is when our essence became entwined.
Each an equal half of the other.
"I love you" simply awakens the US in you and me.
This is Pierket Avot 5:16; (Ethics of our Fathers)
All love that depends on a something, [when the] thing ceases, [the] love ceases; and [all love] that does not depend on anything, will never cease. What is an example of love that depended on a something? Such was the love of Amnon for Tamar. And what is an example of love that did not depend on anything? Such was the love of David and Jonathan.
You can watch it here, starting at minute 48:13 until 58:05.
Wait! Finish reading this and then listen to Rabbi Amy! Come back share your thoughts.
The idea is of unconditional love – love that does not depend on anything. In The Actual Dance, the play I wrote six years ago, the lines that echo these sentiments are:
“I am the other half of that which makes us, Susan and me complete, and when else in our lives is it more important to be whole than when our body is badly broken.”
Rabbi Amy uses the metaphor of “knitting” – that souls knit together. She created for me the imagery of two people weaving or knitting their essence or souls as life’s journey continues over time.
The Actual Dance evokes a ritual, a metaphor for the end of that life journey of a graceful dance of the two people/souls dancing and swaying on a floor of sky in a different dimension of the universe heading toward that bright light as one evaporates into a tuft of “essence” and slips into eternity. Maybe though Rabbi Amy is right, that it works a little different. Instead, the end involves the knotting-off of the knitted together of the two into a completed US. It becomes a finished union so that what leaves isn’t the love, nor either the other half. The soul of the other stays. Instead it is only the physical manifestation that leaves. The love never does
It is worth the listen of Rabbi Schwartzman’s 10 minutes: She ends her sermon with these words:
Love is why we are here.
To that I say: Amen.