The beauty. The play. That’s what I always come back to. That we’re players in a Shakespearian drama of our own creation – standing on a wooden stage on a summer’s eve – expressing our joy and horror at being part of a play.
The horror is indeed part of our play; it’s the suffering that lives beside the joy. A sweet child suffering a devastating illness; the mother grieving endless loss; the father speechless from pain and failure. It all plays out beside the joy of childbirth; the happiness of a toddler on a swing set; the purring of a kitten in your arms; a child’s graduation; and the glory of standing on a mountain top in a brief moment of well-earned victory – followed swiftly by a tragic storm.
Thank you tragedy. Thank you heartbreak. Thank you joy and beauty. How about not equating horror with death; not equating pain with failure? Thank you La Boheme, Puccini, Albinoni, Chopin, Shakespeare and Alanis Morissette. Thank you Isak Dinesen and Victor Hugo for showing us the sweetness and the sorrow side by side. That’s simply how it is here on the wooden boards beneath the stars on a warm summer night.
There is no joy without pain – no pain without joy – when all is said and done. We have to love the play for what it is – a textbook of mastery for our divine evolution.
Of course, like you, I long to step away from the pain and live in the bliss – meditating on my porch while a summer breeze stirs my heart and I cry from the beauty of a tree in the morning sun; the perfect dance of light and dark; the brilliance of a morning dove’s sweet song; the song that wakes us up from the bliss of the higher realms.
In a moment of sudden panic at the airport, I hold my daughter forever, kiss her lovely forehead and never let her go. I stop her from walking towards the gate away from me. Then, like mothers do, I blow her a kiss good-bye as she disappears from view. She too needs to see the beauty and the horror side by side. We all must sip from this potent brew or there’s no need to be here. It’s the play and the play’s the thing.
And when you take your final bow, it matters how honestly you spoke your lines, how bravely you faced the audience; if you played your role with every ounce of heart you could muster. It matters then how true your words rang out into the night sky – filling the audience with hope, sorrow and understanding; your poetry drifting into the moonless sky to become a new constellation of unnamed stars.
Anger rises. I am angry to see the horror of the play; the murder and deceit that is part of our drama. As often as I am wise and joyful, I am heartbroken and hiding out – crying for what’s been lost.
But the play’s the thing. And it gets me out of bed. It’s the thing that holds us together waiting for the divine reveal. Waiting for the poetry of one word of unbroken truth to fall into our hearts and touch us so deeply that for a brief instant we remember who we are and leap to our feet shouting “Bravo!!” For that one brief moment, we see the perfection of horror and beauty. We understand the play of light and shadow; and it illuminates us.
Only at the final curtain call can we say it was terrible and wonderful and that we’re glad we came – that the story was worth it. And the script was brilliant.
But today I only see the pain of a turtle trapped upside down on the edge of the street; the innocent hope in the flyer with the picture of a missing kitty; the beauty and grace in my sweet daughter’s face as she waves goodbye at the gate.
I wanted to tell her: Be the player on the stage we can’t forget. Be the poet in the night who creates a constellation all your own. Pull the naked truth from your heart and lay it on the stage for all to see. Speak your unbroken truth that wakes us up for a brief instant of shared illumination. Because you are divine and nothing will ever stop you…