In the world created by the show true love is when the souls of two people become entwined, each and equal half of the other. The enormity of the loss then is the equivalent to having half of our own being taken away, with in some ways only half of us remains.
The journey then is one in search of renewed wholeness in the world. When our loss is so great how do we find our other-half.
The ritual of return to wholeness is I have learned part of the ritual of The Actual Dance I was once confronted by an emotionally wrought audience member who wanted to be sure that I, the playwright and actor, understood that “The Dance does not end just because someone has died.”
We continue to “Dance” then to live in a world that is different, and world in which part of our own being has been lost. We search for new meaning and mission and purpose in a world radically changed.
On this, the 50th Anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., it occurs to me that this search for meaning and purpose after a personal loss is also true when we lose iconic leaders of an era and time.
I do remember where I was 50 years ago on this day. I was driving down a tree lined street in Austin, Texas with my wife Susan. I was a first-year law student. The radio was on in the car. A news alert comes on the radio to tell us what had happened. It was at a time in our lives that we did not own a television. Yet the news and the images are as vivid in my mind as if we where there “in person,” so to speak.
Thinking back on that era of my life, I believe that the entire civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, Jr., specifically, had an impact on developing my own social justice muscles. Much of my career since has been spent in the social justice world. I believe it is in significant part because his life served as a model for me.
Today as a I read the tributes to him and the recollections of those who were close to him, it occurs to me that he was a prophet of our time. His words and visions and personal struggle for justice call on us every day to make the world a better place.
Just as we never forget a loved-one we have lost, I hope that we will all remember his words and his vision and that we metaphorically “Dance with Martin” to do our part to “bend the arc of moral history toward justice.”