One of the most challenging questions about The Actual Dance though came after one of my first performances. Someone during the post-show discussion challenged the metaphor and asked:
“Where is the beauty and dignity in the shop owner who gets shot in the throat by a thief and lies dying in the street gurgling blood?!”
Today, the question could be asked:
“Where is the beauty and dignity in Uvalde for the parents begging police to save their children, as they hear automatic gunfire in the classroom just yards away.?”
I understand the question. For nearly a decade I have confronted similar questions and engaged with these moments repeatedly. There are no easy answers. A rabbi offered me this wisdom. We will be broken after these tragedies. Our hearts and souls will be crushed, and one day it is possible to find a way to “Shalem” -- Hebrew for wholeness – once again. We will though always be different. It is like Jacob who wrestled with an angel (some say God) and awoke as different, changed. He had a new name, a new mission in life, yet a broken hip, a reminder of the pain that once was.
For the parents of those 19 children and the two teachers, and for the grandparents and siblings and aunts and uncles, and all those people who loved them, I pray that they may one day once again be whole.
In 2014, when this question was first put to me, I wrote the following poem:
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, 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