Saturday, November 07, 2009
What do you see?
The church bells rang and he stood looking down
His face was sad yet resolute...pain and strength
He was alone and making a decision for more than just himself
He wrestled with the idea but knew he had to go
They were angry, busy, frustrated
They were together but alone
They didn’t see one another
They could only see their own, individual agenda
Even when their paths crossed, they made their own movements
He came and they didn’t see him
He was there and they didn’t look
He touched them but they didn’t know it
He was ignored, not in the room
Out of the darkness he appeared
A light shining on his sacred heart
Out of the red heart came a soft, mourning song
They closed in, they pushed him around
Their moves hurt him, he adjusted and flowed with them
They pushed all the more, the light intense on the red, brooding heart
The light went out
The music stopped
They were busy, frantic and bored all at the same time
Everyday the same
Waking to the activity, laying down with the same hunger
They were working together now over his dead body
They looked away and his heart began to beat
One of them fell and he caught her
She got up but didn’t see who had saved her
Then the room lightened
He was there
They carried on with their motions but he was there
Moving with them
They still didn’t see him
Church bells rang
He looked down again, not sorrowful now
More at peace, more at ease
They were working together
Something had changed and maybe they didn’t even notice
They were at peace, still moving but something had changed
And then the dancers took their bow.
This is not really a poem, it’s a description of a dance (as best as I can remember) Amie and I saw tonight at the Modesto Junior College from the Keith Johnson Dancers. You just saw it through my eyes. I was in awe at this piece called “Outside Looking Up (Still)”.
“Was that about Jesus?” I asked as they set up for the next piece. Amie shrugged, unsure of where I was coming from.
Amie loves dance. She connects with the movements in ways that I never will. I go to concerts with her in the same way she watches “The Lord of the Rings” with me. I get it but she really gets it. She isn’t built the way I am...needing to find the meaning. She just likes interesting movement. In fact, if it’s supposed to have a meaning, she’d rather them just tell us up front instead of guessing.
I was amazed though, not believing that I had watched the gospel play out right in front of me at a dance concert at our local college.
At the end of the night, the company director and the dancers came out for a question and answer session. This piece was inspired by the death of the choreographer’s mother. The man...the “he” that for me was the Christ figure was actually representing the director’s mother. Another element of inspiration came from the events of September 11, 2001. Letting go, mourning, dealing with death, saying goodbye, not understanding, unanswered questions are all elements to the piece we saw.
Of course, we all interpret life and art through our own lenses. I am a Christian and I saw the gospel. It may have meant 20 different things to 20 different people. And maybe Amie’s view is the best...the simple fact that they are up there moving, trying to express some concept of transcendence, emotion and what it is to be human is the best “message” of all.
The gospel shines through. It has everything to do with mothers and sons and death and mourning and hope and reaching and relationships and brokenness and resolve and peace and forgiveness. All our reaching is a reaching out for God. I left tonight happy to be invited to dance.