My beloved do you know
How many times I stared at clouds
Thinking that I saw you there
These are feelings that do not pass so easily
I can’t forget what we claimed as ours
Sometimes I’m startled by the amount of pain I still harbor. Music seems to be the only thing that brings it to the surface anymore. Strangely, it doesn’t have to be music that I associate with painful periods of my life. And it isn’t recent marital strife angst or anything like that – this is vintage stuff, hidden but still smoldering like a coal fire in a deep seam.
I should stress this isn’t a negative thing. When I am suddenly, unexpectedly overtaken with emotion and find myself sobbing – on the dance floor, in the car – it’s the most blessed release. Years of carefully regulated demeanor fall away for a moment and I cry out from the basic injustices of life: that friends die before their time; that hate prevails; that we are all broken and alone. It’s like a muscle that has been tensed for years finally relaxing. Catharsis is a splendid thing.
I wonder sometimes what other people find on the dance floor. To me it is church, it is therapy, it is trance and absolution. For a little while I am not fragmented but integrated. I can’t describe it… it is what Pentecostals find in their worship, which I so long envied… I suppose it is the ecstatic experience. To quote William James in The Varieties of Religious Experience, it is “…nothing short of this new reach of freedom for us, with the struggle over, the keynote of the universe sounding in our ears, and everlasting possession spread before our eyes”. Or something like that. Anyway, it’s safe to say dance has become an essential element of my life.