I was once at a wedding at which an incident occurred; in fact, it was more an event. The wedding breakfast was over and the music had begun. An older woman was there. She was a quiet person who kept to herself, a shy country woman who was invited because she was a next-door neighbor of the bride. Everyone knew that her husband was an upright person, but mean and controlling. They suspected that she had a very hard life with him. There always seemed to be a sadness around her. Though she was quite wealthy, she never seemed to have anything new to wear. She had married young in a culture and at a time when if you made a huge mistake in your choice of a life-partner, there was no way out. You continued to lie on your bed of thorns and put a “face” on for the neighbors.
At the wedding, she begun to have a few drinks. She had never drunk alcohol before, and it was not long before the veneer of control and reservation began to fall away. The music was playing but there was no one dancing. She got up and danced on her own. It was a wild dance. It seemed that the music had got inside her and set her soul at large. She was oblivious of everyone. She took the full space of the floor and used it. She danced in movements that mixed ballet and rock. Everyone stood back, watching her, in silence. Her poor dance was lonesome, the fractured movements, the coils of gesture, unraveling in the air. Yet there was something magical happening in it too—often there is a greater kindness in gesture. Here she was dancing out thirty years of captive longing. The facade of social belonging was down. The things she could never say came flooding out out in her dance. In rhythm with the music, the onlookers began to shout encouragement. She did not even seem to hear them; she was dancing!
When the music stopped, she quietly returned to her table blushing, but holding her head high. Her eyes were glad, and there was a smile beginning around the corners of her mouth.
[Eternal Echoes, John O'Donohue, Pages 8-9]
May I learn to dance out my captivity like this woman and experience greater freedom. May I learn to play the music and offer the wine that helps people dance out their captivity.
May we all.