Today I cried.
I was in a stretching class. There were three participants and the teacher. I’m in Chile, and everybody speaks Spanish, so I keep my ears attuned to catch the words, especially straining to hear over the music playlist the teacher has selected. But it’s not so hard; I just do what she is doing. It’s only stretching.
Suddenly a song comes on, and my eyes begin to weep. The song is “Dancing” by Elisa. It’s about four years old. My soul shoots back to the past and everything that this song brings up: my then-16 year old daughter Emily playing it over and over on the computer speakers. My own turbulent emotions that related so much to the angst and longing in the song, to love lamented. Four years ago I was firmly entrenched in a long-distance love affair; a relationship I knew would ultimately end, although it lasted five years. My heart resonated to the desperate pleading in the singer’s voice; the knowledge and despair that love so strong and profound was not enough to change the tide. The hopelessness of loving someone incapable of loving back.
All this comes rushing back to me; tears run freely from my eyes as I lay on my back on the mat. The instructor, a young Chilean woman, looks at me with concern but wisely says nothing. I don’t break down, but merely let tears stream unrestricted as I stretch one leg, then the other.
Then somehow the sadness morphs into joy. It’s the joy of remembering the pleasantness of what it feels like to be in love. The joy of missing my beautiful daughters as they grow and change and lead their own lives. The sweet ache of love reaching across the miles, across oceans and mountains, to hold them in my thoughts when I can’t hold them in my arms. Missing my children. Missing not the object of my own romantic longings (for that ran its inevitable course and left me with the realization that it was better ended) but the expansion of the heart that comes with falling in love.
And finally, I relax into my tears. I don’t encourage them, and I don’t try to stop them. This is why singers sing. It’s why songwriters write. It’s why I write too, to connect through art with someone who feels the human condition the way I do; someone whose heart says “thank you” when she reads my words. We live to be moved. I never want to close myself off to that.
I smile through the tears that end as soon as the song does. But I am changed, connecting and opening to my own tenderness. With gratitude, I welcome the sunshine of a new day.
(Song with lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdBFlRM4vnY)
Time is gonna take my mind and carry it far away where I can fly The depth of life will dim my temptation to live for you
If I were to be alone silence would rock my tears ’cause it’s all about love and I know better
How life is a waving feather
So I put my arms around you around you And I know that I’ll be leaving soon My eyes are on you they’re on you And you see that I can’t stop shaking
No, I won’t step back but I’ll look down to hide from your eyes ’cause what I feel is so sweet and I’m scared that even my own breath Oh could burst it if it were a bubble And I’d better dream if I have to struggle
So I put my arms around you around you And I hope that I will do no wrong My eyes are on you they’re on you And I hope that you won’t hurt me
I’m dancing in the room as if I was in the woods with you No need for anything but music Music’s the reason why I know time still exists Time still exists Time still exists Time still exists
So I just put my arms around you around you And I hope that I will do no wrong My eyes are on you they’re on you And I hope that you won’t hurt me my arms around you they’re around you And I hope that I will do no wrong My eyes are on you they’re on you they’re on you
(Lyrics: EMI music publishing; Paul David/Mc Clusky Humphreys