THE DANCE AND THE HEADACHE –
An Intergenerational Experience
Why the headache? It had been a good day with my, formerly, genuine “flower-child,” daughter. Talk had seemed to be taking us down a new rose-strewn path, but began to take a more familiar direction, and we found ourselves back on old ground, waltzing around, each trying to explain to the other where we were, how we got there … and why each was still in the preferable place to be.
Only this time, after years of waltzing around on each other’s toes, each seemed to be struggling to stay off the toes of the other, taking steps true to our own natures, and yet keep the dance going. No minor task for a genuine 1960’s “flower-child,” now giving herself by vocation to serve the world so painful to her generation … and an aging pastoral-care professional, now thankful for her generation’s contribution, while still explaining the validity of the ground upon which he still stands.
This dance needs so much to be danced!…
the alternate leading and followingt of it, the concern for one another’s toes, the joy of give and take between lives which could never make sense apart from their influence upon one another. But looking back, I wonder: might not the head-ache a-building be an essential part of it? Whoever heard of ANYTHING getting born from the dance between our differences without some kind of pain in the birthing process?!
In this case the one is so keenly attuned to and involved in the frustrations of a world in the turmoil of transition from one age to the next. The other is in a retirement process, where the need is permission to allow the temporal to recede and begin to be replaced by the eternal; the one rightly attending to the needs and the call of the “outer” world, the other rightly attending to the pull of the “inner” world. And the “dance” together of those two worlds–the alternate leading and following of the dancers–may be the only way the new can ever come into being from the dying of the old. But, then, CAN or CANNOT the dance continue without the headache. Perhaps it can’t !
Could the discomfort be in the process for a purpose … the old “no pain, no gain” thing? Could it be that the ache for and with one-another is our participation in the “lamaze-like” birthing of whatever is struggling into being at our point in history … and the great learning is how intimately every part of creation is connected to every other part.
The dance, then, would be what is all important: the alternate leading and following, advance and retreat, touching and not touching, the swaying to the music which is within you as well as that which is around you, the continual intimacy of drawing the other into the dance while honoring the other’s person and the other’s gifts, the giving and receiving to and from one another, all in the same moment in the dance, the celebration of the dance as the reason we are here … ULTIMATE TRUST IN THE DANCE as the continuing process of Creation … even when it hurts?
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