|What is more powerful than an embrace? |
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
The vals played. I always wonder what makes the vals feel so divine. She snuggled up. A familiar embrace. I felt a difference. We danced. The first song ended. I usually do not talk much between songs, but I asked, "Something is on your mind," I can feel it in your body.
"My good friend died in a car wreck."
"Oh no! I am so sorry to hear that."
"And we were in an argument before she died. . . . I feel terrible . . . . and I wish I could have told her that I loved her before she died. I keep having nightmares about her." She paused and then began to cry.
"Did you know her family?" I asked.
"Yes, very well. We lived near each other. They are like second parents to me."
We danced again. I held her now in a different way. I danced in the simplest way I knew possible and embodied the music. She cried in my arms.
The vals stopped.
"How well do you know her character?"
"She was like a sister."
"Then you know what her character would say to you now, is that right?"
"She would say that she loves me, and to go on with my life."
"Can you do that?"
"I don't know."
We danced again. I held her again, leaving room for her friend's character to speak with her. Her balance was sometimes a bit off, although that never happens with her. I knew she was having a conversation. The music stopped.
"Can you do what you know she is asking you to do -- to love her and go on with your life?"
"I suggest you pray for her parents. It's harder for them than for you, I think."
"I know it is hard for them. But you know I am an atheist."
"Of course I know that. But that is the best prayer. If you ask that God to be with her parents, God will hear your pray perhaps more than anyone who is a believer."
"Because I have an idea that God tires of having so many friends who want his riches and eternal life. God might feel like the rich kid on the block. Everyone loves him because they want something from him. If you don't want these things, I think your prayer goes on top of the pile to be answered. Your friend would like this too."
"Yes, she would."
This time I held her and a certain energy went between us. I cannot explain it. But I have an idea that her prayer had a lot of power that night. No adoration. No riches. No request for eternal life as a special favor for believing in God's holy Awesomeness. Just "be with her parents, God, will you?"
And I said the atheist prayer too: "No special bargains, God. Be with these bereaved parents! Be with my friend! And if you won't be, I will be with them in my heart . . . because this is the way you made me and put room in my heart."
Afterword: Events and details are changed to protect the identity of this person and her grief. I cannot tell you if the parents felt God's presence, but the nightmares stopped.
The miracle is the embrace, the music, and the walk that embodies the music. If these do not lead to peace and the miracle of life, I am not dancing tango. Thich Naht Hanh said it so well. Tangueros and tangueras know of the miracle and joy of life better than many.
This story appears today on Veterans' Day for a special reason. The person who died was a young veteran. The risk of death and serious injury of veterans is 10 times the risk than in a combat zone during the first six months after they return. The price of war is far greater than what the general public knows. And if we did know, I believe we would all be fierce Warriors for Peace.
Happy Veterans' Day.
Photo credit link.