In the last few years, one of the ways I have been able to make sense of my illness is through writing and art. Chadash has been an integral part of that. Kelly and I began working on our third concert last fall, and I was able to write the spoken word elements and record my parts before my most recent surgery in March. Our stories, which reflect the challenges and hopes inherent in the human condition, always connect to our own individual journeys, and our upcoming concert is no exception.
Yesterday, I wrote a description of a section of the concert that will have its world premier at the Presenting Denver Dance Festival in June. Kelly and I have talked before about how this piece has particular resonance for us because it really is our story, the story of our sisterhood. A few years ago I was privileged to be part of a group of four women of faith (we even called ourselves Soul Sisters). Now, I spend my days journaling through self reflective texts on wholehearted living with Amy Louise and creating art that imitates life with Kelly. Rereading the description, I realized that this dance expresses a most important truth about how Kelly and I, and Amy and I, support and encourage one another as we negotiate the inevitable challenges we all must face in life. The description reads:
“We live in a world in which we stand in the ashes of the barn burned down. Each of us knows a different kind of suffering, a unique brand of loss, an individual grief. Perhaps we have known the grave weight of depression, the choking grasp of anxiety, the fear of debilitating illness or even the brutal terror of suicidal thinking. One way or another, we all struggle in our universal quest to find solace and meaning—to live in hope in the midst of our suffering. Chadash tells stories, and “Reaching For Hope: A Mountain of We” is the story of a sisterhood. It tells a tale of discovery: if we are willing to risk by showing up, if we are willing to be vulnerable with one another, there is no mountain we cannot climb. Together, taking hold of the courage we need to face the darkness, we are able to discover the infinite power of the light. We are able to stand in the ashes of the barn burned down and point to the moon, to hope. We are able to live a wholehearted life.”
To live in hope in the midst of our suffering. To live a wholehearted life. I am so grateful to be a part of a sisterhood of seekers of hope and significance in this life. It is a needful gift.