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A Five Part Lenten Reflection
Part 4: The Celebration of the Leapers
By Dick Donnenwirth

During the moments of the leap my mind flashed back over the past. This I understand is a common human experience. I was happy to be human to this extent at least. If you detect a note of bitterness, you are right. The immediately past experiences of disenchantment continued to have their effect even as my mind raced back to the other images of security, of love, and of warmth. The house of religion seemed so long ago now, that just memory traces were left. The power of personal spirit, though, supported me in my present leap. Then there was the house with the crazy, swinging walls in tune with vibrations of human life. A fleeting smile crossed my mouth as I thought of those I had known and left. The smile turned wry as the recent encounters with the cruelly articulate children, the dead lion, the ripped net, and the no-mind land flashed into view. But no time for that now. I was leaping a leap of unassured trust and faith. The only feeling I had was that I would be alone no more.

As I touched down, my sensation was that my feet were dancing. I was not dancing alone, but in relation to another leaper. We danced toward and away from each other in an ancient rhythm symbolic of many things. The feeling was one of acceptance and concern. Even at a distance there was the mutual knowledge that our own individual danced belonged tother. I paused for a moment to look back from whence I'd come with one who helped me understand. Then the dance went on. Other leapers and dancers were present. In fact, while I had formerly thought of dances of deep emotion taking place in secluded forest glens, this was not the case. Rather, there was a hustle and bustle around that spoke of the urban. The dancing was done, in part, on hot pavement. Others beside myself felt the presence of a familiar stranger among us. He moved among the dancers with authority and compassion. He was called by many names. I had come to know his as the Lord of the Dance. At this point, I was aware that the first celebration of the leapers was in progress. It was the Celebration of the Dance.

Someone suggested eating. I replied, "I'll go for that." Again, in my mind, I pictured a feast of friends in a shade valley with beautiful pastoral scenes to behold. Surprisingly, instead we were in a cafeteria-type place in which everyone was not known. I wondered to myself if this could really be a Celebration of the Feast as I had been told it was to be. Then I saw one who had no money get his food paid for by another who had money. I saw the talking and joking among those gathered around at small tables. I found I was on my feet beckoning one to join our table and making a place for him. The fellowship, the nurturing sustenance, and the helpfulness and caring for others made me realize that the Celebration of the Feast was not confined to a particular time or place.

There was a general movement out of this structure and we were in the street again. The buildings towered overhead. The city was strangely quiet. Then came the people. They came by tens and twenties. They came by hundreds and thousands. Some came dancing and leaping. Some came walking or crawling. Some hobbled on crutches. Others were pushed in wheelchairs and on surgical carts. Some sang. Some whistled. Some hummed. Some beat time in the air. Again the rhythm of the dance--the music of humanity was there. Then came the wind. It roared like a tornado. It caressed like a breath. Some of the people were afraid of it and ran, but found no place to hide. Others understood and simply inhaled. We were participating in nothing less than the Celebration of Life itself. We gave thanks. And the wind blew.

(June 1968)





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