leaving sanctuary

Nobody cries at a community theater performance.

Which explains why I was unprepared for the tears that left me snuffling and searching for a tissue at the Lakewood Arts Center last night. Our little city is fortunate to be one that appreciates the fine art of balancing the budget without sacrificing music, sculpture, pottery, jewelry and other artistic expressions.  And where better than the almost-foothills for a production of “The Sound of Music.”

Searching for the reason tears were flowing freely, I came to a message I’d missed the dozens of times I’ve seen all or part of this musical before:  that of leaving sanctuary.  Maria leaves the sanctuary of her mountains to enter the convent, and becomes a different person.  She then leaves the sanctuary of convent for the von Trapp home, and becomes a different person. The same thematic occurs twice more–as she returns to the security of the convent to escape the uncertainty of new love, and as she and her family leave the garden where they’ve barely escaped the Nazis. As Mother Superior says and sings so beautifully, when our lives call us beyond the walls of safety, it is a divine beckoning.  We must go.

I seem to be surrounded by family members and friends who are being beckoned to begin, again, in a new place. Divorce, death, relocation and recommitment–the catalysts vary, but the challenge is much the same. Frightening. Questioning. Exciting.

Being a big fan of butterflies, I’ve shared with those closest to me one of those metaphorical facts that helps me make sense of things.  During the metamorphosis, when the inside of the cocoon is pretty much “caterpillar soup,” there are still four constants. They’re called imaginal points, and the new being takes form around them. So what emerges in the sunlight is both old and new.

Only now it can fly.

Photo:  Flickr Creative Commons

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