Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

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Friday, June 2, 2017

It Takes Two

We watched Into the Woods recently at the Los Angeles Ahmanson Theatre. We've seen the Broadway recording and the movie but had never seen it on stage before. The songs are marvelous and the play itself is a fascinating exploration of fables, expectations, aspirations, and disappointments. What seems like a fairy tale with a happy ending soon ends up with confusion in the woods.

And as any person on a journey, whether on the Camino de Santiago or in our daily struggles, we sometimes are lost in woods. And we don't know we're lost. Or we play it safe, stay out of the woods, and never realize that we're not making any progress on our journey, not when we just lock ourselves up, locking up our hearts, shutting out our dreams.

As Pentecost approaches, I think about the Holy Spirit coming alive in each of us, emboldening us, enjoining us. It was God's visit to the disciples, just sitting in their rooms, giving them the ability and the courage to come out and speak truth.

I think it's appropriate that LGBT pride celebrations happen around the time of Pentecost. The protests that sparked these annual celebrations were ignited when the oppressed and maligned, blackmailed and abused drag queens of New York's Greenwich Village finally had enough. And they were inspired to speak out, stir up trouble, make their different stories of oppression in their different voices heard. That's a Pentecostal story to me.

Rev Ed Bacon, the former Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena, sent me an email this morning, as a response to a series of emails, that just said "Holy Ignition! Alleluiah!". And I thought, "that's a Pentecostal message!"

I think of the Holy Spirit igniting each one of us to see past our fears, our hurts, our ills. The Spirit challenges us in times of deepest, darkest trials. By ourselves, we cannot do it. We cannot change. And though we hear the message of Christ, though we hear the message of justice, is that enough to get us out of our places of comfort? Or our places of pain? Or our places of self-satisfaction?

No, it takes two. We need the Holy Spirit to help us follow Christ, and She's there if we want Her. I think the Holy Spirit's breath is a powerful but quiet force. We can't hear it unless we are open to hear Her.

And when we do listen, we can invite Her into our hearts. We can live together, move together, breathe together.

And in those dark woods, I think we discover what God made us to be.

I realized during my morning contemplations that a song from Into the Woods reminds me of what's possible when we're lost or weak or scared or hurting. So I sang it with the idea of the Holy Spirit descending into each of us.

You've changed
You're daring
You're different in the woods
More sure
More sharing
You're getting us through the woods
If you could see
You're not the man who started
And much more open-hearted
Than I knew
You to be

It takes two
I thought one was enough
It's not true
It takes two of us
You came through
When the journey was rough
It took you
It took two of us
It takes care
It takes patience and fear and despair
To change
Though you swear
To change
Who can tell if you do
It takes two

You've changed
You're thriving
There's something about the woods
Not just
You're blossoming in the woods
At home, I'd fear
We'd stay the same forever
And then out here
You're passionate

It takes one
To begin, but then once you've begun
It takes two of you
It's no fun
But what needs to be done
You can do
When there's two of you
If I dare
It's because I'm becoming
Aware of us
As a pair of us
Each accepting a share
Of what's there

We've changed
We're strangers
I'm meeting you in the woods
Who minds
What dangers
I know we'll get past the woods
And once we're past
Let's hope the changes last
Beyond woods
Beyond witches and slippers and hoods
Just the two of us
Beyond lies
Safe at home with our beautiful prize
Just the few of us
It takes trust
It takes just
A bit more
And we're done
We want four
We had none
We've got three
We need one
It takes two

It Takes Two
Into The Woods
Stephen Sondheim

I sang these words and I recognize how I'm different in the woods.

But it takes two.

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