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Sharing the Stage

One of my favorite writers, Mark Nepo, introduces readers to the late dancer Pina Bausch. The visionary dancer and choreographer was devoted to love and truth. Nepo describes one of Pina’s seminal dances, Café Muller (1978), which centers on a café. Nepo describes the stage: a simple setting of tables, chairs and doors. As the story moves, a small woman dressed in white enters the café. Two more women appear, one of whom is blind. They hesitate to step further, as the tables and chairs obstruct their way. Two men appear, committed to removing these barriers. Eventually, the blind woman and one of the men stand face to face.


Nepo says that piece holds the central challenge and gift of being human together. It reveals the never-ending tangle between those in need and those who need to help others make their way, and how we take turns. Both positions are equal and necessary.



When I was a stay-at-home mom, I was often called upon by other working moms to help with school drop-off, and after-school pickups. Sometimes I would provide snacks, or last-minute rides. One of my sisters wondered if I was being a "doormat", often doing things for people, who might be taking advantage of me. I never saw it this way. After my divorce, I returned to work. It was then that I timidly reached out to other moms for favors, including rides or after-school supervision for my kids. EVERY SINGLE person, to whom I reached out, was there for me. I will never forget that sense of reassurance and community support.


We are dancers on the same stage. And in need, we alternate roles. Today, it may be your turn to lift another; tomorrow it may be you, who is in need of a helping hand.

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