It goes entirely different than I expect. A couple hundred seminarians crafting stellar song at the hands of a master, yes. I, however, am stunned to be sitting on the floor weeping. Baba doesn't let me miss him - whenever I have an inkling to, he shows he is closer than ever. Today, though is suddenly not like that. I weep at the palpability of his presence in the space and at the enormity of his absence, all heightened by the immense love he has poured into this particular gathering for so many years. I weep as if the tears coming through me are his, joy and pain of being beyond this. I feel his hand all over the largest ever incoming class, moving the pieces with even greater ease from the next plane. My eyes become a river as the honorary doctorate is awarded and don't stop til there's a break in the schedule and I get big-hugged.
I sit outside as the next part of the program begins, playing hooky with some of my Sufi fam, hearing tales of summertime trauma and healing. I love up on a dear sibling who needs it.
I head inside again just in time to hear Dr. Barnwell's teaching "Call & response means you can only be a stranger for a minute." This the first of a cascade of wisdom that I do my best to scribe.
When we sing to Yemanja, the river from my eyes becomes an ocean. My scarf veils my face. The tears are not mine and crying them continually is my only option.
Eventually the song breaks to delicious food and sweet sun and I rest in the raw of my cried-out body.
What next: Stay and sing spirituals with She whose voice moves mountains, is a mountain? Go and get held? I am so soft inside, being put back together seems wiser than opening any more, so I choose door number 2. Except it doesn't open! I step outside with the intention to leave, and fall into conversation with those Baba would have wanted / wants me to make direct connection with. One who forgave me yesterday (part 8) offers me a big hug. I embrace my workshop-leading friend (part 7) as he rides by dropping off another dervish. Best of all, from yet another magic being: Do I know where they can get ahold of menstrual blood for an annointing ritual?
By the time I make it home, it's all I can do to lay on the floor and let sleep take me. I wake an hour later to a text asking if I'm coming to her bday party. My close people know not to expect me at social gatherings - it's not my thing - and she doesn't, but she's listening to my newest album en route there and pings me just in case.
Still in my commitment to synchronicity and celebration, plus the person I left my corset with'll be there, I pull myself off the floor and fifteen minutes later I'm at an ancestor-themed party - multigenerations of friends dress in clothes of their lineage and bring foods of their people's. I field requests to be included in this FB telenovela. It doesn't really work like that, but there are abounding worthy moments amidst cuddles on the oversized couch, including a conversation about monogomy as an unexpected new trend, and a coming out to each other as some semblance of "normal." Wanted by some in the room includes salaries, homes, tight abs, who knew?
Most worthy of chronicle is the love and the timelessness, amidst raucous laughter and gentle holding. This cycle is for me a call and response. The day call of song and weep and deepest listening. The night response of ridiculous and touch and weave across space and time. In that space where call dances with response, the stranger indeed erases herself. I show up in community, despite its edge for me. I am charioted home to sleep and wake to receive a sisters' dream of Baba & me and boundaries and reverence and the deliciousness with which they dance. The new day starts with that call. I hold the note long and listen for response.