Monday, July 12, 2010
in the eyes of the other
Wednesday before heading out to Kolet, I sat in our little chapel for a little conversation with the most creative of creators and said I was open to whatever creations needed collaborations. The idea of Theater of the Gospel came to us after performing a little skit one Sunday in one of the services. Out of all the people who attended, maybe 5 knew how to read and in other posts where we go for Sunday services less. People thirst to know more about the man they know as their God, Jesus. With many not accustomed to sit in a classroom and listen attentively for an hour or two straight, services and mass consist more of singing and praying what rout memorization has taught them. Thus, theater of the Gospel began.
We read the stories of the gospel, the Good Samaratine, Martha and Mary, but to all who were gathered they were unknown. Seeing the stories slowly being understood and then coming to life in them with bliss and curiosity moves me. A liberation occurs and I witness it. They go from repeating and mimicing to making the story their own, and discussing what the parable means in their own reality. I think this is what was intended with the Gospel. For the parables to be shared and embraced with the reality of those listening, allowing it to be genuine "good news."
In each place before going into the reading I started off with an excercise where each one of us chooses a partner, introduces him/herself and locks eyes with the other. Words, gestures, nor movement are needed. This excercise challenges participants no matter what culture, but some face a greater challenge than others. Haiti is one of those cultures. The education system for numerous years taught students not to look into the teachers eyes, other systems in the country encouraged the same behavior. We rotated partners after approximately a minute. Within that minute though miracles and mysteries occur. While locking eyes with another without intention to convey anything love occurs. I'm not sure if it is because we enter into the depths of the other, or because we see ourselves in the other, perhaps we see the whole world in the other.
I start this excercise by paraphrasing Jesus, "what you do to the other, you do to me," the eyes you stare into are the eyes of God.
In Kolet two men and one woman held back tears while we fixed eyes, in Akadyn a man and a woman did the same, and a child could not hold back hers. Oh the depths of our eyes. Gazing into one man's eyes I was overwhelmed with beauty. Beauty was before me, looking straight at me and I at Beauty. I gazed and saw Pain, I gazed in another and saw Jesus, I gazed in a wrinkled man and saw a child, I gazed and saw the world, I gazed and saw all Divine.