My husband and I were asked to give a talk at a neighboring Alanon meeting last evening. We’d given talks before separately, but never together. There was no time to prepare and I knew there wouldn’t be when I accepted the invitation. But I knew to say yes to this opportunity, a privilege likely to result in a blessing
We decided to divide the presentation into three phrases, and each speak extemporaneously, to each phase. The first was our introduction to addiction, particularly alcoholism, which for each of us occurred at very different times in our lives. The second phase would focus on our early experiences in twelve-step work, and the third with what has happened since we joined Alanon several years ago.
There were the words, and when we think of speeches we think of words. But the words move into the background of my memory of the evening because my awareness was of the spaces in between. It started when Rich and I were seated beside each other looking out onto the thirty or so people in the audience with the moderator seated beside him. I became aware of the molecules of air between us and then between all the figures in the room. It was like we were all floating in a sacred container of silence, the space between the words. I thought of the poem, “Marriage,” by Gibran. “Let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.” http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/marriage
When the moderator opened the floor to the audience members to respond, I noticed the silence in between the statements that people made. It was like people needed time to come up from the depths of where they were, to collect their thoughts and say them out loud.
A friend who was present in the room told me later that Rich and I together made an impression much stronger than what we made alone. That confirmed what I felt in my own body and relates to what I’ve known for a long time, 1 + 1 equals way more than 2. Looking back, I didn’t say all that I might have said. I didn’t say it in the most articulate way that perhaps I could have. But it was what it was, and I relax into knowing that another message was being delivered, this one beyond words.
It seems a paradox – the more separate we are, the more connected we became. The more connected we became, the more separate we are. Like other lines from the same poem – “Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
I would wish for all my relationships to be like this, with my husband and adult child, my grandchildren and my friends, connected through the spaces in what we call in InterPlay, “a sneaky deep way.”