It happened the first time I went to see the stage version of “Les Miserables.” As soon as the last note began to fade, I sprang to my feet, and began clapping as hard and loud as I could. Everyone around me did the same. It felt as though time stopped; as though boundaries faded; as though we were in a space set apart from anything else in the world for just those few moments.
It happened again when I saw Jacoby Ellsbury round third base toward home – stealing every base around the diamond after leaving first base on a hit from . . . I can’t remember who. What was he doing? How did he do it? What amazing, almost-never-in-a-lifetime event had I just witnessed? Again – to my feet, and clapping until I was exhausted.
It happened recently at the theater where we have been rehearsing “Little Shop of Horrors.” We are putting the pieces together – lines, songs, dances, scenes – beginning to flesh out the story; but also, coming to learn more and more about the actors on stage. Who are they? What story inside them is being told through their character? How are they coming to know each other – as their characters and as themselves? What is happening in those moments where we – the production team – break into spontaneous applause because we have witnessed something that brought us out of ourselves, beyond whatever we have offered in our direction, and taken us to a moment in time that is beneath and beyond words?
For me, these are G-d moments. Or you might say sacred moments. They are so because, in those moments when I can’t stop myself from physically responding to what I have just experienced, I have forgotten myself. My ego which is so active and loud so much of the time; my ego which often directs me to respond in a way that serves me and not Love; my ego which wants so much to direct the focus my way . . . in these ovation moments, my ego is silent and seemingly absent. Something so much more than me, so much stronger than me, so much more powerful than me has moved in. That ‘so much more’ is, for me, an experience of oneness, of connection, of utter joy, of possibility and potential, of yes-ness.
Part of what is so vital about this experience of ovation is that I don’t know when it will happen. And I can’t make it happen. It depends in part, I think, upon a singular focus that is fueled by longings in the hearts of the viewers. And it comes, I think, because in a particular time and space, the energy of Love and possibility has free reign. At that moment, joy is the only thing anyone knows.
I pray for more ovation joy to fill the world. We need it.