A tale from last week’s Rumi performance:
Patrick (my co-presenter, the musical counter-point to words) and I reach the love poetry section, a bouquet of short pieces. Turning to him I begin, “I would love to kiss you.” A bearded guy in the second row calls out, “We’d love to see it!” The whole room guffaws.
Rumi supplies the come-back in his next line, “The price of kissing is your life.” It hits me anew, “The price of kissing is your life, ” I repeat. Bearded guy nods his head and grunts an acknowledgement. Being dissolved in love is dangerous business. Do we really want to see that? It’s an embarrassing painful mess as well as sublime pleasure. I see the face of my beloved, stripped of pretense, asking the most difficult questions. Our life together is a crucible of purification as we pay the price of kissing.
Breathe. Turn to Patrick who also knows what it is to be dissolved in love, whose beloved sits in the front row. Finish the poem:I would love to kiss you. The price of kissing is your life. Now my loving is running toward my life shouting, What a bargain, let’s buy it!
What a bargain for purification. Thanks Rumi. Thanks beloved.