In 2014 I took a giant leap and committed to living and learning in Florence Italy. It was there the Lord taught me what it means to truly revere the heavenly. Every corner and every detail was so exquisite that it called me higher, particularly the churches and sacred art works.
During one of my many small trips to Rome, I was taken aback when entering the church that housed the work of Bernini, the Ecstasy of St Teresa. Though many people were inside the church, silence filled the space. Looking up I became mesmerized by gold and such beautiful designs and colors; Not one space was left bare. My heart seemed to skip a beat at the sight to behold. In the front of the chapel stood the world renowned masterpiece and there I froze at it’s footstool. Words cannot fully describes it’s impact, though I have seen it many times in photos. It was if my soul was magnificently pained with the effects of profound beauty that stood before me. What great expression and deep meaning communicated through a piece of marble. Teresa’s face showed a purity, an awe, a sense of being raputured up to the hight of joy. A joy that I too yearn to experiance, that which all of our hearts long most for whether we realize it or not. This fabulous art work, which spoke of a great mystery, is purposefully placed in the house of God to proclaim something to all who enter. The romance, peace, ecstatic joy, deepest depth, and highest hight witnessed on the expression of St Teresa is what we too are created to know. Furthermore, just as this saint entered into such a state, it is offered to us through a relationship with the King of Kings who was and is present in that very chapel.
This moment, along with many throughout my time in Europe, transformed my heart and character. The effects of exquisite beauty called me to a deep deep reverence. I understood more fully why we must bow, because, we, unworthily, are literally entering into the Kings home and standing before His thrown. As physical beings, we need physical objects and tangible experiences to help us understand this truth and thus to enter into true praise and awe before the King of Kings.
Days neared to the end of my two years in Italy, and I wanted to savor every minute of it. Fear overtook me, as I was sad to leave this place of tangible wonder. I didn’t want to lose all that was shared with me. I have seen it before, forgotten moments, unmet dreams, endless searching. It is all too easy to slip back into societal norms, norms that keep us from the very life we crave for most. When time was almost up I was asked to choreograph a dance work on the hills of Florence and I decided to use it to share what I have learned. This short dance titled, Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart), speaks of Christ as Lover, Friend, and King. He is both crowned in the finest jewels of glory and enters into the most intimate spaces of our hearts. When we begin to grasp Who He is more fully, what will our response be? How will we stand before the Lord? In this dance work I aim, though fall short, at giving my King and Lover a proper response to all that He is in Glory and Majesty through all that I am, vulnerable, little, and unworthy.