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¿Y Porque No?

by Tim O'Hearn

“A bailar y amar la vida!
A bailar. ¿Y porque no?
La Pelona bailará también.
No le importará con quién.”
Frida, Migdalia Cruz
“To dance and love life!
To dance—and why not?
Death dances too,
It is not important with whom.”

In the finale of the opera Frida, with music by Robert Xavier Rodriguez, the chorus is celebrating as Frida Kahlo is dying. In the Spanish version, the cast sings the lines above.

Celebrating death is an important part of many cultures. In Mexico, the Day of the Dead allows families to spend the day with the memories of their dear departed. Many people are familiar with the New Orleans jazz funeral, where the band plays solemn hymns on the way to the cemetery, but upbeat jazz in the parade back. Even an occasional Christian group will hold a celebration of life rather than a funeral.

King David followed such a pattern. The child conceived in his adultery with Bathsheba was dying. David spent the days fasting and praying. The servants feared to tell him the child had died, fearing he would fall into an even greater depression. When David realized, however, that the child was dead, he arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. (2 Sam 12:20)

When they asked him why he did this, he had a simple answer. “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Sam 12:23)

The lines from the opera Frida are also appropriate. Death doesn’t care who she dances with. Eventually she will dance with everyone. Some might say that is not a reason to celebrate. If you don’t believe in an afterlife, or if you are not assured of an afterlife in heaven, it is not a reason for feasting. You end this life, and after comes nothing good. Those who trust in Jesus, however, are certain of two things: there will be a resurrection, and there will be a pleasant afterlife. If we weren’t assured of these things, then Paul said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Cor 15:19) We would be mourning now, and there would be no celebration later. After all, Death, she cares not with whom she dances.

The rest of the sentiment expressed is also quite scriptural. Those who follow God should be ready and willing to celebrate in this life. A bailar. ¿Y porque no? And why not? In Ecclesiastes, the preacher (probably Solomon) repeats that “all is vanity.” That is not, however, the ultimate message of the book. Instead, he also says, “a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry.” (Eccl 8:15, with variations in 3:13 and 5:18) Eat and drink, and why not dance and love life! This is the only one you have on this earth, so why not enjoy it? God has given us much to enjoy. Surely it is our responsibility to do so. To dance and love life. And why not?