Dancing With My Father
He suggested I dance. After meeting with my new spiritual director, he said I mentioned the word “struggle” thirteen times in my conversation with him. So instead of struggling to follow the Lord’s will for me, he suggested that I dance.
I have to admit, the vision was lovely. I pictured graceful dancers, beautifully attired, gliding across the floor. That didn’t seem like a struggle at all. In fact, the vision is beautiful, rhythmic and flowing. Okay, I will try to dance.
I left our meeting encouraged at the thought.
As the idea of dancing settled into my soul, my mind grabbed hold and started to analyze. Thank you God for this great mind you gave me, truly a gift from You, my intelligence has been a blessing in my life. It also works non-stop, my mind constantly analyzing. And so I began to analyze how to dance with the Lord.
As I began to embrace the dance, the beautiful vision again entered my mind. Wait a minute, those beautiful, rhythmic movements are the result of knowing the steps, of years of practice and athletic ability. I looked up dance in Wikipedia and found this helpful information:
“Every dance, no matter what style, has something in common. It not only involves flexibility and body movement, but also physics. If the proper physics are not taken into consideration, injuries may occur.”
Great. Flexibility, yeah, I need more of that, a lot more. Body movement, okay I move, but I am not the most coordinated person out there. Physics? I can embrace physics. Injuries may occur? I clearly am not ready to dance.
At this point, I believe it was the Holy Spirit that interrupted me as my mind said, “Wait a minute? Have you managed to turn dancing with the Lord into a struggle?”
Hmmm. Okay. Breathe. I am pretty certain this is not what my spiritual director had in mind. So let’s just spend some more time in meditation.
The next morning hope was renewed as God had spoken to me and said, “I will lead the dance, you just follow.” I smiled at the thought. This was Fat Tuesday.
That night we went to a Mardi Gras celebration with friends at a local restaurant. As the Dixie band played, a young couple entered the dance floor. Man, could they dance! Every movement was synchronized as they seemingly effortlessly jumped, kicked, twirled and danced to the music. They were beautiful. They were joyous! I loved this new vision of dance and the sheer happiness of this dance. Allison, my four year old, ran out onto the dance floor. She began to watch their movements and mimic theirs. And when she tired of mimicking their dance moves, she care freely danced as she felt to the music. Sometimes she simply skipped around the dance floor in circles. The entire restaurant was charmed by these young dancers and by little Allison. Their joy was contagious. Oh, to have faith like a child and joyously dance!
Ash Wednesday. Uhmm, Heavenly Father. You know how you said you would lead the dance and I will follow? Well, have you seen me dance? I am not good at following. I step on feet. I push when I should pull and I go the wrong way a lot. I have a great desire to be a good follower. I am just sorry to tell you that I really am not good at it. I stand here before you afraid that I am going to fail. Afraid that as much as I desire to follow your lead, I am not good at it. Father, I want to dance with you, I am just not sure I can.
That morning before Mass, I wrote a blog. Usually my blog ends with a connection of the story to our faith. I had the words of the story. I didn’t have the end, the connection. I just had a strong desire to write the words. So I thought, maybe this story doesn’t need the connection. And I headed out the door to Mass.
Sitting in Mass, as soon as Father began to speak, it was the connection to the words I had written only minutes before. My morning story now had its ending. This was the second time I wrote my blog entry, to have the connection finished later at Mass. Writing this right now, I can see God was trying to show me that I could follow his lead. At the time, I completely missed this connection.
At the time, I thought to myself, I am trying to write and get my story finished. I have deadlines. I am trying to dance with you Lord, and appreciate that You gave me the end of story, but we are waltzing here and I want to salsa. Let’s pick up the pace a little, will ya? Maybe I am not so good at following His lead.
It is two days before my next meeting with my spiritual director. This will be my second meeting. Will he ask how the dancing is going? How will I answer? I had better read my Bible and spend some time in meditation.
As I am spending my time in silence today, my dancing journey flashes in my mind. Why am I still struggling Lord? I want to dance, I really do. What do I need to do?
And the answer comes to me that make the tears roll down my face. “My child, stand on my feet and hold onto my hands. You do not need to know the steps. You do not need to be coordinated. You need not worry about following my lead. Just hold on, and we will dance.”
I can picture a toddler Allison, standing on her Papa’s feet, holding on to his hands as he danced her around our living room. I can see her smiling face looking over to me, as if to say, “See Granma, see, I am dancing.”
Lord, I am so humbled and so grateful that You would dance with me. So grateful that you have been patient with me. So grateful that You allow me to come to You as a child and You extend your hands and your feet to me. I absolutely accept this dance with You.
“See, see World, I am dancing!”