Tuesday, August 9, 2011

...and it is here that I dance!

Perhaps you're wondering
at the title of this blog...

Honestly, I am, too! I didn't choose it... truly, it chose me.

I've been pondering this title for going on four years now. Even as I typed it onto my header it was with the thought that I would change it when I conceived of something 'better'.

When the words first popped into my head I latched onto the obvious... Mark R. Littleton's* version of Footprints in the Sand. It's always felt especially apt to me, and I suspect most people can relate to the analogy.

For most of my life I've been more little girl than grown woman running, skipping, marching, and plodding along beside God... sometimes my hand firmly clasped in His loving grasp - content, safe, obedient... often running ahead, testing my independence - impatient, exuberant, passionate, reckless... occasionally sulkily, or obstinately, dragging my feet behind... yet, always certain and trusting in the One walking faithfully with me. Many, many, many times I was lovingly cradled in the protective arms which carried me - frightened, lost, exhausted, broken, bleeding, crippled - until I regained enough strength to once again choose my own steps. I've even had fleeting periods of time when I'd manage to carefully place my feet into the steps before me... sometimes they even almost matched, with little discernable difference between the two. Yet, there seems to be more to it.

As I've pondered these four years, the idea of dance has taken on an ever greater significance in my life. And, while I've never been encouraged in any way (my self-conscious clumsiness is a family joke) I've realized that I am a dancer at heart. I feel it rise up in me when my husband takes me in his arms. I feel the glow of it stir me to movement as I watch my darling daughter express herself through dance... her body telling the stories of my own heart. I feel the passion of it burn in my heart and my imagination as I religiously sit through every episode of 'So You Think You Can Dance' in two countries. I occasionally daydream about dance classes of my own. I actively seek opportunities to allow my spirit to dance, even if I haven't yet found a place for my body to do so.

...And here's where I begin to see a deeper significance.

I moved into my 40's with a certain confidence in my faith, and in my relationship with God. I felt like I had finally figured some things out, and I had achieved a certain degree of fluidity in my life, even perhaps a gracefulness... a predictability. I felt Jesus as less a companion and friend, and more an integrated part of me. I felt secure in who I was, and in my place in my world.

Shortly thereafter, that sense of security began to change... my life became messier, yet made more sense... less predictable, yet more dependable... less certain, yet more faithful... less graceful, yet more blessed. I felt more joyous. I felt a greater sense of freedom. I became aware of a certain abandon and grace in my steps... and in my missteps. I had the sense God and I were, in fact, dancing... and every step was on holy ground.

I started to write to understand my experience, and the dance intensified... as did my sense of the holy. So I wrote and pondered some more....

Have you ever watched long-married couples dance? How they move as one? How they don't worry about where their feet are? How they seem unaware of how they look? How they seem unaware of whether or not anyone is watching? How they don't seem aware of anything but delight in each other's company, and the joy of the dance?

I want to live my life within the rhythm of the music of God's love. I want to dance my life to the music my faith, and with my God, the way long-married couples dance... you can't tell who is leading, and you don't care, you simply marvel at the beauty and grace of it, and you want to dance like that, too... and so, whether or not I can comprehend it fully, it is here that I will dance.

...And to God be the glory!

Tell me, how do you dance with your God?

...until the next dance!

* Footprints in the Sand 
from Escaping the Time Crunch
Mark R. Littleton
© 1990
Moody Press,Chicago

Footprints in the Sand History Lesson
(I found this is interesting... )

From The Secret Message of Jesus by Brian McLaren:
''The universe was created to be an expression and extension of the dance of God - so all creatures share in the dynamic joy of movement, love, vitality, harmony, and celebration. Electrons, protons, and neutrons - light, gravity, and motion - galaxies, suns, and planets - water, snow, ice, and vapour - winter, spring, summer, and fall - plants and animals, male and female - nations, tribes, clans, families, and individuals - art, sport, business, government, science, agriculture - every facet of creation had a role in the dance. But we humans broke with the dance. We stomped on the toes of the other dancers, ignored the rhythm, rejected the grace, and generally made a mess of things. But God sent Jesus into the world to model for us a way of living in rhythm of God's music of love, and ever since, people have been attracted to the beauty of his steps and have begun rejoining the dance."

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