Saturday night was spent with family and friends at a little place called Sims Barbecue which provides an all-you-can-eat buffet and a night of great bluegrass music complete with plenty of dancing space. In between the band sessions, they play a few line dances and the ubiqitous Chicken Dance for the children. Although, from my experience it seems that the adults enjoy the Chicken Dance way more than the children do. They may say they are only out there showing the little ‘uns how it’s done, but I think that secretly they are just glad to have them for cover and as an excuse to look crazy.
I am not and have never been much of a dancer. As a child, I quit dance lessons after one class. It may have been because I saw pictures of other little girls in tutus and decided to get out before anyone decided to wrangle one of those things on me. I shudder now, thinking how close I came to maybe wearing one of those things. Subsequently, throughout my pre-teen and teen years I was exposed to short term dancing lessons in various forms. I learned a little clogging and some square dancing moves along the way. In my early twenties I danced a few line dances at times when out with friends. However, by and large if there was a dance floor involved I was usually hugging the sidelines, not unhappily, watching other people dance.
When it comes to rhythm, I can spell it a hundred times better and with much more fluidity than I can produce it. Tending to the shy and introverted spectrum of human nature, I just find it difficult to free myself up to move around without constantly worrying about looking like an idiot. I know I shouldn’t care about how I look because those on the sidelines watching probably are in the same boat I am and would empathize with me, and those on the dance floor are too busy enjoying themselves to care what kind of moves I have (or more truthfully, don’t have).
So, I was shocked at point to find myself out on the dance floor at one point dancing with a very pleasant and polite, unknown to me, older gentleman. The band had struck up a waltz and I had pushed mom and dad out on the floor, knowing they can (and often do) dance together. When first asked by the gentleman to dance I politely declined saying I wasn’t much of a dancer. But, for some reason as soon as I said it, I felt like that was the wrong answer. Even more, I felt like that was not the answer God wanted me to give. So, I relented and told the man, if he would lead the way and show me what to do I would try it.
Was it a disaster? Yes and No. Yes, because I kept missing steps, especially when I would try to talk while I danced. I’m just glad I wasn’t trying to chew a piece of gum as well, who knows what would have happened then. No, because what did it matter that I kept missing steps? I didn’t hear anyone booing me off the dance floor. I didn’t hear anyone saying you aren’t good enough to be out here. I didn’t see anyone laughing and pointing at me. Even if they had been, I was too focused on the task at hand to notice. What I did hear is the voice of an experienced, older, wiser dancer calmly say “it’s okay”. What I did see was his smile when he said it. What I did feel was him gently taking the lead and helping me find my steps again.
Thank goodness I do not have to see a replay of that dance, because I know I would cringe. I know it was far from pretty and graceful. But it was fun and it was enjoyable. And most important, I was reminded that I don’t have to be perfect at something to take part in it. I don’t even have to be as good as those around me. All I have to do is take a step off the sidelines and onto the dance floor and give it a whirl. Life isn’t always pretty and graceful. And my attempts to live out my Christian faith are not always pretty and graceful and I often get out of step. Fortunately for me though, God is holding my hand and leading the dance. If I focus hard enough on the task at hand I can ignore the naysayers and see and hear and feel only Him. Smiling, saying “it’s okay,” and gently leading me back into the rhythm that He wants me to follow.