Friday, May 8, 2009

May I Have This Dance?

When it comes to dance, I have two left feet. It’s as though the musical talent and rhythm God blessed me with stops at my fingers on the piano keyboard. I can tap out cadence with my feet, my hands are able to shake and beat rhythm with instruments, but my legs, when united in dance, stubbornly refuse to work together. This phenomenon could be attributed to one of two things: a short in a synapse somewhere between my brain and feet, or my self-conscious inhibitions prevent me from freely expressing myself. Either way, I look like a clumsy and timid mouse on the dance floor and so avoid it as much as possible.

Even though I fail to impress on the dance floor, I delight in watching others who have been blessed with obedient legs and feet. I watch in awe as they gracefully move every part of their body in unison to the music. I must admit I don’t understand some contemporary forms of dance; the meaning or necessity of certain movements and the idea that some styles must be infused with offensive sexuality. But, I marvel that there are people capable of expressing their emotions in this art form. I envy their ability to give themselves over to complete abandon and cast all doubt and self-consciousness to the wind.

I believe dance is inbred in mankind. All social castes and ethnic groups have
their own form of it. The Japanese with their slow and methodical movements; the Hawaiian who speaks with her hands as she gently sways back and forth; the indigenous tribes recounting daring feats of bravery. Each dance tells a story about certain aspects of the peoples’ heredity and history. Although some dance is rooted in paganism and superstition, it is also clear that God delights in dance when its intended purpose is to honor and glorify Him. King David, stripped down to a loincloth, unabashedly danced before the Ark of the Covenant as it was returned to the Holy City of Jerusalem (2Samuel 6:14). God surely must have been pleased as He watched His chosen one express his joy in such a way and worship Him with such fervor.

Even creation reveals an ability to dance before its Creator. Flowers and heads of grain sway in dance on their tender stalks. Leaves turn on the trees in anticipation of heavenly rain. Insects rise and twirl in the warm rays of the morning sun and pollen dances in sunlight’s beam. The waves dance upon the crown of the sea and the fish below it pirouette in glimmering rondes. I watch each year with great delight as the pelicans, who have taken up residence on our local reservoir, take their fledglings to the heavens. Their bodies, clumsy and burdensome on land, perform the most beautiful of ballets in the azure sky. And when evening drapes the earth in darkness, fireflies dance like tiny stars in the twilight. From the smallest and least to the largest and greatest of creation, dance is employed to worship its Creator.

But the most obvious proof that dance is inherent in man is found in our children. The moment a baby finds the courage to stand to lofty heights, his feet find rhythm. I have witnessed this time and time again and it never fails to awe and amaze me how natural it appears. The day after my father was laid to rest, my baby-filled family was gathered in my mother’s living room. Although we were still raw with sorrow over our loss, joy also filled the room as we recalled how Dad was finally at rest with his Lord. My sister and I had compiled a CD of his favorite music and I placed it in Mom’s stereo. No sooner did the music begin to fill the room, the toddlers began to dance with complete abandon, just as King David did before the Ark. Like moths to flame, their hopping and skipping about drew the adults into a circle where we joined them, hand-in-hand, as we celebrated Dad’s life.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”. (Ecc 3:1,4) I have no doubt that God looked down with great pleasure upon Dad’s and His children as we moved and sang in worship and adoration. The timing was just right. He restored our souls and reminded us of His faithfulness, His love, and His unfailing promise to always be with us. We were freed once again by the simple act of a child’s response to the music in his heart and his feet moving in unison to the beat of God’s own.

I look forward to the day when I am at last in God’s presence and can dance with
the freedom and lack of inhibitions that children display. Although I am unable to do so now, there will be a time when my Saviour will approach me and ask, “May I have this dance?” And there will be nothing that will be able to stop my legs and feet from joining His as He gracefully waltzes me through the pearly gates into the brilliance of His eternal city. Until then, I will be content with my lack of dancing ability and reserve my delight in watching others do it, for one day I will be able to say, “You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give You thanks forever.” (Ps 30:11-12)


Mom said...

Another beautiful tribute to the Lord. Your fingers do what your toes refuse to do,they provide the music for the dance.

Becky said...

I will never forget that day after Papa died when we all listened to the music and danced together. It was so beautiful to feel joy at that moment in the middle of all the sadness and I felt so close to our family. I really think that moment was a gift to us from God. I've been missing Papa so much lately.

Thank you for this beautiful post. I love to dance, so I really related to this topic.

Mama Mimi (Dana) said...

This was really a beautiful tribute to our Lord. I also look forward to the day that I can leap and dance with wreckless abandon in worship of my Lord and Savior.