July 21, 2011
The Dances of Love
I'm a dancer.
I always have been.
Since the time before I could place one foot in front of the other in the balancing act that is walking, I danced. My mother said so, and I believe her. That tiny toddler, gripping the side of the coffee table, swayed to the music that permeated her senses, her very being. I didn't have a choice and I didn't know why. As I grew, I danced. I danced in my yard, I danced in my room. I danced with myself and made my friends dance with me, too. I danced alone with abandon in the front room of my growing-up home with music up as loud as was safe for the speakers. I danced 'til I was breathless and dripping with sweat. I danced in high school and danced in college. I've danced on the beach and danced for an audience. I've danced in many a dance circle and in the arms of many different partners. I dream of dance and dance in my dreams. I dance when I walk, when I talk, when I write. Because, you see, I'm a dancer.
Not surprisingly, I understand and perceive everything in my life in terms of a dance. There is the dance of relationship and the dance of industry. There is the dance of work and the dance of education. Everything is a dance; moving to and fro, the energy and the sound coursing through the veins of the very thing that lives, forcing it to come together, move apart and come together again. And everything has a heart that keeps the beat necessary for the dancers to continue. The rhythm of the dance. The dance of life.
So, when it comes to thinking about love and all it entails, I see it as a dance. Well, several different dances, really. For a dancer, or a musician, there is a soundtrack; a constant movement of sound, threads of emotion, that plays in the background of the mind. This soundtrack sets the scene for each love, each dance. There are many stages set for the dances of love and many different dances of this complicated emotion that we are commanded to dance. Yes, definitely commanded. And we all must dance the dance of love, so says the Creator.
Come dance with the dancer, the dances of love. Dance with those in your community, love them with compassion and care. Grab the hand of one who is downcast or forgotten. Wrap your arms around the needy and unwanted. Run and jump and laugh with them to make them feel important and beautiful, just as a child. Show them the steps and take them with you as you tap out the turns and flourishes of the blessings of belonging and serving. And pull those wallflowers into the circle with you as you all enjoy the life and rhythm of community.
Then dance with your friends, draw them closer to you as the music get more complex, more meaningful. Love is a dance that everyone wants to know and share. Take note of how each friend moves and responds to the tempo and orchestration of groupings of specific souls for specific reasons. Come along side of them and sync yourself with their movements - the joy of dancing side by side in harmony is a pleasure that is almost indescribable. Revel in the different parts danced out by various members of your circle of dancers - appreciate their interpretation of the dance of love, embrace the differences, try on their nuances. Compliment each other with your individual styles and ideas. Dance this dance with enjoyment, as the love of friendship is often misunderstood but it doesn't have to be. Love your friends with abandon. Dance with them often...this dance is needed more than most will admit, I fear.
We all dance with our family. This is a dance that can be all the emotions of the lamenting violin and the melancholy mandolin alongside the bright and calling trumpet and the happy vocal notes of the soprano. Dance the various changes in rhythm with perseverance, my fellow dancers - the family dance of love is complicated and sometimes painful. With so much potential for beauty and peace, oftentimes it is shot through with hurt and secrets. I don't know that we have much choice in the dance of trying to love our family, but I suggest we all give it our best effort. The best dance we have, the best love we can offer considering history and circumstances. The theme of the dance for family is honor and respect - dancer, you must dance with skill and wisdom, always adding the much needed moves of love and forgiveness.
Most popular of all is the dance of romance, of intimacy. This romantic dance is a quiet, private and stunningly beautiful dance reserved for that soul who most desires to dance with you. Touching at all points, together as one, the couple moves slowly and purposefully towards a crescendo of passion and love. The intimate dance of lovers is resplendent and desired - dance this dance with awe and wonder, with the utmost care and protection...and don't ever take it for granted, for this dance may or may not last forever. Treasure this dance for as long as you have it, my friends. But beware of placing too much emphasis on this intimate dance of love, for the other dances are just as important and needed. Perhaps this dance of love is easiest of all, however it will not satisfy all that dancers need, unfortunately, as everyone needs all the different dances of love to be complete and mature.
But, perhaps the most mysterious of life’s dances is the dance of faith. For some, this dance starts early in life, but for others it remains undiscovered until later along their way. When the music starts, the unseen but all-knowing partner leads as we follow with unseeing eyes. We feel the movement within our very being and hear the sway of the rhythm, hoping that our next step is smooth, pleasing and right. Defined by this dance, we snuggle close and treasure the whispers of affirmation and direction as child-like hands cling to the Master, and little feet stand on those of a strong and confident Father that is patient and sure of every step needed to execute the dance to perfection. We dance and we breathe, we grow and we love…and we truly live because of this most mysterious and comforting dance of belief.
Yes, life is a grand dance, a ballroom filled with beautiful souls and energy to be tasted and experienced. The potential of love swings and swirls around us, beckoning us to step out, embrace each other and synchronize our steps with those closest to us on the dance floor. Come dance the dance of love with me, my fellow dancers...dance life's dance, the dances of love.
I am a dancer.
I always have been.
And a dancer I will always be.