The saying is that time goes by fast when you’re having fun, and I’ve been reminded of that here lately. Believe it or not, it’s been six months since I first started this blog. Seems longer than that in some respects. I feel like I’ve known some of you for a lot longer than that. But it sometimes seems so much shorter than that, too.
I’ve posted 159 blog entries since then, which I figure amounts to two or three books (a good thing to keep in mind if my other two don’t get taken soon.) In honor of making it this far, I’ve decided to give myself what amounts to a little vacation. So this week’s theme is going to be Family Favorites, courtesy of my wife and children, who took the time to go through all of my posts, pick the three they like best, and offer a little polishing.
Since a lot of you are new to these parts, chances are what you’ll read this week won’t be reruns. And for those who’ve managed to stick with me from the beginning, I hope these will still move you as much as they did the first time around.
Regardless, please know that each of you make my day, every day. I love you stopping here and sharing your own wisdom, and I love visiting your blogs. Here’s to six more months (at least!!).
Here I am, huddled together with four other men in a corner of an elementary school gym. We are all in the same predicament, though we are all too insecure to admit it. So we talk sports and trucks and the year’s corn crop and anything else with masculine connotations, if only to take our minds off where we are:
A ballet recital.
My six-year-old, Molly, has been taking ballet lessons for six weeks now. And as tonight is the final performance, the culmination of all that study and work, my presence is required. Thankfully, other fathers of other six-year-olds have been similarly persuaded. I have company. Company is a good thing to have when you’re where you’d rather not be.
Within our conversation of the new Fords and the dry spell, I watch Molly. She twirls and steps and trips and repeats. And she laughs.
(“I love the dance, Daddy,” she has told me often. “I think God loves the dance, too.”)
Another twirl and step, but two trips this time. Molly turns, looks at my wife, and wiggles a finger–come here, Mommy. The two meet in the middle of the basketball court, and I know what’s wrong. I excuse myself from the group and join them.
“My sugar’s messy,” Molly says. We retreat to the stands for her glucometer. Her diabetes doctor says that her sugar should be between one hundred and one-fifty. After a prick of a finger, the readout says “389.”
“We should go home,” I say.
“We can’t,” my daughter pleads. “It’s not over.” She looks back to her teacher and her classmates, still struggling through their routine. “God wants us all to dance until the dance is done.”
Both look to me. I have the final decision. Yes, we should go. Go and get a bottle of water and a blanket and climb up on the sofa and rest. But according to Molly, God wanted her to dance. And who am I to argue with God?
Molly returns to her group, but I remain apart from mine. I am stand alone and watch, lost in this little girl, in her spirit and her joy. She dances in spite of her disease. With her disease.
Our evening is over with one final bow, and upon leaving we are confronted in the parking lot by a sea of red and blue lights across the street. Sometime between the first foutette and the last pirouette, a horrible accident had occurred. A mangled white car, it’s top shorn, lay upside down in the median. Police, firemen, and rescue personnel scramble in choreographed chaos. A medical helicopter waits, blades churning, an angel of metal and wires, death and life.
My family stands silent.
“God bless the wrecked people,” murmurs my son. We all join him, holding hands.
My wife and I exchange a glance when our eyes open. Our town is small, the identity of the injured likely an acquaintance. Coming from the school, perhaps. Football practice. A child? One of my wife’s students?”
How can I live with this fear?” I whisper to God.
“How can I bask in Your light while standing in this shadow?”
The helicopter blades swoosh.
“How must life be lived
(“God wants us to dance until the dance is done,” Molly had said. “Because God loves the dance.”)
in the face of death?”
I look at my daughter, safe in the crook of my arm. She rests her head on my shoulder.
The suddenness of life presses into me. To be a parent or a spouse is to have your fears magnified. You have much, and so you have much to lose. So fragile is our existence in this world, so easily taken and taken for granted.
Yes, God loves the dance. And so should we. We should hear the music in this life, surrender to its rhythms. We should make its cadence our own. And we should always dance until the dance is done.