I loved to dance. Ballet and other dance alone type dancing, but my favorite has always been ballroom dancing with someone who was light on their feet, and smooth, with subtle but good leading cues that let you just trust and follow. Frankly, through many many high school and college dances, there were only one or two people that lived up to that. And though I was never in love with them, dancing with them was like entering a different level of existence. It was like being one person simply flowing with music.
My husband of fifty-five years is a loving, kind, wonderful husband, but he is not a dancer.
We were dating seriously my junior year in college when I was elected to represent Rice at the May Festival at Baylor University. This involved the difficult intellectual achievement of wearing a formal gown and walking onto a stage and sitting with all the representatives from other colleges while some sort of presentations were made to students at Baylor. But a really big name band was scheduled to play right after this, so I was excited about it. Thinking I would get to bring my own escort, I selfishly invited one of the better dancers I knew. Needless to say, this was not a kind thing to do to my husband to be.
Of course I did not get away with this, since Baylor informed me I would be escorted by one of their football players. The football player turned out to be just that, a football player. He thought he was God’s gift to women, never having a clue that he was God’s lesson to this woman. But the really cruel part was that as a Baptist College, Baylor only allowed us to sit in an auditorium and listen to the famous dance band.
I know without a doubt that I married the right man, even though evenings spent where there has been a dance band have brought about a bit of toe tapping frustration over the years.
One night in my early thirties when we were out with a group at a club with a band, a stranger at a near-by table suddenly came over and asked me to dance. I glanced sideways at my husband and good sport that he is, he nodded cheerfully.
That young man and I never said another word to each other except “thanks ” at the end of the dance. I have only a vague memory of what he looked like, but I can shut my eyes and still relive the dancing. It was one of those moments in time when my inner self and my outside self and the world were in sync. It was sensual, but not sexual. There was an amazing sense of oneness, but not intimacy. Almost fifty years later, good music can bring that memory back whole. I’m realistic enough not to romanticise it. I probably would not have even liked the dancer, but I have always treasured the experience.
The other day, while praying about my difficulty in staying in sync with God in my life, it hit me why dancing like that is such a magical, mystical experience. It’s a symbol, an infinitesimal taste of oneness with God and the universe that we unconsciously desire.
Lord, help me hear the music of your dance and trust enough to follow.