My Dear “Kindred Spirit,”
This is a sequel/follow up to a post (“Who are we dancing for?”) that my brother wrote on his blog.
Nah, that’s a lie. This isn’t a sequel or follow up. It’s a complete rip off of his idea.
But that’s ok. He got the idea while he was on the phone with me, so I’m claiming it as being half my idea. He never would have thought of it if he hadn’t had that conversation with me.
Therefore, I can totally get away with nearly re-writing his post, only with my own personal twist on it.
So I’ve been in this room all my life. Dancing. (If you haven’t caught on yet, this isn’t a *real* story. It’s an allegory. If you don’t know what an allegory is, Google it).
There’s a man in the room. I’m dancing for this man. All my life I’ve been dancing for this man. I don’t know where I learned it, but I’ve come to understand that he likes watching me dance, and so I dance.
I don’t really know much about this man, because I’m too scared to take a good look at him. What I have seen out of the corner of my eye when I do glance at him tends to increase my intimidation of him. He’s big and strong. Handsome, and, as Mary Poppins would say: “Practically perfect in every way.”
As powerful as he looks to me, I’m sure he could hurt me badly if I displeased him.
Like I said, I really don’t know much about him. I don’t look at or focus much on him. Instead, I focus on not displeasing him. I concentrate all my effort on my dancing, because I think that pleases him. Occasionally – only when I’m dancing very well – I’ll venture a glance his way, and find him smiling at me. So I try to always dance beautifully so that he’ll be happy with me and smile and not get angry.
That has been my life for as long as I can remember.
Some days are good. Days when I dance well, and I’m pretty sure he’s happy with me. Those are the days I’ll dare to glance at him and find him smiling. Sometimes he seems about to say something to me, so I look away quick because I’m afraid he might say something to ruin my day.
He might start telling me everything I’m doing wrong. Or remind me of my bad days and punish me for them. I figure it’s better to just not know what he thinks of me.
And of course there are the other days, too. Bad days. Days when I stumble. Or bump up against a table or chair.
I’ve sprained my ankles multiple times. I don’t ever mention it, I just keep dancing through the pain. I’ve bruised and cut myself. I’ve danced when I was black and blue from knocking into something, and I’ve danced with blood dripping from a gash I gave myself when I scraped up against the sharp corner of a coffee table.
I never look at him when those things happen. He’d be angry with me, I’m sure of it. Someone as handsome, graceful and perfect as he is must absolutely loathe my clumsiness. In fact, I’m surprised he hasn’t hit or punished me yet for my mis-steps and stumbles.
Sometimes I’ve almost considered the idea that maybe he puts furniture and things in the way just so I will bump into them and it’ll teach me a lesson or something. I don’t know, though… and that’s just such a horrible thing to consider, so I’ve never thought on it for long.
I’ve been dancing, though. And I’ve been focused very hard on my dancing. I’ve been trying to not make a mistake. I’ve been trying to not make this man angry with me.
But then eventually it happened. It was bound to someday.
I fell HARD.
I was already sore and scratched up, terrified because I had stumbled the day before, and that’s when it happened. I tripped over something I KNEW was there, and I fell flat on my face.
I lay there trembling, waiting for the wrath of this man to descend on me. I didn’t even attempt to get up. I just laid there, waiting for the anger and the blows, inwardly cursing myself:
“You KNEW that footstool was there! Why did you dance so close to it!? You knew better, but you did it anyway, and now you’re gonna get your punishment for sure!”
Suddenly strong arms encircled me and gathered me up in a close embrace.
“Sweetheart, are you ok?? That fall must have hurt!”
I must be dreaming, I thought, as I struggled to see who was holding me. It couldn’t be the man I’d been dancing for, could it?? I thought he was going to beat me! What was he doing??
I got a good look into the man’s face, and sure enough. It was the same person I’d been dancing for all these years. Up close, I realized for the first time that he had a very kind face. He did look tired and aged, as though he had been through a lot of pain in his life. There was definitely a look of concern, too, but for the most part it was a very kind, patient face that was looking back into mine.
The shock of it all loosened my tongue, and I immediately started babbling:
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! I knew better, I saw the footstool there and knew I should avoid it because I might trip over it and then you’d be mad at me and I knew I shouldn’t go near it but I did anyway and then I did trip and now… I’m sorry! I know I deserve to be punished and…” my voice trailed off.
“Sweetheart!” The voice was tender and broken, and as I glanced up into his eyes, I was shocked to see that they were filled with tears.
“My darling, I LOVE you!”
His voice was filled with emotion.
“I don’t CARE that you tripped and fell! I hate to see you hurting, but it doesn’t make me angry! Don’t you know that I watch you dance because of YOU, not the dancing? You’re the most precious thing I’ve ever set my eyes on, and nothing you do or don’t do could make me love you less! No mistake or misstep could make me not love you and watching you dance!”
I wasn’t sure I could believe my ears. Who was this man? Why had I been so terrified of him??
He went on:
“I know you’ve been scared of me. I’ve been trying so long to show you how much I love you! I wanted you to stop being so scared and trying so hard and just get to know me! To know who I really am. I love watching you dance, but I don’t want you dancing out of fear. I’d rather you didn’t dance if you’re doing it because you’re afraid of me. Just rest in my love for awhile, honey. Once you get to know me, you can dance for me if you want to. But learn first who I am, so you’re not afraid! Now come, my dear. Let me tend to your wounds.”
What can I say?
How does one describe just what a life changing experience falling flat on my face turned out to be?
Now, I’m not saying there weren’t some rough days for me. Like I said, when I fell, I fell HARD. I’m still healing. In some ways, I will never be the same. I can never go back to dancing the way I used to.
But, you know what?? I don’t want to go back to dancing that way! I don’t want to go back to being terrified of my man. My husband, my maker, my LORD. I don’t want to go back to cowering in fear of the person who loves me more than anyone else ever has or ever will.
I wish I had had the courage to look into his face and really get to know him long before I did. It might have saved me the pain of that fall.
But, hard way or easy way, the point is that now I DO know him. And I love him.
He’s such a different man than I thought he was. I thought he was watching my every step, just waiting for me to make a mistake so he could scold and punish me.
He’s not! He’s just watching me because he loves to see me. And when I make mistakes, he’s there to pick me up, soothe my wounds, hold me in his arms, and whisper words of love and encouragement in my ear.
I’m still dancing for him. I never want to stop now! And it’s such a different dance than it was before!
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still make mistakes. Copious amounts of them. I am by no means the most wonderful dancer in the world (except maybe in his eyes). But now my heart is in my dancing.
I’m not dancing because I’m afraid I’ll be punished if I don’t. I’m not dancing for some stranger who is just waiting for me to make a mistake so he can pounce.
I’m dancing for the love of my life. For my savior. My hero. My Lord and God. My loving husband.
I’m dancing passionately for the man I love with all my heart.
And that, my friend, makes all the difference in the world.
P.S. True story!