I’ve never had great rhythm, which is very Baptist of me I know.
But it’s also pretty frustrating, since I would love to be able to dance.
My mother is a great dancer; she’s got natural rhythm and grace.
Me, notsomuch. I mostly flail, with music in the background.
I toss my arms and my legs about, with deliberate force but unreliable speed.
Simply put, I spazz.
And it is neither graceful nor cute. (At least after the age of five.)
In junior high band I was decent at tapping my shoe with the percussion line. But if the director threw in one too many eighth notes, things started getting sloppy.
I never did master the perfect rhythm it takes to meet a set mid-air for a glorious spike either. Hence me ending my volleyball career much earlier than I would have liked.
And in spite of being included in the sixth-grade drill team (which was like a twisted consolation prize for those who didn’t make the cheerleading squad – there was so very little velvet for my pudgy butt to squeeze into) I never could, nor can I now, command a dance floor.
It only makes sense then, that when I get one too many things juggling in the air, or when I bite off a bit more than I can chew (like gum while walking), that I start to feel frazzled.
And frazzled is of course code for FREAKED OUT.
My instinct is to panic when I feel overwhelmed.
I'm like a giraffe learning to walk on a halfway frozen pond.
My legs give out under me, and I find myself on my butt.
Cold. Discouraged. Tired. Sore from so many falters.
I am not one to be graceful under pressure.
I’m lucky if I’m mostly able to keep on my feet.
And I wish I was one of those girls that could handle all things with grace, like Audrey Hepburn’s doe-eyed characters clamoring their way through dance moves and laughable predicaments.
I wish I could have perfect hair, and not miss a beat at work while still managing to keep an immaculate house and hot, home cooked meals on a candlelit dinner table each night.
But, I’m not Audrey Hepburn, or a character in a movie. Or a ‘50’s housewife. Or a classically-trained dancer (like my mom).
I'm the spazzy young girl in a sequined leotard, with the unsure smile. The one that only ever learned one real tap move.
And I’m that sixth-grader holding a clarinet, confidently tapping my toe along with the beat, until a change of pace comes along and throws me totally off track.
I’m that awkward girl in the back of the drill team, uncomfortably squished into spandex, hoping no one notices all my many missteps.
I'm a spazz. A mess. Lacking in gracefulness.
But not lacking in grace.
'Cause thank God there is enough of that to go around.
Unlike dance moves, and rhythm, it is not in short supply.
It is abundant, and encompassing.
And it covers all the bruises from my falls.
I was never good at looking ahead in the music, to see what shifts and changes were lying in wait on each coming page.
But even if I had mastered the art of reading sheet music, life’s steps aren’t so clearly laid out.
I don’t think there’s a no note by note, play by play, guide for how to get through this life, though many people have tried to tell me there is.
They offer expensive self-help books. Or point me to highlighted passages in their Bible’s. As if the words in Genesis should be treated like something printed from GoogleMaps.
Turn right here. In .03 miles take a left.
That’s a nice notion. And it’d sure be handy. But I don’t think we were meant to see every step coming down the road.
That doesn't sound much like faith to me.
I think faith is more like accepting an invitation to dance
to a song you don’t know
than it's like taking cues from your car’s GPS.
I think it’s about trusting your partner to show you the way, one step at a time.
About trusting He won’t let you fall, or look like too much of a fool.
It is easier to face the tough parts of life trusting that God is there for you, and walking, swaying, with you through whatever you face.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Or uncomplicated. Or that it comes naturally to all who believe.
Some people (like me!) struggle, taking steps of faith.
Some people (like me!) struggle trying to dance that rhythm of grace.
Some people (like me!) spazz and freak and fall, a lot.
But that doesn't mean God isn't good. Or real.
And it doesn't mean the dance isn't worth it.
Lately I’ve been fumbling even more than I’m used to. I’m missing notes, and missing steps. And it's tempting to give up altogether, as out of sync as I feel.
But I’m also learning. And growing. Painfully slowly.
Through trying. And failing. And trying again.
I’m living, in and out of rhythm. Missing steps here and there.
But continuing in this dance all the same.
Thankful for a God who doesn’t disregard me 'cause I'm sometimes disgraceful, or insist I master all the moves before inviting me into the dance.
And thankful for people on this same journey, that know what it is to foul up royally.
People that extend grace themselves, as they learn the moves.
As we learn a new rhythm.