How to Know You're Doing Things That Matter
The proprietors opened up the ropes for her. They let that little girl (aged eighty-plus years) passed the rope barrier to see an unforgettable room in an important home. To her, for over seventy years it had only existed on Memory Lane.
She was in a room in a plantation house located in Williamson County, Kentucky. Her daughter had done almost fifty pages of research to get her there. They had found a will, a witness, a lease, combed ancestor charts that went back as far as the part of the family that were immigrants of England during the revolution and even to the signers of the Magna Carta.
Okay now, bear with me for a very little bit because this story is actually about YOU.
The background I mentioned is part of my husband’s family tree and a portion of a story that his mother's Cousin Beverly shared during one of the latest family reunions. Today I am reminded of Beverly's story that she tearfully relayed and put a lump in every throat in the room.
We were whisked back to that old plantation house and shared her mother's excitement as she walked into a place that had been one of her best memories. My husband's grandmother was one of the younger of eight sisters. The oldest they simply called "Sis."
That afternoon we all mentally followed the story as the plantation proprietor unhooked the ropes so then-eighty-two-year-old Sis could step into the room where she used to watch her parents, her family and their friends entertain.
She entered a room with several mirrors. We imagined them entertaining many guests many times with her family ... until she lost her father (and her home) in a rotten confrontation over land. To this day, the details remain clandestine.
But for this moment ... she smiled … and she danced … between the mirrors … alone. She danced to remember, maybe even danced to forget … we’ll never know, but what we do know is that ...
... she danced.
I imagine this kind of dance a cross between prayer and meditation, don’t you? Sis was walking through the clouds, flying among the stars, gliding on the moon and experiencing the pure bliss of heaven on earth in all that existed in her memories. To her, that dance was about moments recalled and imagination brought to life. I can see her arms maybe outstretched like a child, twirling and dancing and smiling while her daughter watched her old body glide across the room to another world, another lifetime.
I sat and listened to her daughter retell this moment and I considered how her “dancing” can be the ultimate spiritual experience.
Maybe she WAS thanking Him. I do not know … but what I do know is that I certainly have a lot to thank Him for too ... a lot to “dance” about … don’t you? And I wonder … how do YOU dance between the mirrors?
I can hear the possible responses of, "What do you MEAN, Fann??" "How on earth does this have to do with your husband's grandmother's sister??" "And what in the world does this have to do with ME?" "What does this means about how am I to live?"
Here is what I think: God in His purest form can reveal Himself through YOUR expression of Him. YOU can become an instrument AND a minister when you communicate the nakedness of your soul. YOU can project the power of your spiritual self. And, whether it be in memory or in madness, the dance of your life allows you to connect with Him and REFLECT Him, and that transcends even living where you are ... or who you are. If you have the heart of an artist, it may be simpler to dance physically, but you are also reflecting Him whether you are an electrical engineer, a math teacher, a babysitter, or plumber.
You've definitely got something to give. And in that, focus on what matters.
"You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you. GOD, my God, I can’t thank you enough."
What makes a person important?
Helen Keller said, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." She would know! Life is meditation; it is in each moment. If you’ve read my thoughts before, you’ll know I believe that seizing the day provides health. And the meditation of “dance,” no matter the medium, is holy. And THAT is how you make yourself important to others. ;-)
So ... dance! Are you a mom? Are you a secretary? Do you make cakes or work in a nursing home? If you are dancing through life, and I mean seizing you precious precious moments ... that, my friend, THAT is the ultimate therapy. And an incredible expression of the God who is in you. Focus on what really matters in life.
Ruth St. Denis said that we could hear the silent voice of the universe within our hearts. But YOU know that voice comes from the One who MADE that universe and created you too … and He also made you capable of that real He-truly-means-something-to-you spiritual dance. One of my all-time favourite authors, Frederick Buechner said, "Listen to your life. ALL moments are key moments." Right? ALL. Sis and her daughter experienced a key moment that day.
So my simple question for YOU today is … ARE you dancing?
The kind of dance I'm talking about ... well, it just may be the only skill you'll ever really need.