Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So you think you can dance

We've become full-on fans of a TV show this summer:  So You Think You Can Dance.  It's a dance competition with real dancers who've auditioned, have a specific dance style they've either spent years learning or years perfecting alone.  And these dancers are really, really good.  Kids with real talent, choregraphers expert in different genres teaching these dancers a new dance in a short period of time.  Judges who are passionate not only about this program but about the community this show is creating, the elevation of their art to something larger than it's ever been.

And we're hooked on it.  TiVoing it each week, in case we aren't available to watch it right on time.  Last Thursday, I was in the dead zone of Whidbey and missed which dancers had gotten cut that week.  I'd planned to call SK Friday morning, but when my friends got there, we discovered we're all addicts of SYTYCD.  An animated discussion of the show, the dancers ensued, making me laugh.  Last year this show felt like a guilty pleasure, this year, it feels like one simple, good thing we're participating in.

See, I love the human body. I love that it can be the best instrument to honor God, please others, through dance, or music or playing a sport. Even though my own is weak enough that I'd like to trade it in on a newer model at times, I still love what God did when He created man and woman. Gave strength and agility and flexibility to some so that, when they merge those gifts with their own hard work, the result is brilliant.  Awe-inspiring!  Whether it's on a court, a field, or a stage, the body as an instrument--of dance or of sport--is compelling to me.  Given straight from the breath of God, and perfecting it through long, hard work, these athletes (and yes, dancers such as these are definitely athletes!) turn a craft, an ability into art.  And is compelling to watch.

I took ballet as a child--many years of it, actually.  But my wooden steps, my inflexibility, my weakness was merely a shadow of real dancers.  I didn't practice it enough, wasn't passionate about it.  The same is true about my piano playing.  I hated practicing, was too impatient to do my five-finger exercises.  So you know what?  I can read music, but can't get my hands to follow.  So the music I play falls short, is full of mis-fingering, missed notes, and bears little resemblance to the music I read on the staffs. 

The reality is that He gives us much in His creation of us.  Talents, gifts, strengths all meant to do something with.  I will never be a dancer (especially now when I can barely walk), but I can cheer from the sidelines, let that movement, those steps, that joy flood me into praise.  And my poorly-trained hands can make a joyful noise unto the Lord.  And I can watch what others do--far better than me--and praise God for their gifts, for their jumps and spins and incredible timing.  Give Him my pleasure that there is dance, and music, and sport. 

And...offer my own five-fingered exercises to Him as well. I definitely do NOT think I can dance, but He has gifted me--as He does each of us--with such things as He pleases, such things that are meant to be offered back to Him. For me, it's writing, praying, reading, trusting, communing with others, writing devotionals, teaching at times.  All given purposely.  For the joy of them for me, the honor of them for Him. 

Maybe someday, when the time is fulfilled, I actually will dance.  Like David dancing before the ark, maybe I'll throw out my arms, throw off my earthly clothes, and dance, dance, dance in God's honor!  A new body, dancing the oldest dance there is--the dance of worship of our God.

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