In Autumn of 2012, I walked into a local shop and purchased my ticket for hell. Actually, I just got a tattoo. I had grown up around the belief that marking myself in such a way would discount all the work of Christ in one painful art session. The decision to get a tattoo, then, was no impulsive act.
Rather, I had prayed and ached over whether I should mark myself, and if so, what I should have imprinted into my skin. For me, it had to have significance, meaning. The words came at the end of a Story Workshop led by The Allender Center in Seattle, Washington. For four days I lived in a hostel shared with strangers and spent time immersed with another group of strangers on a guided tour through my story. The result? A tattoo that reads, “What if I should dance.”
At the final workshop session, we were invited to dance in celebration of God’s story that engulfs our own. It was a fun, folksy, group dance. Instead, I left the room and enjoyed the hallway alone. Flashback. Picture a 7-year-old, fiery redhead in the kitchen with a wooden spoon for a mic, dancing to the Beach Boys’ rendition of Surfin’ USA. Now picture a weary mom who needed the dishes done. The scene didn’t end well. I vowed to never dance again. And I haven’t, at least not in that way.
As I began to mourn my brokenness in this story, I saw it couched in my dear mother’s brokenness, nestled in her dear mother’s brokenness, and so on. A twinkle began to twitter inside, a distant spark that wanted to tango, waltz, jive, anything.
I still haven’t managed to dance according to the traditional definition, but the tattoo on my forearm reminds me that I can dance in more ways than one. How do you dance? The music begins and I take to the floor when I write; when I linger at a coffee shop with a friend; when I crouch on the ground taking photos; when I crawl up a steep embankment while hiking. I dance when I teach and speak; when I laugh with my children.
How do you dance? Maybe its just a quick shuffle of the feet, but I know you dance. Do you sing? Do you garden? Do you work with children? Run? Read? Paint? Feel the sunrise? Fix a car? All of these are forms of dance.
Sorry, I have to go now…two, three, four, and a one, two…. I’d love for you to comment below and tell me how you dance!