A few nights ago I was at a church in Portland, OR. I prayed about where I should sit before I went, yes I actually did pray about such a thing. I immediately felt as though I should sit on the right hand side of room. So I walked in, made my way to the front right hand side of the sanctuary. Soon after I found my place a father walked in with his daughters.
I smiled as I saw them find their place and join in the singing. One of the girls sat quietly next to her daddy and the other wanted to dance. She was so bouncy. She got up and started twirling in the isles. She then ran into the front of the room, jumping, twirling and laughing as we continued to sing.
I watched her dad. He patiently called her back to her seat and she eventually came. I watched the people around me, watch her. Everyone smiled. Everyone seemed to be enraptured by her freedom.
Dancing for me has always been something I’ve wanted to do, but do not feel free to. Sing, yes. Act, yes. Dance? NO WAY. It is almost as though dancing for me is the very definition of freedom. When I want to know what complete freedom looks like I imagine myself dancing.
Watching this little girl sing, laugh, and dance was a picture of perfect freedom and it was beautiful. No one scowled at her, in fact by the faces of those around me I do believe were people actually drawn into the freedom she possessed. It was powerful.
Watching the dad brought on the inner struggle I think we all face. Do I let them dance? What if they interrupt the service? Is it too much for them to be bouncing up and down in front of everyone? What will everyone think? You could see that struggle in him as he gently would ask his girls to keep their voices down or to invite them to come sit with him. The girls did listen and they sat with their dad quietly through the service, until the music started to pick up at the end. Then it happened and it was good. He told his girls they could dance. The two sisters got up and started to dance in front of everyone. He smiled and watched them with delight. That was also powerful. He gave his girls freedom.
I think we all imagine freedom differently. Many of us ask the same questions I imagine that dad asked himself as he watched his girls dance. Somewhere in life we loose a bit of our freedom to be. How amazing would it be if we were to each imagine what freedom looks like and choose to respond to that image?
Maybe I’ll just have to dance. What will you do?