Hold Me Close, Tiny Dancer

My dance partners never moved me around the floor. I’m sitting here thinking about it. My dance partners didn’t push me into the form I should take, or mechanically make sure I moved from position to position.

They didn’t follow me around the floor, either. When I tried to lead while they were leading, we became a bumble of toes and elbows.

Neither did they sit back, call out the choreography, and watch me twirl alone in circles.

They led.

They held me close, and they moved. When their body moved, swayed, spun, even dipped, I moved to fill the space beside them. Each changing direction, each new move, was signaled by tiny gentle gestures. A hand folding differently, a step sliding long, perhaps some weight shifting in another direction, and I responded almost instinctively. I learned technique. I practiced. I learned proper form. I utilized trial and error and the patience of a partner. I practiced each new skill to make it as entrenched as I could, but when the music swelled, I felt and I followed.

And there’s a growth arc to it. Spiritually speaking, these last few years I’ve been trying to learn the waltz, the tango, or even east coast swing, alone and without music. I’ve listened to coaches shouting from sidelines how to follow where there is no lead. I’ve been learning how to mechanically go through the motions with a ghost partner. Sometimes, I bet I’ve given the illusion of having a partner.

Spiritually speaking, I’ve treated the knowledge and execution of specific moves to be indistinguishable from the dance… with or without a partner. How grotesque that must look from the outside to anyone who loves dancing.

I say all of this to reinforce to myself what I once understood in simplicity:

Dancing isn’t a marching order.

Dancing means staying close enough to your partner you feel his lead through your whole being. It is listening with all of you, and responding in like form. The cues are gentle. The flow is natural, graceful, joyous, even passionate.
We dance because we love.

And there are a lot of great moves in our repertoire, but that doesn’t mean I have to do the same ones every time. I just need to hold Him close, sway as He sways, and rest when He rests.

He is a good lead.

“Abide in my love.”
John 15:9

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