O Lord, Help Us Dance With Selflessness And Grace!
It came back to me again this week. In speaking with a friend about her troubled marriage I was reminded of the allegory of the dance in describing healthy relationships. I originally discovered this concept in the beautiful book GIFT FROM THE SEA by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. My heart is leaping once again at the deliciousness of sharing this insight with YOU!
A good relationship has a pattern like a dance and is built on some of the same rules. The partners do not need to hold on tightly, because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but gay and swift and free, like a country dance of Mozart’s. To touch heavily would be to arrest the pattern and freeze the movement, to check the endlessly changing beauty of its unfolding. There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging arm, the heavy hand; only the barest touch in passing. Now arm in arm, now face to face, now back to back- it does not matter which. Because they know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it.
The joy of such a pattern is not only the joy of creation and the joy of participation, it is also the joy of living in the moment. Lightness of touch and living in the moment are intertwined. One cannot dance well unless one is completely in time with the music, not leaning back to the last step or pressing forward to the next one, but poised directly on the present step as it comes. Perfect poise on the beat is what gives good dancing its sense of ease, of timelessness, of the eternal. It is what Blake was speaking of when he wrote:
He who bends to himself a joy
Doth the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.
The dancers who are perfectly in time never destroy “the winged life” in each other or in themselves.
But how does one learn this technique of the dance? Why is it so difficult? What makes us hesitate and stumble? It is fear, I think, that makes one cling nostalgically to the last moment or clutch greedily toward the next. Fear destroys “the winged life.” But how to exorcise it? It can only be exorcised by its opposite, love. When the heart is flooded with love there is no room in it for fear, for doubt, for hesitation. And it is this lack of fear that makes for the dance. When each partner loves so completely that he has forgotten to ask himself whether or not he is loved in return; when he only knows that he loves and is moving to its music-then, and then only, are two people able to dance perfectly in tune to the same rhythm.
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing… O Lord, I will give you thanks forever!
Psalm 30:11&12 (NLT)