right – left – rock step. right – left –
It happened on the rock step:
Do you know the Gospel?”
Hot dog, I know this one!
Why, yes, I do! It’s wonderful!”
My incredible enthusiasm was followed up with what I interpreted to be an expectant silence. Clearly I needed to demonstrate my knowledge of the Gospel because maybe he didn’t believe me. Summoning all mental power and physical coordination, I briefly explained the Gospel in between side stepping other couples and short interruptions of spins. I made sure to breath in correct time so I wouldn’t abruptly croak out the word “died” or another similarly severe word.
My dance partner chuckled,
No, no. I meant the dance move…”
In that precise moment it registered in my brain that this guy was, in fact, not referring to Jesus. My posture stiffened; I stood as if a beacon of blush red embarrassment. Ha-ha fantastic, Alexis. I tried to take the obvious misunderstanding in stride and brace for whatever may follow because people are pretty unpredictable. Especially people you have never met before.
…but, yes I agree with you. It is wonderful.”
Breathing a great exhale of relief I felt my shoulders resume their natural position not nearly touching my ear lobes. We exchanged a smile and continued the step.
As the music concluded and the dance finished with a grandiose dip, I began the standard “thank yous & nice to meet yous” only to be interrupted by him pointedly looking me in the eye and offering a sincere, raw and unfiltered word of encouragement. The kind that simultaneously causes you to take a step back and skip a breath. Or the kind that you do not forget because it is the kind you write about over a year later.
Ultimately, that night I learned the Gospel: the dance move. A move I promptly forgot minutes later. Actually, I think this guy must have made it up because I cannot even seem to find it on the interwebs. Eh, minor details, right? I only felt slightly embarrassed realizing I had so quickly assumed my lead was referring to the Gospel: as in the Bible. As I reflect on the experience, I can conclude a few things:
- I have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I am grateful to this lead because of how natural it was to talk about the grace of God and to beam like a brilliant fool knowing the both of us are deeply beloved.
- The encounter demonstrates it really can be that simple to connect with people and to share the love of Jesus.
It comes down to using our gifts fully. Perhaps this swing dancing lead hasthe gift of truly seeing people and of encouragement. When he used his gift, I got all these warm fuzzies which was great. His words caused me to think about the people of the world that I care deeply for as well as challenge me in how I can care in more relevant and actionable ways. Furthermore, I would be lying if I failed to mention how it was a confidence boost. For me, it is vital people know they are valued, important and, ultimately, loved. This lead showed me love in a relevant (and very non creepy) way. What would it look like if everyone did this?
When I see people striving to be their best self, using and working to grow the strengths they have been blessed with, I want to do that too. Rather, it is almost as if those people are demanding me to. I too, should rise to the occasion. Basically, when they embrace their gifts, it shows me and every other person in their sphere of influence that we can embrace our gifts too.
In fact, we need to embrace our unique talents because not every person has them. Have you seen me work a chemistry problem sans tears streaming down my face before? Right, the answer is NO. I need you because I need help sometimes. Teamwork, collaboration, anyone?
Easter is fast approaching – a date signifying the greatest sacrifice. It signifies a beautiful and scandalous night once upon a time ago. Because God loved us (you + me) so incredibly, He sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to be crucified taking on all of our (yours + mine) sins. Jesus conquered death and by God’s grace we are invited to live in freedom now. Really seriously, that is the best.
Do you realize this same God who provided a way for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven is the same God who created us (you + me)? A thoughtful action, He lovingly gave us special gifts and talents. Let’s use them. Let’s keep dancing throughout life and let’s show other people love in a relevant (and very non creepy) way.
right – left – rock step. right – left –
P.S. I did not coin “beautiful and scandalous night” – it’s from a song originally performed by The Choir.