Lighten up.

ballet saratoga dance museum slk

Photo Credit: Stacey Lauren-Kennedy, The Daily Gazette.

Last night was the first observation night of the year at my 7-year old’s new ballet studio. I watched as my daughter’s excellent instructor corrected her posture and movements, as well as those of the other children in the class, over and over again. Every foot had to be placed just so every time, with the knees and hips in the correct positions. There were First through Fifth positions to master, plies, tondus and so on. When a child got it wrong, she was called out verbally (though gently enough). As I said to my friend, this is hard core! – I knew I couldn’t have got it right much of the time.

I watched my daughter’s expression throughout. She’s a bright, light, playful little girl and while she was trying very hard to get her movements right and doing well, the joy that is so often present in her face was largely absent. Later on in the class, when she could finally leave the bar to run and dance and skip freely, the joy was back.

She insists that she wants to continue in ballet and I don’t think an hour a week of classical training will hurt her in any way. In time, if she keeps at it, what is difficult for her now will become unconscious movement. But it made me see that I don’t wish for her life to be like her ballet class.

This was an important realisation for me as this is also her 1st Grade year and I am both her mother and teacher. As such, I determine to a large degree what her days are like. While I appreciate all that her ballet instructor offers to her and believe that my daughter will learn things of great value from people like her in her life, I do not aspire to be that kind of person in her life.

And I am grateful for the deep feeling that God is not that kind of person in my life, obsessing over where and how I place my feet, knees, hips, arms and hands as I move through life. I believe that Triune God takes much more joy in my own happy, free dance, and encourages me from within to do just that — to dance freely — MORE. To be light on my feet and not so often stoop to carry burdens that are often imagined and, if not, are real ones he will carry for me if I will just let go and let him.

Too often, I get lost in the seriousness of life. I need to get things right. I need to be right. I need to do all the right things. My eyes can be too often unconsciously fixed on my own reflection in the studio mirror of life — and honestly, for me now, this is much more often with other people in view than it is with God in view.

Because I am deeply convicted that God, unlike people, is that perfectly loving parent with his eyes from within me on my expression. When I focus too much on getting it right, I lose the big picture and I completely lose my joy. And that isn’t what he wants for me any more than it is what I want for my daughter.

So no, if I don’t need to get it right, and I don’t need to be right, in order to please God, I certainly don’t need to do it to prove anything to other people.

In the end, only the joy and the relationships will count.

All I need to do is lighten up. The dance always follows.

~ by Jeannine Buntrock

1 comment so far

  1. Pat on

    Well said Jeannine. I love how He gently gets us back in step when our feet are out of sink or our hands flailing about. His spirit is letting us know that we are totally accepted and loved that alone can bring us back in proper step!!! As you with JOY !!!!!


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