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the hardest step…is the one you have to wait to take

What’s the hardest step in line dance?*
It’s not the grapevine.
Not the coaster step.
Not the kickball change.
Or the reverse weave.
Or the sailor step, the rock step, the shuffle step, or the step-lock-step.

It’s the hold.

It’s drawing your foot back and then,
though momentum is pushing you,
though everything in you wants to move to the next step, 

holdingwait

that

step.

It’s waiting for the rhythm,
and then launching into the next move.

So against the grain of us, this.
This holding, this waiting business,
this yielding to the rhythm the self-indulgent initiative we feel
and so want to express.
Now.

But at the heart of the dance of life (chuwl!) is
holding
waiting
slowing the step as you wait
for the beat of the song
for the next pivotal movement of life
waiting, waiting, waiting
slowing,
slowing,

slowing the step…
And then the pivot comes.

No. We really don’t care for this step at all, do we?

* This question was asked and answered by Michael Barr, a nationally known line dance instructor, at the Sweetheart Jamboree in Seattle, February 7, 2015.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2015 in a time to dance, haverings

 

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it’s too early to tell

Rejoice with those who rejoice, wait
Weep with those who weep.
What a mixed bag is life.
Good fortune.
Heartbreak.

But how to know which is really which
and what is really what?

Someone recently made the comment that if it weren’t for the Holocaust, Israel would never have been granted statehood and been planted again in the land.

Some price to pay for a piece of property, I thought.

But I responded with this story.
I think it’s one worth remembering and telling frequently
– to ourselves at the very least…

He was the poorest man in the village, but he owned the most beautiful white stallion. And the king had offered him a small fortune for it. After a terribly harsh winter, during which the old man and his family nearly starved, the townspeople came to visit.“Old man,” they said, “you can hardly afford to feed your family. Sell the stallion, and you will be rich. If you do not, you are a fool.”

“It’s too early to tell,” replied the old man.

A few months later, the old man woke up to find that the white stallion had run away.Once again the townspeople came, and they said to the old man, “See. If you had sold the king your horse, you would be rich. Now you have nothing! You are a fool!”

“It’s too early to tell,” replied the old man.

Two week’s later, the white stallion returned, and along with it came three other white stallions.“Old man,” the townspeople said, “we are the fools! Now you can sell the stallions to the king and you will still have three stallions left. You are wise.”

“It’s too early to tell,” replied the old man.

The following week, the old man’s son, his only son, was breaking in one of the stallions and was thrown, crushing both his legs.The townspeople paid a visit to the old man and they said, “Old man, if you had just sold the stallion to the king, you’d be rich, and your son would not be crippled. You’re a fool after all.”

“It’s too early to tell,” replied the old man.

Well, the next month, war broke out with the neighboring village. All of the young men in the village were sent into the battle, and all were killed.The townspeople came and they cried to the old man, “We have lost our sons.You are the only one who has not. If you had sold your stallion to the king, your son, too, would be dead. You are so wise after all!”

“It’s too early to tell,” replied the old man.


Wisdom.

wait

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2015 in stories

 

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i wait

Spent the past four days in Noah’s ark. At least that’s how it felt. Hadn’t gotten much writing done the past four weeks, so I was making up time, pretty much sequestered. With Noah. In his claustrophobic box. Genesis 5-11.

Want to share a sample that will appear on my devotions blog in mid-August. Don’t want to wait…

Waiting.waiting (1)

Let us attempt a definition.

To wait is to suffer through interminable, frustrating, immobilizing inactivity in the midst of a pressing desire to move that is practically bursting out of your chest.

And we hate it.

Every.

Aggravating.

Minute.

Of.

It.

It’s why we have multiple self-checkout lines in our superstores. Who wants to wait for the checker to tediously, slowly drag each item across that scanner as they make small talk with that person ahead of you (you know, the one with the 30 items in the 15 items or less lane and a stack of coupons and at least four items that have to be researched in depth for a price)? Who has the time? The lack of late night self-checkout lanes is one of the key reasons I stopped shopping at a certain local superstore. Fair trade and social justice issues? Would that I were so deep (who has time for that?). I just got tired of waiting all the live long night (it’s amazing how long five minutes can be when it’s after midnight in a superstore). Now they have a half dozen new ones open all the time, right by the door that’s open all night. Brilliant. And virtually wait free.

Bliss.

waitingBut here’s the interesting thing. Noah waited. For forty days and forty nights it deluged. He waited. For 150 days the waters rose. Noah waited. Six months. God remembers – though the only way Noah probably could have known that was by the sound of a new wind blowing outside his claustrophobic box. For another 150 days the water recedes. He waits. The ark makes landfall on Ararat and peeking out the one porthole he spies new peaks. He waits as another forty days pass. Then he sends the raven. He waits. Another seven days. He sends the dove and she returns. Another seven days. He waits…

Here’s the cool thing in all of this Noahic waiting.

The Hebrew word translated “wait” here doesn’t mean listless, frustrating, immobilized and immobilizing inactivity. It actually means to whirl, to twirl, to dance. Yes, it can also mean to writhe in terror. Perhaps it was an earthy mixture of both, just as it is for us as we too wait in our stinking box peering out through our single porthole in the midst of our mess.

Seeing this gave me a completely fresh picture of Noah in that box of his.

No stoic reclining, this. He writhed. He twirled. He danced a dance brimming with the mixed melodies of fright, tired-of-waitingfear, anger, joy and anticipation. He writhed with all of creation as it was smothered in watery darkness; he twirled with delight at the sound of that mother of all blow-drying winds; he did hand springs when at last he felt the boat connect with solid ground below and when the top of those mountains could be seen.

Waiting is a dreadful, writhing dance of anticipation and suspense.

The challenge is to let ourselves feel it, to enter it, to express it, as we, with Viktor Navorski passionately chant,

“I wait!

navorski

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Genesis, haverings

 

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