To dance, to sing, to jump, to dream, these are all things I wish I could do with abandon. When you live your life mostly in a guarded state, it’s hard to move freely. However, it’s a way I’ve longed to live.
I want to sing out loud when I feel like doing so (of course, at proper times). The problem comes because I don’t want to call attention to myself or I worry that I’ll hit a wrong note. But who really cares? I’m not trying to win American Idol and I’m not on stage anywhere. My heart is so full of songs and they come to mind all the time throughout my day, but I rarely let them out, especially not in public. I think that needs to change. Not sure how quickly it will change, but I’d like to see it happen.
Dancing is something I’ve never really done. When I was younger, I went to proms and dances at my dorm and even took a line dancing class as an adult, but I am in no way a dancer. Grace is also nowhere near any of my names. I am beyond self-conscious and do not want anyone watching me. But I love dance. One of my favorite shows is So You Think You Can Dance. Dance moves me and Contemporary dances are my absolute favorite. So often I get emotional watching them. I even finally gave in and started watching Dancing With the Stars when I said I never would. I didn’t know if I could handle watching some of the “stars” in their excruciatingly painful attempts to dance. However, I absolutely adore dance and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see more. To me, it is the freest form of expression. It is not my gift, but I watch the dancers and often wish that it were.
Jumping, skipping and throwing your hands in the air reminds me so much of children and their lack of inhibition in fully expressing their feelings. As adults, I think we are missing the mark. We become so much more reserved and worried about what others will think that we hide the joy that sometimes just wants to explode out of us. I remember once when I was visiting a friend, her husband came to the house, she met him at the door, and she began jumping up and down with excitement. It is a scene I won’t forget. It was pure, unadulterated joy simply because of her husband’s presence. Why can’t we all be that way?
In the Bible, David danced and leapt for joy when they were bringing the ark of the Lord into the City of David. He was only wearing a richly embroidered apron (an ephod) at the time, but he didn’t care. Even in that time in history, adults, especially royalty, were not supposed to behave in this way, at least not according to his wife, Michal. When she saw him leaping and dancing into the city, she despised him because of what he was doing and wearing. He told her he would become even more undignified and even be humiliated in his own eyes, but he would not apologize for dancing before the Lord. His joy bubbled up inside him and overflowed to the point he could not be still. How amazingly freeing that would be. That moment of allowing himself to fully feel the emotion and having it explode out of him would be a pinnacle in time to always remember. How liberating would that be, especially if you had no concern at all as to how others felt? Would you want to have that freedom? I say, “Yes, please!” I remember times when I was first married, had time alone and a song would come on that I absolutely loved. I recall jumping up, turning up the music and dancing. No one was there to watch me. I simply was and I allowed myself the time to fully experience the music. It was so fun.
Then there is the last one – to dream. Oh, to dream! This is something I never realized was possible in my life. I was so used to living moment-by-moment and always on guard for any attacks that would inevitably come my way. The longer I was away from the abuse, though, as I’ve said before, I realized that I have no dreams and that makes me sad. I think there’s a part of me that doesn’t dare to come up with a dream because things I’ve tried to do in the past were either met with condemnation and/or never came to be. I simply haven’t allowed myself to take the chance to be disappointed again. But a life without at least one big dream (and maybe some small ones as well) really is lacking something so important and life-giving. Life without a dream is flat rather than textured and interesting.
I hear people say that they’re too old to try something new or accomplish things. However, I once saw the one woman play performed by Cloris Leachman about Grandma Moses. Grandma Moses became a well-known, self-taught painter who didn’t devote much of her time to her painting until she was in her 70’s. This was a woman who lived a very hard life working and living on farms in the later 1800’s and early 1900’s. Her husband and she had five living children, but also lost five children as infants. She had tried her hand at painting at different times in her life, but she only started painting regularly after losing her husband. She didn’t allow her hard times or her age to stand in her way. She found joy in doing something she loved, was discovered by an art collector, and had people who followed her work. She even had her work featured on greeting cards. She lived to be 101 years old.
That play has always stayed with me and I believe I saw it for a reason. I think God has used that play so that I would never fully give up on anything being a possibility, even if it took years to realize. I recently found a quote that fed into this encouragement. It says:
“If you have a heartbeat, there’s still time for your dreams.” Sean Stephenson
I take this quote to mean that there’s still time for me to find my dreams as well as to realize them. That gives me hope. I hope it does for you as well.
To sing, to dance, to jump, to dream. It’s all possible, no matter what age you are. The first three things are probably different for everyone. Those are just mine. However, dreaming needs to be a part of everyone’s life. If you don’t know your dream, find it. If you’ve given up on your dream, reevaluate your choice to give up. If the dream just doesn’t work anymore, find a new one. Dreaming is so important. What’s your dream? What are the things that you long for in your life? Don’t give up.
~ Joanna Lynn