When John and I got engaged, I knew dance lessons were going to be on the list of to dos before the wedding.
As we drove to our first lesson, we got the impression the instructor we selected was not as "mainstream" as we had thought. When we pulled into his driveway, every "you're at a serial killer's house" radar was going off.
John and I half jokingly half seriously wondered if we should call our parents to inform them of our whereabouts in the event we were to go missing.
We softly knocked on the door while we weighed the pros and cons of making a dash to the car before we were shoved into some version of the basement scene in Silence of the Lambs.
We wondered what in the world we had gotten ourselves into.
But as it turned out, the dance instructor turned out to be an excellent teacher. And over the course of a couple of weeks, we began to learn the steps, posture, and cadence necessary to build a good first dance.
John's role was to be the guide and my role was to simply follow his lead. Sure, I could miss a step or two, but if John was leading well, all I had to do was be attentive to the direction he was going in. His embrace served as a turning signal of sorts: every time I felt a stronger presence of his hand, I knew he was taking me to another place. If done well, this exchange looked effortless.
I did not need to see or know where he was leading me, I only had to trust he knew where we were going.
The other day my mind reflected on these dancing truths. Because as crazy as it may sound, it felt as though some cosmic force was nudging me out on the dance floor.
Will you dance with me?
Will you trust me?
Will you leave the shores of comfort and control and rely on me to lead you?
Will you surrender your sight...even in the darkness...even when you can't see my light?
Will you trust my hand to guide you?
I wanted to answer "yes" to those questions, but the truth is, my heart was resistant and I did not want to respond to that nudge.
Because what if things don't turn out the way I want/need them to? What if the scenario does not have a positive ending?
And then I heard it again, Will you dance with me even still?
At some point in our lives, we are all faced with these questions, though the phrasing may vary widely.
The question lies within the tension of believing there is another way to living. A way with unclenched fists and a posture of surrender. A way that reflects a life defined by faith and not fear.
Will we, can we, head out on to that proverbial dance floor knowing it is not made of assurances and guarantees but rather a soft embrace from a heavenly hand leading you to the next step?
In some areas of my life, I can answer this question with a resounding yes. And when I've leaned in, trusted, and surrendered to that leading hand, God has done things and worked in a way I never would have imagined.
But when I've resisted, when I've stood on the side of that proverbial dance floor and demanded exact directions for where we are going, the fear becomes overwhelming and I can no longer feel that soft embrace that was once leading me. Instead, all that is there is tension, clenched fists, and a mind that wants to know every next step.
Some may argue the male has the more difficult role in a dancing relationship but the truth is leading and taking charge tends to be second nature for us. To trust a hand that is leading you to a place you do not know is hard no matter how you cut it. But in time, if we can learn to follow, to relax into that embrace, oh the beauty that will come.
If you're standing on the side of your own version of a dance floor right now and your heart feels the gentle nudge to trust in one greater than you, my prayer is you will be able to put aside the fear, the loss, the diagnosis, the heartbreaking reality of whatever you may be facing and if only for a moment embrace, without resistance the hand that is leading you.
But it takes time to get there, and those first steps will not be graceful...but they are worth it. They are oh so worth it.