Five, six, seven, eight . . .
Step, ball change, step, step...
Dance. Choreography. Routines.
I spent a lot of time in musical theater rehearsals and in dance classes growing up.
I spent countless hours stretching at a barre.
I learned ballet and jazz and modern and tap.
I did not have a favorite.
I learned to dance the charleston, the hustle, the boot scootin' boogie and just about every other dance trend you can imagine.
I loved it all.
While in high school, I met a friend.
He was a little overweight and not very "cute".
He was considered a little odd.
He didn't really "fit" in.
He was teased sometimes by his peers.
But he was kind and we became friends.
Really great friends.
We discovered that we shared some important common interests - music and dance.
He had an amazing music collection on albums.
Remember those? Vinyl!
I had a tape player.
I would give him blank tapes - he would record his albums for me.
And then we would go find an empty room at the school, or at our church or . . .whereever.
We would drag along a boom box (remember those?) and some of the music tapes.
And we would crank up the music and dance.
On the dance floor -
he became a different person.
He was Fred Astaire. I was Ginger Rogers.
We would be gliding around in our jeans and athletic shoes - but I imagined that he was in a top hat and tuxedo and I was in a ball gown.
He knew every kind of dance imaginable -
We would waltz.
We would swing.
We even (I must confess) did disco.
He was a great leader.
I learned how to follow his lead by the simplest of touches on my back.
We would do spins, and lifts, and dips, and all sorts of tricks.
I trusted him. He trusted me.
I think today of some of the throws he would do with me, and I can't believe that we were that brave.
At times, I felt suspended high in the air above him.
We developed an unspoken language.
When we were 17 we entered a talent contest. We danced.
We didn't even have a set routine - we worked better if we were spontaneous.
Occasionally I attended social dances at my school or my church.
At these dances, if my partner of choice was not there, I would dance with others.
Very often, when I attended these dances, I wasn't asked to dance very often. I would stand on the wall - yes, it is true - I was a bit of a wallflower.
Often the ones who did ask me to dance were not great partners.
They struggled to know what to do with their feet, where to put their hands, where to look -
we lacked . . .communication.
I didn't enjoy it.
When the song ended, I would thank them and try to escape as quickly as possible.
And then I would wait and look for my friend - the wonderful dance partner.
After my children were born, I pretty much stopped dancing.
Or did I?
I feel like I have been involved in a dance of sorts for the last several months.
This dance has had all sorts of partners-
the unknown, fear, sadness.
These partners have not been very good leaders.
They are unpredictable and are poor at communicating.
They leave me feeling lost and frustrated and very, very insecure with my abilities.
I have also danced with the partners of happiness, hope, peace and joy.
I prefer dancing with these partners.
I trust these partners - they help me to feel confident and special and in charge of my life.
They are the partners that are encouraging me to chase me dreams and to achieve a new level of life that I never thought possible.
And because these partners are all about building confidence in me -
they are trusting ME to take the lead.
The bad dance partners are still going to come and go - just like in those social dances of my youth.
But I don't have to spend more than one song with them.
I thank them for the dance- and make my escape.
And then - I go and look for my favorite partners to finish the night out with.