I may have mentioned that I love London. I discovered a few years back that I’m a city girl at heart. I love the architecture, the people, the hustle and bustle… I discovered my love of the city when I lived for a few years in small town Georgia, USA. A city it most certainly was not, and I grew heartily tired of having to drive for miles to get anywhere, of having no theatres, museums or art galleries anywhere close, of seeing nothing but trees everywhere I went…
But in that time, I also discovered that I’m a Country girl – country music that is! Those wide open spaces just seem to lend themselves to a twangy guitar and a driving rhythm. I’ve tried listening to it back in London, and it just doesn’t work – you need a wide road, big sky, and preferably a truck to really appreciate it!
One of my all-time favourite songs is I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack. It’s a great anthem for life, with the refrain “If you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”
Dancing is embarrassing, if anyone’s watching (and even sometimes if they’re not), it’s something relatively few people are comfortable with, so it speaks to me of courage and of freedom.
I heard a sermon yesterday about Jesus’ appearance to Peter after His resurrection. The preacher surmised that Peter probably felt like he had completely failed Jesus – who would want to use a man who had betrayed Him? Peter went back to fishing, thinking if he was going to mess up that badly, it was probably best not to try the whole serving God/fishers of men thing again.
But Jesus restored him. Gently, lovingly, he welcomed Peter not only back into friendship, but into service, too, telling him to ‘Feed my sheep’ and ‘Take care of my lambs’.
Peter had been so caught up in the music of being in the presence of Jesus, that he had started to dance almost without being aware of it. Then Jesus was arrested, Peter was caught mid-pirouette, and suddenly the world came crashing round his ears. He tripped over his feet, stumbled and fell. The ‘spell’ was broken, all of a sudden he wasn’t a graceful dancer any more but back to bumbling fisherman again – heavy, clumsy, earth-bound.
Anyone who ever tried to dance has stumbled and fallen. Sometimes they ruin a performance involving others; often they injure themselves. The thing that marks out the great dancer from the non-dancer, though, is not the number of times they have fallen, but the number of times they’ve got up and danced again anyway.
Jesus found Peter on the floor, feeling stupid and sorry for himself. He came over, extended a hand and asked, ‘Will you dance?’ Peter had a choice. He could have said ‘No, you don’t want me, I’m too likely to mess things up. I think I’ll just sit this one out,’ but thankfully, as we know from the rest of the New Testament, he said ‘OK, I’m embarrassed, people are looking at me even closer now, but there’s more to life than sitting in a huddle on the floor. Let’s dance.’
When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.
When I get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope I have that courage, too.