I FELT LIKE DANCING
[I put this up quite some time ago, and before my Ethel died. Thinking back on some of the loveliest things I've been blest with reminded me of this isolated event in a stream of lovely moments—a moment that led me to write this. I can only ask you to trust me that it still "works".]
I’ve tried to persuade Ethel down the years that I’m not worth much and God knows I’ve behaved badly enough to have made my point in the view of a host of others. She’s not buying it—seems she’s heard that God thinks I’m worth dying for.
Still, what I’m about to say is risky and those who have known the worst side of me on occasions (should they by some remote chance ever read anything I write) will curl their lip at the next few remarks because they’ll make me sound like Mr. Wonderful—fat chance of that being true!
If I weren’t already in love with Ethel, listening to Rod Stewart’s version of the old classic Long Ago & Far Away would make we want to be in love. I who have never danced feel like dancing when I listened to it just now.
I’ve never forgotten the power of romance—I’m not built to be able to do that—but I haven’t always remembered just how warming and enriching and sustaining a lovely romance can be.
Many Christians tend to think—so I judge—that everyone has an equal chance to live life in the celebration mode. I know better; and so should they! Loneliness, social isolation, the sense of being unwanted, the absence of tenderness, tender words, touches and kisses and glances—how could life not be tough in the absence of these? Those who have a profound need for such gifts but don't experience them wage an uphill battle and those who are in a happy and honorable and fulfilling romance should take that into account rather than assuming that their own religious devotion would be as real and deep if they were without a lovely companion.
[It makes no sense for us to rejoice in a gift God has given us and at the same time begrudge it to the entire human family. Instead of berating people for enjoying romance maybe we should remind them that it’s God’s gift to them.]
I accept the fact that we as a society are excessively interested in sex and all the so called “liberties” that go with it but that truth shouldn’t lead us to idiotic conclusions that deny the richness of the gift God has offered to us as humans in offering us romance. And I’m aware that there are those who are in relationships that are crushing them—a tragic circumstance; but none of that is what I wish to deal with here. I just feel the need to express my pleasure at the sound of music and the warmth of romance.
To dismiss the sheer pleasure in a love relationship between two people is to do more than God would do. He uses the metaphors of marriage and romance, of human lovers and happy brides and bridegrooms to express his own joy and when he came to us in and as Jesus he was no stranger to the happy mystery of a wedding.
As it is, I have a difficult enough time trying to please God and be like him; but if I were without the joys of a loving relationship—I’m talking about me—I don’t think I could make it.
I think my Ethel used to dance when she was a girl and I wish she could get out of her wheelchair and show me how. Oh well. Think I’ll put Rod Stewart on, twirl the wheelchair around as dancing and mime the words to her.
Set her little heart all aflutter, don’t you know.