Relearning the Song

My dad grew up pretty close to the tracks. To this day, he doesn’t register the sound of a train whistle.

There are sounds we can tune out. Sounds to which we can grow deaf. We do this mostly to protect ourselves. Rather than allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by constant background noises, we simply choose what we want to hear.

But what happens when we stop hearing altogether? What happens when we accidentally start tuning out the important things in life?

I fell in love with Jesus through the analogy of dance (Thank you, Shannon Kubiak).

Jesus and I have “a song.” That song has been the background music of my entire life—always present and always beckoning me to join the dance of a lifetime. Sometimes I can close my eyes, hear that song, and imagine myself twirling in Jesus’ arms. But other times, I stop hearing the song altogether. Because, like everything else in my life, I’ve become accustomed to tuning it out.

I’ve grown so used to doing my own thing. I’ve allowed myself to become distracted by all the other noises vying for my attention, and I’ve forgotten the one song that truly matters. It has been lost somewhere amidst the many background noises in my life.

But guess what?

My dad can hear a train if he chooses. If the sound is observed by someone else, he will often stop to listen. And you’ll see it register in his eyes when that train whistle blows.

That gives me hope.

Because if my dad can hear a sound he has been blocking out all his life in the name of a good night’s sleep, then surely I can recapture the melody that has eluded me in recent days.

Oh yes, when I just close my eyes, take a deep breath, and really listen, I can hear the soft refrains echoing through the caverns of my soul.

And I find that my feet cannot help but dance.

sitting on train tracks

Lord of the Dance

It all started when I read Shannon Kubiak’s The Divine Dance. This picture of dancing hand-in-hand with Jesus quickly worked its way into my heart, and my relationship with the Maker has never been the same.

Two years ago, I discovered “our song”. The first time I danced to the tune of Lord of the Dance, a picture formed in my mind. In the opening notes, I hear God calling me. As the tempo picks up, it’s like I’m coming alive. And before I know it, I’m spinning wildly in circles, giggling with delight. By the end of the dance, I’m completely out of breath and totally in awe of the greatness of my God.

The amazing thing is, when that song starts playing, I almost literally cannot keep from dancing. Last night, I was immersed in a project that required all of my focus. I had my iTunes playing in the background, but I hardly even heard it. That is… until our song came on.

My head jerked up, and my pencil fell from my hand. A smile crept across my face as I realized He was calling me. So I stepped into the empty kitchen and began to dance. With my heart racing and head spinning, I was caught in the glorious thrill of twirling in my Savior’s arms. When the music finally stopped, I fell back against the counter panting for breath. It was one of the most amazing moments I’ve had in far too long a time.

Jesus is real. Jesus is intimate. Jesus is extending His hand, inviting you into the dance of a lifetime. So what are you waiting for? Can’t you hear the song that plays in the deepest depths of your soul? I pray you won’t be able to deny His call… Arise, beloved, and dance.

Once Upon a Dream

Flashback into a Disney scene in Sleeping Beauty: It’s a typical fairytale set-up including the woodland creatures skittering about the beautiful forest. Lost in a world that is entirely her own, our fairytale heroine reflects on a dream she had recently experienced. And since this is a Disney film, of course it came out in the form of a song.

I know you
I walked with you once upon a dream
I know you
The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
Yes, I know it’s true
that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you’ll do
You’ll love me at once
the way you did once upon a dream

As she’s vocalizing and dancing about to the memory of a dream, her song is suddenly joined by a masculine voice, strong arms wrapping around her waist as her Prince materializes before her eyes. She melts into his embrace and they dance as one, both enraptured by the same dream. It’s so charming, so romantic, so… perfect. This is one of those scenes that elicits the statement: “Walt Disney gave me unrealistic expectations of men.”

Now, I’m pretty sure Walt Disney didn’t set out to crush the hopes of young women everywhere. I know he was an advocate of dreaming big, but I don’t think his intention was to set us up for disappointment. I think it’s our own skewed perspectives that are breaking our hearts. Fairytales weren’t meant to be realistic. I mean, come on, Sleeping Beauty, fairies, magic spells… When’s the last time you pricked your finger on a spindle and fell asleep for a hundred years? And would you really want to watch the movie if Prince Charming had simply walked up to her in that moment and said, “Hey, you’re kind of cute. Want to go out?” Whoo. Exciting.

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute. We’ve taken fairytales to a level they were never meant to achieve. Stop blaming Disney for your heartaches, leave Prince Charming in your dreams, and live as if you believed your life was meant for something far greater.

You’re My Home

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales. I always loved the Disney cartoon, then I watched a local high school perform the Broadway version. Why couldn’t all the songs from Broadway have been incorporated into the cartoon? For nearly eighteen years of my life, I didn’t know what I was missing. Me!, No Matter What, Maison des Lunes… and I found myself particularly drawn to the song Home. (Maybe that stems from the fact that I’m a notorious homebody who doesn’t know why her dreams had to carry her 450 miles away from the place where she grew up.)

Here’s a story that takes a horrible situation and gives it a happy ending. This is a girl’s nightmare turned fairytale. It’s a twist in Belle’s perspective that makes this story spectacular. It’s her willingness to change her views that brings the happy ending. She could have spent the rest of her life “shut away from the world until who knows when,” but instead she chose to open herself up to this monster who held her captive. And in the end she discovered he wasn’t truly a monster at all. As the story reaches the climax and the Beast lies dying, Belle confesses the thing she has learned throughout her time of captivity with these words: “Don’t you know how you’ve changed me? Strange how I finally see… I’ve found home – you’re my home. Stay with me.”

I guess the Beast ended up being what Belle sang about in her first rendition of Home – where the heart is. I’ve found that to be the only way of coping with being so far away from my biological home. I simply focus my heart on where I am and who I’m with. Better yet, I’ve invited Jesus to be my Home. That way I never have to leave it.  Now if I stumble upon an enchanted castle in a deep woods, I won’t have to sing a song of mourning. My song will always be one of joy because I’ve been changed, and I’ve found home. God is my home, and He will forever stay with me.

Dance With the Joyful

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.” -Jeremiah 31:3-4

I love the last four words of that verse. Dance with the joyful. God’s love is so deep, so true, so wonderful that I cannot help but dance. Sometimes I get so excited about something God is stirring in me that I literally have to twirl in a circle. The joy of the Lord can be overwhelming at times. I feel like this verse is God’s permission for me to allow the emotions He stirs in my heart to flow out in the form of dancing. If King David (who was considered a man after God’s own heart) worshiped God by dancing around the streets in his underwear… Well, I’ll keep my clothes on, but I may get a little wild at times.

I mean, just look at that verse again. “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Am I the only one who gets excited about that? Just think of the excitement and romance of dance. It’s intimate, enticing and beautiful. Something that evokes that much passion is surely meant for the glory of God. The promise this scripture contains should evoke enough emotion to make anyone dance – even those who may not be naturally graceful, namely me. Though I’ve developed a little grace over the passing years, I’m not meant for the spotlight. All I know is that God has placed a song in my heart to which my feet cannot help but move.  Don’t suppress the song that is playing deep within the recesses of your soul. Don’t be afraid to let it loose and get a little wild. Even if it is only behind closed doors, don’t be afraid to release a little shout. Dance with the joyful for the glory of your King.