I Hope You Dance
Friends, I have an urgent assignment for you this week.
Not just urgent but important.
Something I need you to do. For you. For me.
You’re not my students and I’m not your teacher, but you are my people – my beloved community. The ones I write these letters for.
You join me here most weeks and we talk about weighty subjects: Managing grief and what wellness might look like. Marriage and personal transformation and having confidence in the future. Dealing with anxiety and holding onto hope.
This life we share is beautiful and brutal. In the first eight weeks of this year, I’m not the only one in this community who has lost friends and received hard news – very hard – from loved ones battling serious disease.
But remember what Dorina, widowed at 37, wrote in this space just last week?
Not long after the death of her husband, Dorina and her young daughters went to a concert and she laughed for the first time in months.
“Later I felt a little guilty…Maybe I shouldn’t be out at concerts laughing and dancing with my daughters so soon after my husband’s death… I brought these questions about my grief to God. I realized then through His gentle reminders that I was free to grieve in my way. Over time, I have learned that every day can be filled with joy and grief dancing together.”
God enables us to hold sacred space in the bodies he created so that joy and sorrow can co-exist at the very same time. We’re commanded to rejoice. “Re” indicates a going back, returning to the Source of our joy.
So here’s your assignment, friends. This week I’m asking you to dance.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
When you’re in another culture, dance.
(Jerusalem Day, 2014. Israeli girls invited me to join them in dancing the horah in the shadow of the Wailing Wall.)
When you’re seeking community in a new place, dance.
(Just after we moved to North Carolina in 2018, Mike and I took clogging lessons to get to know local folks.)
When you’ve been blindsided by a devastating diagnosis, dance.
(February 2023. Please pray for our dear friends Mike and Cindy).
When you’re not able to move easily on your feet – whether tethered to a walker or confined to a wheelchair – you can still dance.
(My granddaughter Janie "dancing" two weeks ago. She loves music!)
Whatever your situation, dear ones, I hope you dance.
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder, You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger, May you never take one single breath for granted, God forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean, Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens, Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance, And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance... I hope you dance...
Lyrics by Lee Ann Womack
And when you dance, will you please tell me about it?
So much love,
Maggie Wallem Rowe writes from Peace Ridge, her home in the mountains of western North Carolina. She is the author of This Life We Share: 52 Reflections on Journeying Well with God and Others, and Life is Sweet, Y'all: Wit and Wisdom with a Side of Sass. And she loves to dance.