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The Thrill of the Dance
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Mar 1, 2000, 13:07

The setting is in a recreation center where a group of fifteen little girls are going through a series of exercises getting ready for the event that is at hand. It is a ballet class, but not just any ballet class. This particular class is different because it is PARENT WATCH NIGHT.

In this particular class there is one outstanding student. As she dances she is deep in concentration. She is intensely watching the instructorís every move, then repeating the move in rhythm. Sweat rolls down her cheek and she dances. During a moment of rest, she glances at her mom and dad. Her mom is up front with the other moms who faithfully bring their children to rehearsal each week. Her daddy, on the other hand, is sitting near the back because itís what the "cool" dads do. But he is there taking in every moment, every facial expression, every bend in every joint as he watches his child dance. This is actually a very special moment for her father. In reality it is a spiritual moment and for a brief moment in time this dance studio has become holy ground. Her father watches with a lump in his throat the size of a baseball and as she look at her parents for approval, he smiles. It is a smile that reflects nearly a lifetime of hopes and dreams.

The reason that this is a holy moment is because it was never suppose to take place. The child dancing is my oldest daughter, Brooke, which of course would make me the proud dad. I am sure that the other parents there were proud of their children. I really have no idea whether the other children could dance or not and to be even more honest, I donít really care. I am there watching a miracle happen. And miracles should never be taken for granted. I promise you that this daddy was not taking this moment for granted.

Allow me a moment to backtrack. When my daughter was just a toddler we discovered that she had a very rare and dangerous disease. It is a systemic form of arthritis which at one point in her life robbed her of her ability to walk.

At the onset of the disease, we were told to be prepared for a very uncertain future. Certainly we were told to rule out any type of athletics. Running, jumping, and dancing would be activities that just couldnít be allowed because of the stress to her fragile joints. The years that have followed her diagnosis have been followed with more doctor visits than we can remember, more medication than any human should have to take and years of visits to the physical therapist. Our therapist is a young lady named Diane Grubb. She has worked with Brooke since the day Brooke was first diagnosed.

When you get to Heaven, youíll recognize Diane. She will be the one with all he "perfect" children around her that she worked with at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children, crippled and broken while on earth, their bodies made perfect in Heaven.

As the years have passed, Brooke has been so fortunate. God has allowed her to do so many things that we never thought would be possible. This year the subject came up and we began to struggle with what to do. The question, "Can I take ballet and tap lessons?"

"Letís ask Miss Diane..." (good answer, hunh?)

Now listen to the wise therapistís answer. She said, "We will try it and if it creates a problem then we will stop." With that, the stage was set and Brooke was ready to give this ballet stuff a try. Now rewind to the story we began this chapter with.

Brooke was dancing...a miracle...the chance of a lifetime and a dream come true. I was there and I must tell you if you could have seen the joy on her face as she looked at us and smiled, you could have caught a glimpse of Heaven. In that moment,the therapy and doctor visits seemed to be a million miles away.

At this point I could wrap up this chapter, tell you that God is awesome and we all lived happily ever after. So, you need to know, God is good and when you know Him you get to live happily ever after. But the story isnít over. The story moves ahead a few months to PARENTS NIGHT II. This night would be different. By the time the class was over we would discover that the arthritis has come roaring back. This time the BEAST attacked both feet, knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, shoulder, and elbow. Rapidly the flare was upon her. We had enjoyed a long break and forgotten the intensity of the disease and so we were off to the doctor, the specialist, and off to see Miss Diane. The verdict was we needed to take a break, get the flare under control and then re-evaluate what we needed to do.

I knew that Brookeís heart was splitting in two. I also know that Jesusí heart was doing the same. The deeper I grow in my walk with Christ, the more I am finding that the things that break my heart, break His heart and the things that bring me joy, bring Him joy.

That evening Brooke looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "Dad, I want to dance."

"I know, Sweetheart."

"Itís just not fair!"

"I know itís not fair, Honey." (This is not the time to go into a theological discussion on the fairness of life.)

"Dad, I want to dance again."

I know why she wants to dance again. She has discovered something that each of us must discover. She has discovered "the thrill of the dance!"

Thatís right, I said, THE THRILL OF THE DANCE. The thrill of the dance in reality has very little to do with the actual act of dancing. It does have everything to do with discovering the joy of doing the ultimate that God has called you to do. In the moment that you are doing something that brings you joy, when based out of a relationship with Jesus, you are catching a glimpse of this elusive thing called abundant life. The key to abundant life comes from learning to abide in Christ. As we learn to abide, we begin to discover the ultimate that Christ has for each one of us.

THE THRILL OF THE DANCE, discovering that explosive feeling of life abundant. THE THRILL OF THE DANCE, experiencing the joy that comes from living life to the fullest. THE THRILL OF THE DANCE, catching a glimpse of the excitement that comes from doing what to many seemed impossible and understanding that nothing is impossible when God is involved. THE THRILL OF THE DANCE, once you have discovered it, you will never be satisfied with anything less. What would cause a little 7 year old girl to drive herself to do what they said would never happen...THE THRILL OF THE DANCE!

What would cause Derek Redmond, the Olympicrunner from Great Briton, to fall in a qualifying

heat of the Olympics and then get up and walk through the pain, with the help of his father, and cross the finish line? THE THRILL OF THE DANCE. Understanding in competition that it is not the triumph that counts, but rather the struggle of achieving that brings joy!

What would cause a social worker to keep giving and giving when very often they see no visible results from their labor? THE THRILL OF THE DANCE, knowing that their efforts do make impact in the world.

Why do we keep trying? Why donít we just quit? Why in the midst of the frustration of life donít we throw up our hands and just walk away? Iíll tell you why. Because if you listen real close you can hear music. It is faint, but you hear it. It is because the Creator of the Universe has called you to a dance, a celebration party! Once you have been to the party you understand and have experienced THE THRILL OF THE DANCE. So listen closely, it is the music that echoes from the heavens and is an incredible tune that we can all dance to.

So what about it...are you ready to dance? It is THRILLING!

NOTE: I am writing this one week after Brooke has once again returned to the dance floor. She did well. Her joints were a little sore, but she is hanging in there. Of course what would you expect from a child whose job it is to keep inspiring her father to experience the thrill of the dance? It is a thrill, I promise, you keep dancing!

ONE MORE NOTE: I am Baptist and traditionally a good Baptist wouldnít be caught dancing. Thank goodness I donít hold on to tradition very tightly. If you are afraid that someone will say something about dancing, you tell them I said it was cool because I talked to God about it. He said it was o.k.

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