I knew it was going to be a good party when PapiJoe showed up at the house in the early afternoon, hours before the dinner began, to set up a huge amp. No joke, it was the size of a small refrigerator! My eardrums nearly exploded by a wall of sound as PapiJoe miscalculated the volume level during his brief sound check. He laughed gleefully and left soon after saying he'd see us later.
Once a month or so our Gabonese OSPAC (the social work branch of the local CMA) friends join us Americans for a dinner. We take turns hosting and all contribute food-wise so it's a delicious mix of African and American cuisine. Sometimes, not always, there is dancing involved.
Now I am far from being a dancer. As a teen I watched the movie Footloose staring a young Kevin Bacon and fell deeply in love with Grain-Mill Proms held on the outskirts of small town USA. I mean who can't relate to the down-trodden teen characters of the movie as they rise up and challenge the powers that be? The challenge being, of course, the God-given right to dance. Hallelujah. Amen.
Unfortunately no one has ever questioned my right to dance and really has had no interest in whether I dance or not. I have never had to present an impassioned speech to town leaders declaring that there is, in fact, a time to dance (it's in the Bible)... And they can't stop me! Don't even try! So perhaps that is why dancing is not something I do often and certainly not in front of people. I feel self-conscious with my stiff-measured movements. I love music and dancing. I just wish I had grace and style and rhythm.
So often at weddings and other occasions where people gather to dance, (read Grain-Mill Proms on the outskirts of town) I shy away and look on longingly from the sidelines. I wish I could join in and dance, but I never do... That is until a couple of Friday nights ago. I began awkwardly enough but soon the rhythm got me and I was spinning and swirling and swaying and jumping along with the others.
It was a dream come true. And a time to dance, there is! I think it was the atmosphere of love and acceptance that allowed me to finally kick off my Sunday shoes! I mean, these are the people that love me in the midst of my sweaty-stammering attempts to serve and speak. They love me without reservation and I am learning so much from them as they embrace my stumbling attempts to show love with my limited vocabulary and limited cultural knowledge. They see my heart and hopefully I am learning this heart-language that looks beyond the surface, beyond the stammers and stumbles and sees true value that is wrapped up within.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
*This blog is brought to you by Kevin Bacon, PapiJoe, and the Bible*