To Dance with One Another — SheLoves

It’s my Saturday at that great women’s magazine, SheLoves. The theme for September is ‘held,’ and this small vignette was what came to me. Sorta surprised me, to tell you the truth. It’s about dancing — how I never do it anymore but I still dream about it from time to time.


We don’t dance in our house. And I miss it. Not that I was ever a ‘dancer’ — I can’t follow choreography of any kind to save my life. Believe me, I’ve tried. Jazzercize? Nope. I trip over my own feet trying to figure out whether that last move was to the right or to the left.

But when I was in junior high and high school, I went to school dances and I enjoyed moving around on the dance floor. I could do a few of the simpler dances of the day when the music was up-tempo, but slow dance? Now, that I could really do. Because I was a singer and enjoyed music in my home all the time, I knew how to find the beat, and I discovered I quite liked moving to that beat while being held by someone else.

There is something sweet and natural about moving slowly to music, held in the embrace of another. I can’t explain it, I just know it to be true. I didn’t date a lot, but the boys I did go out with all knew how to dance, some of them quite well. And if the lead dancer is good, the weak dancer is home free. I quite enjoyed being home free.

I met my husband, God’s greatest gift to me, when I was a first-year college student. I loved his big brown eyes, his sincerity, his sense of humor and his commitment to his family.

But he did not dance. And he was quite clear about that. Quite.

I didn’t get it. He was supremely well-coordinated, a gifted athlete. Why not at least try it?

That was a great big NO.

It took me a long to time to ferret out the reason why. He told me it was because he never learned — his family and his church frowned on it, so he was never taught how to move to music. But my parents came from a similar background, so neither of them knew a lot about dancing, either. Yet my mom wanted me to know how, so she asked our next-door neighbor to show me, to provide a few simple lessons. That small gesture made it possible for me to jump over the gigantic hurdle of adolescent self-consciousness and go out there and try it.

No one ever did that for him. And the self-consciousness ran deep, deep, deep. He cared what other people thought about him. He knew he was a good athlete and he was unwilling to take the risk of trying something new to him, something physical that he might not excel at. A 4-letter jock all through high school, the embarrassment factor was simply too big a hurdle for this good man. . .

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  1. I am curious to know what church you were associated with when you were working. I am a member of the United Church of Christ.

    • I am ordained, but retired, in the Evangelical Covenant Church, headquartered in Chicago. It’sva small denomination with Swedish roots; we have a university and a seminary, also in Chicago. I did my training, however, at Fuller seminary in Pasadena California.

  2. The She Loves site is down for maintenance, so when I finally get to sit and read, I can’t read all of it. Because of that I’m just grabbing the moment to comment here, ok?
    My man doesn’t dance either.
    He did once, under duress-or was it grace?- when we were on a short term mission and a team member was teaching all the youth to dance (tango!) and the team had to do it too. Wouldn’t you know he was much better than me, story of my life: he may be better but I’m the one that loves it.
    So then there was one other time, 2007 in Scotland. It was the year of my deep grief for my mother and I would have traded anyone except my husband and daughter to have her back again, so fierce was my grief. We went to a conference in Edinburgh and they sponsored a dance. In the year of my worst grieving God gave me Scottish Country Dance because when returning home to Boston, I found a class blocks from my home and joined (he didn’t) and yes, dancing with the partner that is really good is so freeing.
    So we moved to Santa Barbara and I danced with a small group until the 2008 wildfire roared through our neighborhood in the evening one November 13 day, and after that for years I didn’t often go out at night unless our whole family went.
    Now that we have moved to Lompoc, I started Ravinia up in ballet classes again, and perhaps if we move away to pastor a church next summer there will be a Scottish Dancing group nearby…or maybe it was a gift for a season and there will be other gifts for new seasons.
    Life is good
    (some of the time)
    But God is good
    (all the time!)

    • Hi Beth – I love that you’ve taken lessons and may do so again. That’s a great idea. And yes, when your next move happens, I hope you can find a Scottish Country Dance class to take – what fun. I hope the right doors open soon and that you all will find a sense of peace and ‘rightness’ about whatever it is that comes next. Blessings to you and yours!