Learning to Dance Again

The other night, the other half and I, along with a good friend of ours, went to our local zoo for a fundraising event called the Wild Lights Festival. There were illuminated lanterns everywhere depicting many mythological creatures, endangered animals and more. Even though a thunderstorm was rolling in, we decided to go, since it was a rain or shine event and we had spent a good amount of money on the tickets. We all wore clothing we didn’t mind getting wet, and my friend and I both made sure to wear something waterproof to protect our cameras because we, of course, wanted to get pictures.

Depiction of lit up butterfly lanterns and flowered lights along a boardwalk in the dark.
Photo by K. S. Wood, 23 April 2022, Blank Park Zoo, Des Moines, Iowa

We got there as the event was starting for the night. It had been sprinkling off and on and there had been high winds that caused the sirens to go off an hour before, but we had hoped the worst was behind us and we could enjoy the rainy walk through the zoo.

Suddenly, the heavens opened up and there was a great deluge of icy rain, coupled with high winds. We immediately turned and headed for the buildings, racing the rain back to shelter. My other half was thoroughly soaked, and my pants and shoes were drenched, but my rain coat kept my camera dry, thankfully. My hair, which I had colored with washable dye for fun that morning, was also drenched, causing the dye to run a bit. Our friend was also soaked where her poncho did not cover.

While we waited in the shelter, we laughed. What could have been a case of the grumbles turned into a time of joy. Yes, the storm caused us some inconvenience and soaked clothing and shoes, but it also gave us a memory of something magical. We were, after all, having an adventure.

I mentioned I might use that in a story……

After the worst of the storm had passed and the rain slowed to a drizzle, we ventured out of our muggy shelter once more. Armed with my umbrella and my camera, I caught several photos and made an evening of memories with my other half and my friend. And of course, I danced in a few puddles, since my sneakers were already soaked.

Lit up lantern of a Chinese-style griffin with a tree of pink flowers behind it.
Photo by K. S. Wood, 23 April 2022, Blank Park Zoo

I am still learning to dance again sometimes.

Last weekend, it snowed. It was Easter Sunday, and there was a great deal of joy. I danced outside in the big fat flakes that fell, as I mentioned in my blog post last week.

It’s been a tough week. Several friends have lost loved ones this week. Some were expected. Others were sudden and heartbreaking. All of them have been full of sorrows.

It’s even in these times we must find the will to learn to dance again.

As children, we dance like no one is watching, to paraphrase the popular song by Susanna Clark and Richard Lewis. We learn to love being able to do anything we set our mind to.

But as we get older, we lose that ability. We get into a mindset of “I can’t”. We think we can’t do something because we don’t have the experience. We don’t have the ability. We are too old. We aren’t old enough. The time is not right. Others will think us strange. We become paralyzed by this mindset.

But what if……

What if we can control our “I can’ts”? What if we are, somehow, able to turn them into “I cans”?

I can learn to do that. I am old enough. It’s always the right time. So what if others think it strange?

Some of my friends know that while I have the ability and the license to drive, it is not my favorite activity. I often am loath to drive because it makes me anxious. But the same day of the storms and the wet walk through the zoo, I needed to get groceries and the special cat food the senior cat that owns me needed. It meant a drive across town. And my other half had other plans. So, I faced down my anxieties and went to not one, but three different stores to get the things I needed. It had to be done, so I told myself “I can.”

Little by little, we can learn to do things. Little by little, we can dream again. Little by little, we can learn to make differences. Little by little, we can take on responsibilities. We don’t have to do it all, just do what we can. Eventually, we will learn to dance again.

It will only come if we change our mindset.

“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.”

Leanne Womack, “I Hope You Dance” – written actually by Mark Daniel Sanders and Tia M. Sillers

I am not the most graceful of people. I trip over my own feet just walking sometimes. My dancing is even less elegant and refined. But I often dance in my living room. I often dance at work. I often dance on walks. I dance at church. I SOMETIMES dance like there’s no tomorrow and like nobody’s watching. But I find it hard to sometimes dance when the going gets tough. I am learning though, to keep on dancing.

The friend we went to the Wild Lights Festival with has been through a great many challenges in the short ten years that we have known her, but she’s a wonderful example of someone who has learned to dance even when the going is tough. She shares her joys with those around her. Even her sorrows have given her something to learn. She dances often, figuratively….. and maybe even literally. I know others who have learned to dance with joy despite their sorrows. They inspire me.

So I hope you learn to find the magic in the moments, despite the pain.

Learn to dance in the rain.

Continue to write your own story.

For that’s all we have to hope for.

If you liked this blog post and wanted to see some of the fantasy works I have written, check out my Portals Series.

If you are interested in my other online endeavors, check out the drop down menu above to see more.

And as always, #writeyourownstory

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