“Young women will dance and be happy…I’ll convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy.” Jeremiah 31:4 Msg
I was witness to something beautiful The kind of beautiful that literally stops you dead in your tracks. The kind of beautiful that draws you towards it, as though it were meant just for you.
I wasn’t looking for it. In fact, I really had no time for it. I was very busy playing host to 200 people in the room right next door (ugh, self importance is a bit nauseating). But beauty pauses for none as it beckons for all.
At first sight I knew the two lovely girls walking in to the lobby were in need of a very special earthly angel for their care. Clearly twins, they donned matching leotards with pink ballet tights under a set of wispy wrap skirts. They each carried with them a pair of seemingly new ballet shoes. Behind them was their mother, a woman who’s name I do not know, but whom I have given the title Saint. Draped in her arms she carried an armful of multi-colored tulle covered in a white plastic trash bag. The attention she gave to oodles of tulle made it known that what she carried was worth the struggle.
A number of others trickled in. Some with walkers, some in wheelchairs, most with leg braces. All with young bodies, big smiles, and a Saint of their very own in tow. It wasn’t until i heard the music that I actually understood. They were there for a weekly ballet class.
A ballet class.
When I saw these angels move, with the help of their Saints, to the sound of all kinds of instruments, I knew I was bearing witness to one of the most profound things I had ever seen. A glimpse from heaven. This must be what God sees when He looks at us. This is worship.
Children of the King, completely dependent, yet joyful. In need of care for everything, yet sustained. Broken in body, but not in spirit. All dressed up, ready to play before their King in order to bring Him glory. Not perfectly or independently, but desperately. JOYFULLY.
I began to cry. At first I thought it was because I felt sorry for their seemingly limited experience of life. Thats just honest. Sorry if I offended anyone with that, but it’s true, and I am human. Flawed and learning. But then I realized I was crying because I saw myself in those children. I realized how hard I make joy. How complicated I make need. How resistant I am to help and just how much I was really missing out by not embracing my deficiencies. I realized in that moment that I am that child with the leotard and wispy skirt, often unable to keep upright without the help of the Saints around me.
What I saw next took my breath away and gave me perspective I’ve been missing. The Saint with the armful of tulle had turned into a ballerina of the finest degree. The white plastic bag had disappeared, and so had the hurried mom of two. The rainbow tulle covered her from waist to heels as she glided across the wooden floor, leading her daughters with a smile than spanned her entire face.
This ballet class was for her. As much as it was for her daughters, the Lord had given it to her. She was whimsical and free. Her burden had been lifted, even if for a moment. In joy, she laughed. In joy, she sang. A glimpse of heaven.
The whole scene is sealed into my heart by the words I heard in those few witnessing moments. He said to my heart “Your need is someone else’s joy. Your deficiencies allow for others to dance. I will teach you to lead only after I teach you to follow. Trust me, in joy.”
If you are leading or following today, do it in joy.