“Sit down over here,” Todd said Saturday morning as I pulled a chair out from the table under an umbrella. “We can sit together. The sun is passing. You’ll be in the shade.” Even with a medication that warns against sun exposure, not to mention general dermatologists’ warnings–maybe it’s the Native American blood on my mother’s side–I love the sun. He was right though, about me moving to the shade, but that’s not what moved me. It was what he said, ‘We can sit together’.
I stood, grabbed my bag, and leaned over to kiss his cheek, “With each passing day, my heart grows fonder…Hey, thanks for the title!” It’s how I feel about him and our marriage, but as we ate breakfast, I realized it also described the very thing I had been writing about: my team at work. I realized it was how I felt about them.
They have to put up with me too. I fly into morning meetings like I fly out the door as Todd waits in the car for me to go to church on Sundays. It’s always because I’ve been immersed in the Bible.
I have found reading the Bible to be like dancing in a beautiful waltz. Who would want that to ever end? I have learned the rhythm and am pretty comfortable with the steps. Yes, my time with God is like I’m dancing. The movement within me surpasses anything I have ever experienced.
There’s the gentle warmup as you quietly enter the Throne Room. Music, like strings from a cello, descends on your heart, urging it open, preparing you to move in ways beyond your imagination.
Stillness surrounds you, even though you have opted to sit on the couch closer to husband, puppy, and cat rather than isolate yourself alone for hours, which can happen before you know it. Time is precious with your loved ones, just as it is with God. Don’t let anyone tell you what your prayer closet should look like. Mine just happens to have room for Todd, Fannie, and Mary. We’ve figured it out and they’re happier with me near.
The Dance begins slowly but can move into motion quickly as you allow your heart to open. Your Partner has you soaring before you have time to think about it. He just has a Way that way. The dark cloud I often wake with lifts. Light is poured in, and by the time the dance is ending, my spirt has been renewed, my mind refreshed, my strength restored. Love, Joy, and Peace do that.
My heart grows fonder for everyone I think of in the Dance, and I whisper their names into His ear. As my friend Bruce says, God wants us to pray and care for others, not because He can’t, but so that we can understand a little better how much He cares for us. (Did I get that right…?) Like my Dance with Jesus in the morning, the dance I have with others becomes more and more beautiful. He shows me how.
When you step into a situation where the sole purpose is to “dance” with another in order to accomplish a goal for the greater Good, you see people at their best. You see competitiveness replaced by cooperation, self-doubt by mutual support, frustration by understanding. So I have to ask: when pressures at work mount and personal agendas and deadlines interfere with the greater agenda, how do you keep the flow and move forward with genuine, compassionate, grace-filled relationships?
Working well together is like learning to dance together. It takes time. Some parts are especially difficult but when you don’t give up, you begin to notice an almost otherworldly sort of experience. To give an example, I’ll use Danceworks and share the steps that I have seen work for us. When the dance goes well, always present is:
- Recognition that each person brings unique gifts and strengths
- Common understanding that no one is more important than anyone else
- Commitment to coming up with creative solutions because money will probably always be tight
- Accountability to one’s self as well as to the whole
- A promise to always doing your best
- An openness in admitting when you didn’t get it right, and a willingness to make amends
- Understanding that apologies are as critical as snacks
- Compassion rather than competition
- Understanding that the work is about something greater than yourself
- Time for reflection
This may all seem obvious to you, but I didn’t start to dance until I was an adult. Unlike children, the movement had to get into my head before I could perform it well. A dance with purpose—mission and vision—performed with generosity, beauty, and grace, step by step, wins the race.
My team volunteering at Habitat for Humanity on Friday. (The story that inspired the story.)