PROFESSIONAL ZUMBA DANCERS

Zumba
(“One of these things is not like the others!”)

I think something tragic happens when we try to be something we aren’t meant to be.

Actually, I KNOW it is tragic.

Take, for example, when a runner attempts something like ZUMBA.
Seriously tragic.
And, you know what they do in those dance places? They place mirrors at every turn. So, even if you could fake it in your mind that you don’t look like a puppet/marionette gone wild–on crack–there is the visual evidence slapping you in the face! It screams at your flailing arms and at every hip shake and misstep saying, “YOU WERE NOT MEANT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL ZUMBA DANCER!”
I didn’t give up; but I wanted to! (-And a few people around me wanted me to!) AND, after two days of recovery, I was actually glad I tried something new!
But, then there is my old Jr. and High school buddy, Kelly. You put her in those mirrored rooms and she blossoms like a flower in spring! Her arms are in perfect sync with the furious steps below and the hips in between, making most blush who witness the ease of her rhythm.

She was meant to dance.

(See if you can pick her out in the photo above—she has this knowing look—like, “These others shouldn’t quit their day jobs!)

It’s truly something to witness when you see someone “in their element;” pursuing a dream; excelling in their passion. Like a well orchestrated song, perfectly pulling together the individual sounds of each instrument, joining up with lyrics, rhythm, melody and it all flowing together like it was always meant to be exactly that way.
But, what when we are forced/or stuck in something that we don’t excel in? That we loathe doing day after day after day…After a while, life turns from musical harmony to a clanging cacophony of unbearable noise.

I get that there will always be things that we struggle with wanting to do–homework, paying pills, Mondays, etc.,—that’s part of life; but it shouldn’t BE your life.

We are promised something more…

“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

And when you invite Jesus into your life and allow him to direct your path and your plans…

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)

More than we can even imagine??!! Hmmm…I like this idea…A LOT!

As I was struggling with what to blog about this week, I realized…I LOVE to write. I am not pretending that it is easy for me to do—there are many things that get in the way (like two other jobs, laundry, eating, the voices in my head saying, “You can’t,” or “No one cares.”) But I always return to it—the desire to be at my computer, or with a note pad jotting down something that struck me during an interaction. I yearn for the spare minutes to get the “pen to paper” and I get a rush. It is almost like that marionette on crack, or probably more like the runner’s high when I feel God nudging me to write something. It often happens when I am out on a run and when I am undoubtedly at the farthest point from home!

As I write, I am smiling. My hope is that, whatever it is you spend the majority of your day doing, or dreaming of doing, that you will DO IT! –Pursue it. Don’t give up on searching for your “thing;” for what makes you blossom; the fire in your belly; the passion that you can’t get out of your mind. Try it. Don’t give up on it. Keep trying; keep searching and keep pursuing until you find it. Continually ask the Lord into your plans and, I am willing to bet on it, that “it” becomes more than you can imagine!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

WHEN I DIE

WHEN I DIE

It is hard to deny the power of music. How a song can take you back to an event, stir memories, sometimes even bring on the very emotions you felt the first time you heard it… I still get teary every time I hear Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe;”—not so much in the lyrics, but because it was popular right after my father passed away and it has been forever linked with that emotion in me.
I love all types of music. I have gone through various “music stages” in my life. Starting with the 80’s big hair bands, (one of my fondest memories is of a WhiteSnake reunion concert); to the head banger “angry music,” (I got backstage to meet and greet Disturbed); then alternative, (I won concert tickets three times in a row to Three Doors Down); and country music, (“Bubba Shot the Jukebox” got me through two marathons trying to memorize the words.) –I love all genres of music. Lately I am into the Christian music and pretty much anything K-LOVE plays.
Each of the five parts of my book “grace” begins with a snippet of lyrics from artists that created rhythms, lyrics and messages that were themes throughout the novel. I encourage you to find the songs on iTunes and take a listen before delving into each part.
One of these songs is titled “In Better Hands” by Natalie Grant. The song has been so powerful in my life and every time she sings the following lyrics I get goose bumps:
“It’s like the sun is shining when the rain is pouring down
It’s like my soul is flying though my feet are one the ground
It’s like the world is silent though I know it isn’t true
It’s like the breath of Jesus is right here in this room”
I know this is going to sound a bit morbid, but stick with me on this—When I die, I want this song to be played at my funeral. –I know where I am going. I know I will be with Jesus when I no longer walk this earth. I want those who would come to memorialize me to not worry but to feel the “breath of Jesus” as He whispers in their ear–telling them that I am okay—that He’s got me. And what better hands to be in than those of the One who fearfully and wonderfully created me in my mother’s womb?
So, I figure I should let someone in my family know, right? It is no fun to not know the last wishes of someone you love when you are left with the task of memorializing them. I learned that the hard way.
So, I told my mother.
She shot me down.
She told me (over the phone, but I could visualize her wagging her finger at me and shaking her head), “You had better go telling someone else that wish because there is no way in hell, I want to bury you before you have to bury me!” (That is a paraphrase, but real close to accurate.)
Not that she has a choice in this—when it is our time, well, it is our time. Only God has the power over death. And, with God, through Jesus, we have assurance of eternity with Him. And this idea of eternity (I’ll spare you all the clever ways people have described to grasp the concept) is a really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY long time.
I know too many friends and loved ones who are parents and have had to bury their child. (Frankly, knowing even ONE is too many). This crazy resurgence of heroine and overdoses that occur with even just one try of this drug, suicides, accidents, hit & runs, domestic abuses, drunk driving, okay—As Justin Timberlake sings, “Are you feeling me?”
Often all that is left is a gaping hole—a void—such loss and despair that each day is a desperate challenge to find hope to carry-on.
The “Why?” goes unanswered like wishing on a penny dropped into a bottomless well.
But this bottomless well doesn’t have to go on for eternity.
Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Forever.
I know this still doesn’t answer the “Why?” but I have found temporary peace in this temporary life believing there is a place where all the questions are answered-no pain, no sorrow, no death and, to quote the powerful words of Mercy Me, “In Christ there are no good-byes.”
So, when I die, please honor this wish of mine (and for my mom.)
And mom, put that finger down because I think you are off the hook 😉