When loss is part of your story, another person’s happy moment can be bittersweet for you. It’s natural, I suppose, to feel a twinge of sadness when someone gains what you’ve lost. It’s not envy; it’s grief. And grief has a way of sneaking up on you at the most inopportune times.
Recently, I attended a wedding in which my nephew was a groomsman. As the groom stood by the pastor and watched his beautiful bride stride to his side, my heart twisted, and I blinked back tears. You see, the groom was in his momma’s belly when she sang at my wedding more than 25 years ago.
As the sweet couple exchanged vows, I begged God to bless their marriage with strength and longevity. I prayed for them to keep Christ smack-dab in the center of their union so no schemes of the enemy can squirm in and wreak havoc. I prayed for their marriage not to crash and burn like mine did.
Later, at the reception, I sipped sweet tea and watched a group of little kids bust a move on the dance floor. A too-cute little girl toddled to the dance floor. With giant bow bouncing atop her blonde curls, she twirled and did her best to keep up with the big kids. She’d dance a while and return to her grandma’s waiting arms.
On one of her trips to the dance floor, the little one tripped and fell hard. I held my breath as she stood to her feet, wondering if she’d shake it off or not. Well, she didn’t. With a giant wail, she ran to her granny’s special brand of comfort. Her tear-stained cheek stayed glued to her granny’s shoulder for a good long time.
After a while, I spied the granny tip-toe to the dance floor with her little dancer by the hand. Unsure and unsteady, the little one stood among the other young dancers with her granny’s hand in a death grip. Not much dancing happened, but she was back out there. A few minutes later, she ventured out on her own, but she kept peeking back to make sure her granny was watching. Finally, she let it rip and showed the big kids how it’s done. Her tumble was ancient history.
As I watched the little dancer, I felt my Savior’s embrace. I know you fell hard, Lee, but it’s time to get back on the dance floor. You can do this. Don’t worry. You’ll never lose my watchful gaze.
My divorce is final.
The process took almost two years. You’d think it would be old news to my heart by now. But seeing the decree on the county clerk’s website felt like a fresh break to my heart. But, it’s done. I’m a single woman whether I want to be or not.
People keep saying it’s a new beginning. A new chapter. I’ve gotten everything from “Congratulations!” to “I’m so sorry.” My response is more in line with the latter. Put it this way. I’m not planning a “Whoopie, I’m divorced!” party.
But I keep remembering the little dancer at the wedding reception. And I keep hearing that gentle whisper. It’s time to get back on the dance floor. You can do this. Don’t worry. You’ll never lose my watchful gaze.
I’ve been sticking close to God’s lap lately. Afraid to venture out. Afraid to do hard things. Afraid to move forward.
The hermit life sounds strangely enticing, but I can’t keep hiding.
It’s time to get back out there on life’s dance floor, but I can’t do it without Him.
I fell hard. My confidence is shot, and the thought of starting over seems so hard. So risky. So scary.
But I know I can’t hide out anymore. It’s time to start dancing.
King Solomon said there’s “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4 NIV).
I know my heart’s still healing, but less tears and more laughter sounds pretty good.
But dancing? Thriving in this new life of mine? It feels unreachable to me right now. I need You to breathe new life into me. New hope. New confidence.
I need You, Lord.
I hear You urging me, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV).
I hear You reminding me, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 MSG).
I hear You assure me, [You] will be like a well-watered garden, and [you] will sorrow no more. [You] will dance and be glad. I will turn [your] mourning into gladness; I will give [you] comfort and joy instead of sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:12-13 NIV).
I hear my soul singing, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13 NIV).
Help me live, Lord.
Lead me to the dance floor. I will dance with You. I will dance for You. I will dance.
In the faithful name of Jesus I pray, AMEN