Saturday, September 5, 2015

When you witness miracles...

What if I told you this was a miracle...

To the outsider, the visitor, the casual observer who catches a glimpse through a photo, it just looks like an ordinary ballet class.

There's the little girl who won't sit still, the shy one off in the corner, the class clown in the center, pink tights, bright leotards, messy buns and big smiles.

They laugh and play. There are even a few tears from the toddlers when they are dropped off by their caregiver (but I promise the tears quickly settle).

But what if I told you this was a miracle...

What if I told you that until she had eye surgery, she could not even move across the floor without someone holding her hand. Now, she not only can follow basic directions, but she can walk backwards, and yesterday... yesterday she turned in full circles!!!

What if I told you about this little one who was so severely abused and beaten, unloved and broken when she arrived. Unless I pointed her out to you, no one would ever know. She laughs and points her toes and wiggles to the music. She can barely keep still.

What if I showed you my preschool class, and I asked you to find the newest child... you would never be able to... she laughs and tondues with the rest of the class, finding her place on the floor as if she has been here forever.

My other precious student... I remember well the night she entered our doors as a small baby three years ago. For various reasons, she couldn't even speak until a few months ago. When I began teaching her class last year, I had to conduct separate classes for her because the people and transitions were too hard. But now... Oh, she is so beautiful.

My eyes filled with tears as I watched her the other day completing her plies, laughing and dancing with her class. There are no tears in her eyes. Only mine, and they are filled with gratitude.

This little one is legally blind. This little one has been abused. She has cerebral palsy. You would never know.

And this precious older girl... her life has been so hard, but in ballet she has found joy. She told me today she wants to continue dancing even after she is adopted. She has found something to love.

I'm sure if you watched a class you would notice areas that need improvement. You would notice areas where I can certainly be a better teacher. You would notice a few of the children with physical or behavioral differences.

But you would also witness miracles.

Sometimes, I just can't help it. I want things to be accomplished, and there are goals to be met. We push and push... choreography, technique, keeping their attention.  I want them to understand and to feel it, too. Most of the time, it feels like chaos, and I wonder if anyone is learning anything. We are very far from perfect, and I am far removed from an expert teacher.

Yet dance has brought so much healing and growth to my own life. Some of my deepest moments of connection and worship have come not in movement or speaking, but through dance. When I have no words, I can move. Dance is safe. Dance draws me closer to Him. These little ones have endured more pain than you and I can hope to imagine. They have suffered abuse, rejection, malnutrition, fear, uncertainty, but they are healing. They are dancing.

They are learning to trust. As they learn to trust me to teach, to string together movements and create a piece, even if it feels ridiculous. With each moment of trust in their teacher, they are opening their hearts to trust Him... that He is good, he is still stringing something beautiful together, even if it doesn't make complete sense in the moment.

And then there are beautiful moments like this week when God calms my heart and I just sit back and watch. I watch, I remember, and I rejoice. Our movements are focused. Our music leading us to worship, and as they learn the choreography, truth is written on their hearts. We dance to the rhythms of grace and rejoice in the silliness of magic and fairytales, each little Cinderella learning to believe in the love of the Prince of Peace.

What a gift to be able to use something I have loved for as long as I can remember to help them heal. And it's funny, as I watch them dance, my own heart heals, learning peace and rest. What a privilege to witness these moments, to watch them struggle and push themselves and be frustrated and then grow.

And my older girls beg to assist me with my younger students. And they are learning to lead, learning to love this art and this expression more and more.

Miracles. Every turn, every kick, every wiggle, every class, each little ballerina, miracles.

"Let them praise his name in the dance"... Psalms 149:3

No comments:

Post a Comment