Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Dance of Life

The following is an article I wrote for the Trident paper this past Easter:

The Dance of Life

Easter is a time to celebrate new life and new hope. For the ancient and modern Jews, who celebrate Passover at this time of year, it is a reminder of how the angel of death passed over their doorways in Egypt to finally free them from slavery and give them new lives in a promised land... you remember, from the story of Moses? For Christians it is expressed in the story of Jesus’death and resurrection—a resurrection which brings new life to all who believe. For the ancient Celts, from whom we get the word Easter, it is the time of year to witness the new life bursting forth after the cold darkness of winter.

But what if I’m having difficulty seeing new life right now? What if there seems to be a lot of death and dying and loss around me? From funerals to memorials, from suicides attempted to suicides completed, from grief at home to deaths overseas... new life can seem a long way off. There is no easy answer, so I warn you, don’t read any further unless you’re willing to actively seek the answer yourself... with a little guidance. There is a saying of which I am very fond—”Don’t give a sword to a person who can’t dance.” Though some people are confused at first by this saying, its meaning is really quite simple. The sword refers to anything of importance that we must wield or carry in this life. It can mean our jobs, it can mean our responsibilities towards family, friends, or community. For those of us in uniform it most certainly refers to the tools of life and death we wield on behalf of our nation. The dance, on the other hand, has no deeper meaning. It simply poses the question, in the light of the sword you carry, can you dance? Can you laugh? Can you find joy?

The warning inherent in this saying is that we must find the joy, the hope and dare I say new life in the midst of our burdens—otherwise, why bother?
So (at least for a little while this Easter season) slip off your shiny oxfords, your glossy parade boots or your dusty Goretex boots and take the time to remember what is really important... and dance.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

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