forgetting to dance

Originally published Wednesday, 28 March 2012.

We danced.

In white slips and bare feet, we turned the music up loud and we danced. Three little girls in their grandparent's family room pretended to be at a ball with the charming prince watching their every move. They twirled and stepped and spun. Hair flying, arms outstretched in blissful abandon, giggling, laughing, spinning.

Free. Abandoned to the bliss.

At least 25 years have passed since I was that little girl twirling and giggling in my grandparent's tiny little living room with my cousins. And somewhere in between then and now I lost my spin. I lost my freedom to dance.

That certain knowledge of who I am that came with the innocence of childhood -- loved, protected, covered -- isn't so certain after 34 years on earth hearing the lies of the enemy describe my lot.

The ability to really see the beauty of life, to stop and pick up the flowers, to feel the green grass sway around me, and get lost in the breeze as I run through the field...those moments of passing splendor come less and less often as I fight the skepticism that comes with seeing too much pain.

I've lost my twirl.

The warm eyes that once told me, "you're beautiful! No one has ever been just like you! Dance!" turned critical--eyes that saw a flaw here and too much there. And they began to say, "change who you are little one. Be like everyone else. Trim the edges of your dance so you don't spin out of line."

And so I began to dance with my arms a little closer, twirling with my eyes wide open. I learned to run through the fields aware of what was around me not because of its beauty, but because of its capacity to hurt. When I did pause a moment to be stunned by beauty, my soul still alert to its bliss, I looked up to see who was watching, and wondered if they thought I was silly.

I've lost my innocence.

Somewhere in the muck and mire that life often brings, little girls (and boys) lose their abandon to the simple bliss of life. Sometime along the way we begin to care more about how others see us than how we see the world. We rush through life and miss the brilliant red flowers in the field, placed there by a Mighty Hand to delight us. We forget that we are His pleasure and that the world has been made for His delight and ours. We forget to dance. And then slowly, over time, we forget how to spread our arms wide open, we forget to giggle, we forget to spin.

But I think I might be able to remember.

To pause once more and feel the delight of the world. To bask in my Father's voice that says (and has never stopped saying),

"You're beautiful! No one has ever been just like you! Dance!" 


If I quieten my soul enough...if I close my eyes and listen hard I can still hear the music in my grandparent's home. I can feel the twirl in me rising up through the years of lost silliness and doubt. And today, starting today...

I want to spin. 


Brooke McGlothlin is a a writer, word-prayer, photo-taker, and boy-raiser who knows that if God doesn’t show up, nothing happens. She's the mom of two young boys who leave her desperate for God’s grace, and is married to the man she’s had a crush on since the third grade. She’s the Editor and Co-founder of the MOB Society (FOR moms of boys, BY moms of boys), author of Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it MostHope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, and creator of the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons. You can find her writing at her personal blog, A Life in Need of Change.