Sitting In the Stalls of Life

I looked across the ice rink from where I was sitting and what I saw brought tears to my eyes. It was such a simple thing – just a boy and a girl, becoming a young man and a young woman. My son was still very much a beginner skater. Skating is such a technically demanding sport, it takes years to become competent. However, even though he was a beginner, he was a male figure skater. Anyone in the skating or dancing world knows what that means. A good male skater or dancer is highly valued and is in great demand. And so, it was not surprising that from the moment we arrived, all the young female skaters would have definitely been aware of my son’s presence. It’s great for the ego!

One adorable and very accomplished girl skater instantly sized up the situation and made friends with us straight away. After some weeks, the time came when that lovely girl happened to be on the ice at the same time as my still-flailing son. Being a true dancer, it only took her a few minutes and there she was; holding my son’s hands, helping him skate more confidently, giving him tips, and hoping like hell that he would hurry up and improve.

When I first glimpsed this picture there was something very moving about it, both as a dancer and a human being. The fragile, yet hopeful, expectant reaching out. So many things could interfere to cause the whole thing to come crashing down, yet the two young people were both there, present to each other. As an ex-skater and current dancer, I also understood that girl’s heartfelt drawing towards the inexplicable and beautiful joy of dancing with another human being.

I wondered if anyone else noticed what I was watching on the ice. Could anyone else feel the beauty in the situation? It seemed to me such a palpable thing, as if it was singing out a happy song for everyone in the rink to hear. At least one other person did notice because when my son’s coach passed me, he quietly said to me, “I think there is a little friendship growing there.” I saw the same touched look on his face that I could not help feeling in my heart. When young people keep growing up and finding the seeds of the sort of love that forges friendships and forms love relationships, we can feel that the world is in order. That thing that keeps saving humanity – the human desire for connection, friendship, and love – is alive and well.

A million things can go wrong in our friendships and relationships in life. A million things can go wrong if you are a dancer, trying to dance with another person. But, my friends, if we don’t try, if we don’t throw ourselves into life with abandon, if we don’t somehow believe that whatever happens we will be better off then we may as well get off life’s dance floor, get off the ice of life and go sit in the stalls watching other people. It will be safer but if it’s like the ice rink you will end up very cold.

When we close our eyes for one last time at the end of this life’s story, we will not think of much except of those we have loved. Be it success or failure, be it long or short, be it acknowledged or ignored, those we have reached out to with the thread of eternal love will come dancing past our eyes. We will not regret a single moment of love that joined us to the master Lover to whom we will be returning.

This article is from Dance: A Spiritual Affair

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