This dance class started at 8:30 pm, after toddlers were in bed. This dance class was held in a smallish room turned "studio" in one of the class member's homes. This class had one teacher and six students. This class had introductions where we shared our names, family info. and dance history. This class started with a spiritual thought from the last LDS General Conference which reminded us to remember our worth in the sight of God and not to compare ourselves with anyone else (tears flowed freely). This class had an opening prayer circle where we all held hands. And then, this class....danced.
These ladies, these moms, are... GOOD! I think we have at least 20 kids between us, and although it's been DECADES for some of us, these moms rocked it. It was soooo fun!
Okay, I'm not much of a dancer. But I LOVE dance. I took so many dance classes in college, I could have minored in dance. So, I am a dancer at heart (turns out that doesn't translate into actual MOVES on the floor). And espite my lack of natural rhythm, I am just excited to be stretching in a meaningful way again). It's also fun that my daughter is in the class with me (the only non-mom :)). She is a very good dancer and I love being inspired by her.
I should mention that this class is not in MY neighborhood. It takes place in Provo, a student town. I don't know any of the other women, except the one who invited me. So I only know what I've observed. But what struck me about this sweet little class was the heart felt effort by the teacher (a mother of four under four) and the genuine desire of the students. Each of these ladies is at a very difficult moment in their lives (the "throes" of parenthood, as one friend liked to say). They deal with toddlers all week long. In addition, most of them are also in Primary (children's classes) at church. I'd venture to guess that they don't have a lot adult conversation during the week. It was clear that this class was as much about connecting to other human beings, other moms, as it was about dancing.
We warmed up, then danced, together. I watched and listened. They quipped about their kids, the changes to their bodies in the last ten years (just wait til your 40!! I thought), their husbands, their lives. Sprinkled in were comments about Stake Conference, our spirits, the Lord, not hiding our light, etc. Truly these are women of faith.
At one point during our little class, my eyes filled with tears as I witnessed these women, these mothers, banding together to learn a little choreography. I saw them emote and stretch, reach and float. They each have a story to tell. They each have different reasons for being there.
I may not be in the same boat anymore (though I do have a 4 year old!) since my children are much older nowdays. But as they talked, I loved them. I loved them for what I KNEW they were doing all day: Diapers, Bottles, Nursing, Cooking, Cleaning, Teaching, Loving, etc. And I also knew that after the class, they wouldn't get to fall into bed all night. I knew that most would be up in the night with potty training toddlers or nursing newborns. And most of their husbands have leadership positions in the ward as well, which requires hours away from home on weekends and evenings. It's just the way of it for them, right now, at this place and time in their lives.
It was stunning to be able to "peek" backwards in time at myself a decade ago. To remember those days with a little joy and a lot of heartache. I loved these moms for the sacrifices they were making to raise children on this earth, and for the support they were giving their hard working husbands as well. Each one is a beloved daughter of God. Each one is the center of the universe for one man and several little people. Each one is uplifted by her night to dance. Each one is a better wife, a better mother, a better person, because she dances in that little class.
I also felt the Lord's great love for them; for the row they are hoeing. He is grateful and pleased with the work they are doing for His sake, day in and day out.
And I was thankful just to be there; to drink it in, and to realize that I too am important in my role. I am essential, even. I am loved and needed, despite my lack of actual DANCING ability! And someday, when the "dance" of life is over, I'll be able to reflect upon my leading part in the most exquisite piece of all: the Rhythm of Life.
"Let Israel rejoice in him that made him; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance" (Psalms 149:2-3).
(thanks for the scripture reference honey! :))