Three times a day, the plate that sits quietly on the counter in front of my kitchen sink reminds me that, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I have had many vicious storms in my life. I have begged God to remove them all, but because He loves me, He doesn’t always listen to the whines of my heart. His plan is always better than my own. I just don’t always want to see it that way. I confess, I want to have an easy path in life, tough dance lessons aren’t really my thing. For one, I have no rhythm and these days if I move my body too quickly or awkwardly, I feel some muscle react that I didn’t even know I had.
Being hunkered down because of Covid for 180 days has created a cranky Joan at times. Recently my brother called me a “total goofball” in a family email. What? I am about the most boring, quiet person that Covid could create. My days are filled with major caretaking with little time left for me to do much of anything I used to enjoy. All those things that psychologists are concerned about with all this social distancing and depression seem to have landed on me. I don’t feel creative or productive. The hospitality queen I used to be is gone, because I can’t let anyone into my home. I watch my mom suffer daily with her medical condition. I feel helpless to make my daughter’s world any less complicated. She has been trapped in a body that she can’t control for 34 years and is totally dependant on me to understand her needs. I have a son who has gone to death and back through a traumatic brain injury and, at seven, he can’t comprehend why the corona bug has to take away all his fun.
But still, that irritating plate sits in front of me, nagging at me to dance! To jump for joy even when it is pouring rain outside and the thunder is rolling. I think God has a funny sense of humor, because one of the extreme anxieties that remains in my trauma-induced child is the fear of storms. Guess what is the only thing that will calm him during a storm. Yes, you got it! To dance and not just a mellow slow dance, but a crazy wild, deep belly-laughing, hilarious rip-roaring kicking up the heels dance.
This “goofball” keeps learning. Psalm 50:23 message is kind of the same as my plate. “The one who offers thanksgiving as her sacrifices glorifies me.” Thanking God instead of complaining in the midst of a personal storm – Wow! Now that is a concept most of us don’t take much heed to. Thanking is like dancing, except it is moving the brain into a joyous position instead of the body. Try it. It will seem painful at first, because all you want to do when life is hard is complain and seek for ways to get out of the situation you are in. Being thankful goes against every instinct within you. Being thankful is a gift from God – one that needs to be opened and activated. And it is in that “thankfulness mode” that God can do His best work with you.
I am going to dance with my mind. I give thanks to you Oh Lord, for an incredible husband who walks beside me through our trials. I am thankful today for a son who named a flower “Glenda” during our morning walk just because he thought it was so beautiful. I am thankful for the incredible starry-filled sky at 5 in the morning that reminds me, You still hold all things in order when my world seems so disordered. I thank you, Lord, that you do little miracles like turning water into wine (who really needs wine??) and huge miracles like raising people from the dead!! You know we all have different kinds of felt needs, and yet you care about them all. I have food, health, home, clothes (even if most are from the thrift store), a car that runs, air to breathe, great family and friends, a church that still live-streams for me so I can stay connected to God’s people and I can pray without ceasing – these are all dance tunes in my head today. They push out the gloom and return me to a place of joy.