There's an image in my mind since Saturday that I can't shake... I was at a funeral.
Now I am sure the first impression you get as you read this is "oh, that's so sad" or "who died?" Well, yes, it was sad, but we were in fact celebrating a man whose life was bigger than him- literally!
This is not a eulogy or tribute to Fr. Joe, although he sure deserves more than I could ever express. I really didn't know him as well as others far better qualified. The image in my head was that of one of his brothers, sharing stories and memories shaking his hips, pretending to dance. "Joe loved to dance." Joe was big and tall and loved to dance. No matter what life brought him, everyone said he danced... to the beat of his own drum, his communities, his brothers and his vocation. He did the dance... and doing the dance, working for his vocation and mission in life, left this earth too soon.
As I look up and smile, fully knowing in my heart that all the angels I know up there are looking after us, I am at peace. However... I know that perhaps on not so good days, I may have to do the dance. Hmm? Stay with me. I have a point, promise. :)
I love to dance. Have I ever mentioned that? Probably not as much as I could. I don't cook often (my family will be first ones to point that out!), but when I do, the music is playing in the kitchen, and I dance. I dance in the morning while I am getting ready. I dance when I clean-ugh- and even in the car.
When things aren't going well, I dance in a different way. Life is complicated and people add to the complexity of the ins and outs, yings and yangs, ups and downs of our dear lives. We have to learn to do the dance. While you may not compare dancing in a musical, a ballet, a night club or in the kitchen, to "doing the dance of life", think about it. We all play different roles. We are daughters, mothers, fathers, sons, brothers, friends, co-workers, spouses. Each role has a job description of sorts, certain behaviors you may have to learn as you either change roles from daughter to mother, or from married to divorce. You learn to do the dance. The dance is the flow of things, the balancing act of personalities and expectations each member of your circle or community has. The dance is the pattern of daily tasks, jobs to complete meetings to attend. Projects to complete, calls to returns. Some people are very good dancers. ;)
Whether we like it or not, we gotta learn to do the dance. When a difficult divorce leaves one party in a place of hurt, intentional deceit and pain, you do the dance. You make it work. When an assignment is due within a small window and panic may strike, you do the dance. You make it work. If there's tension at work, but you have the best intentions to make things go smoothly for the benefit of the organization, you do the dance. You make it work.
I hope by now you see the connection. At least for me, while Joe loved to dance and did it well, he also "did the dance" and made his life work. He danced with joy! When I dance, I relax and regress to my home culture and joy de vivre outlook on life, no matter how often or focused I also HAD to do the dance... Yes, I do the dance now. We all do, to a degree. The cool thing is that some of us now do the dance naturally and gracefully, while others may need our help. Practice makes perfect and some of us have been dancing and dancing for a number of years... No one said it was easy, but why not try to look at things from that perspective. It may help.
Thanks Joe, for the inspiration. Life and experiences teach you many different ways to apply your dance skills... some for fun, others to have fun while balancing awkward relationships, job demands and kids' schedules. Even if you don't realize it, you do the dance... and I am sure you do it well! The moral of the story, at least in my opinion and based on my many opportunities to dance and to DO the dance, is that we gotta do it. You gotta do the dance to make it work, to make life work, even if things don't necessarily have anything to do with dancing. ;)