“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.”
—Psalm 30:11 (NLT)
I asked God for joy this week. And he answered me with dancing.
I have a long history with dancing, and the saddest thing to me is how rarely I do it anymore. I definitely went through the ballerina phase as a young girl, and very often my sister and I would choreograph dramatic dance sequences (complete with costumes and props) in our living room. I know for a fact I danced in high school (I have a picture to prove it), and I still enjoyed letting loose every now and then at social dances during college.
At some point the dancing stopped, or at least got a lot less. There were so many reasons not to dance. I think it’s interesting that Psalm 30 does not say: “You turned my mourning into happiness.” The opposite of sadness is happiness. The opposite of the deep and endless dark of mourning has to be more than happiness, has to be something as wild and unpredictable as the journey of grief, has to be something like dancing.
This week, we got a dance game where you stomp a mat on the floor in time to music and the sequence of steps on the TV. I did it with my kids and I have not laughed so much in a long time. And I remember in the midst of sadness, there is always within me the potential for wildness. And I am so very glad that God wants me not to subdue that or be embarrassed by it or drown myself in self-consciousness, but to take that wildness and use it to put as much passion into celebration as I do to mourning. For now, I still dance in my living room. But maybe someday …