We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh. -Friedrich Nietzsche
For as long as I can remember, I loved to dance. And my favorite dancing partner was always someone who I knew loved to dance as well. He had my mom twirling around the dance floor when I was a twinkle in her eye, and theirs was a love like Fred and Ginger. They gracefully glided around the space in perfect step with each other. Unison. We had a big Midwestern family, and so weddings and celebrations were a regular occasion. I would be out there with my cousins cutting up the rug, but I always saved a dance with my dad. He just knew how to lead, and even with my impetuousness, I would gracefully fall into step. I would step on his toes, and he would laugh and say, “That’s okay, sis. Do you want to lead?” Laughing, I would acquiesce because I knew better than to try to outshine a pro.
Just before Christmas 2015, I lost my dancing partner. His heart gave way, and as an angel, he got his wings. My life would never be the same. He sent me another angel to keep watch over me, and I still miss those blue eyes that would let me know everything is going to be alright. He and I had a common bond. We loved to watch political conventions, and I told him someday I would be the first woman President. After my race for Congress, I wanted so badly to talk to him. To apologize that I didn’t make it. I promised him that I would someday run like Kennedy and go make a better world. It crushed me, and the world felt like it was falling in on top of my heart.
In the years that have passed, in subtle ways, my dad has summoned me back on the dance floor…to bring the world into harmony, and in a whole new dance I hadn’t even seen before. It was an invitation to open my heart to welcome people who were afraid of showing up, to speak their truth, and to carry on a message of love that the world so desperately needs.
Today we went to a party, and guess who was getting people on the dance floor? It is so much fun to dance! It is where memories are created. So fathers and mothers, dance with your children. Hold them close and let them know they are loved. Get them to put their devices down and enter the song that has been going generations before. Sing to them the rhythm of humanity that they are valued and have meaning. Give them hope. Let them know they can lead a world that is waiting.
My own children are growing, and I still hold their sweet voices in my heart. It is brilliant to see them bloom into their own voice and being. I dance with them in a way that says…It is alright. You are loved. You are cherished. I’m so glad you are here.
When my last days come, whenever that is, I know my dancing partner will be waiting to escort me to a place beyond all imagining. He will laugh when I step on his toes and say, “It’s okay, sis. Do you want to lead?” I will laugh and let him show me the way.