Sometimes the way we move about each other feels choreographed, we’ve been practicing it so long. It is a good kind of dance, where your partner seems to have mastered the steps and knows right when to lead, when to dip, when to spin, how to maneuver you just right so you feel as if this dance is really effortless.

It probably doesn’t happen enough – most of the time, we fight to take the lead, would rather grapevine when our partner wants to cha-cha, and just when one person is warming up to the dance, the other just wants to take a seat and have a drink. But there are days when everything clicks into place and we’re primarily interested in the welfare of each other rather than our own interests. This makes all of the difference.

Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were to Love God and to Love one another, but most of the time, we are wrapped up in numero uno – what can I get, who’s serving me, how am I being left out here, what wrong has been done to me, me me me. As Toby Keith (that fountain of wisdom) has said, “I wanna talk about me, I wanna talk about I wanna talk about #1 oh my, me, my what I think what I like what I know what I want what I see…” That is where I reside most of the time, unfortunately, and also most unfortunately, this is where we are most unhappy.

But when we start getting down to the basics of loving God and loving one another, when we start turning our eyes outward to our fellow human beings as opposed to focusing on our own inner wants and needs, suddenly all of those wants and needs are minimalized and we can see the world much clearer. I think we tend to slip into a cross-eyed vision – not only can we only see the end of our noses, even that ends up distorted.

So back to this dance thing. It is necessary to practice the steps every day. Somedays, we’ll be full of grace, our relationships will seem effortless yet meaningful, and we’ll end the day content and relaxed. Other days, the dance is all work and no fun at all – your partner is difficult and so are you, but you have to suck it up, pour them a cup of tea too, determine to be happy that they switched the load of laundry and folded the whites even though the shirts aren’t creased the way you’d like and the socks are all in balls rather than tucked neatly together. Because the basics Jesus taught, love God and love one another, aren’t about feelings. It is about choice. Obedience. Commandment. These are conscious decisions, not flutters of heartstrings.

The next time you watch “So You Think You Can Dance,” remember, those steps that look so effortless, the way the partners seem to glide across the floor as if they are one, that took hours of grueling effort, sweat, and patience. Let’s invest that kind of energy into our relationships, so we can move as if we are one.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

2 thoughts on “Waltzing

  1. This spoke to me today..I really enjoyed this. Wow.. I hadn't heard that song by Jeniffer knapp- (Sing Mary Sing)! What a cool song. It sort of hit me the way Trinity did when I first heard it- Hope your doing good Sarah-


  2. I like the thoughts within this post. Learning to dance is not easy but if we allow the Master to lead or corriograph the moves it will make things easier. “These are conscious decisions, not flutters of heartstrings.” This line spoke to me because it preses the point that we need to be proactive about developing relationships with Christ and with others. Good words here!


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