Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Time to Dance...

It's been four years and nine months since a friend's college-aged son received confirmation that his neuroblastoma (a type of childhood cancer that affects developing nerve cells) was back. Through their journal at CaringBridge.org the events of Erik Ludwinski's life, struggle, and the family's faith have been beautifully expressed, encouraging thousands. Last week Erik passed into Heaven, and his family continues to share their faith and joy even in the midst of their painful grieving. They exhibit a beautiful example of Ecclesiastes 3:4b:

"There is a time to mourn and a time to dance."

A time to mourn...AND a time to dance...

Some would say it's impossible, or perhaps shameful, to both mourn and dance at the same time. But then others would say it's shameful to spend time crying over something one cannot change. I believe there is no shame in crying when a loved one dies, nor rejoicing when a loved one enters their restful reward, but rather the shame is in not expressing how much we miss our loved ones, or the selfless joy we feel for their gain. Where death is concerned, the two emotions ARE very naturally entwined...don't you think?

That's my "soapbox speech" for today. I mourn with Erik's family, pray for their comfort, and rejoice with them over Erik's fortune. He ran a good race. His funeral this Saturday will be a celebration of the life he lived before us here, as well as the infinitely better life he's recently begun.

On a more personal note, it's been eight weeks since my little left pinky toe rammed (at about Mach 10) into the wall that sticks out in our hallway as I hurried by on my way to dress in warm layers for our son's ice skating b-day party. I was sure I heard it crack, but x-rays eventually confirmed my FM doc's tuning fork diagnosis that it was only a sprained metatarsal. The skin was split open, and despite icing that first night, most of my foot was swollen and green the next morning. So much for ice skating...downhill and x-country skiing...and dance class this winter.

The prescribed treatment was alternating 20-min ice water and tepid epsom salts soaks morning and night, and for pain, liberally applying peppermint essential oil everywhere on the wound except where the skin split. Within a week my gait was almost normal, but I waited two weeks before trying to dance again.

Two weeks wasn't enough...

You know, what really surprised me is that I missed dancing! I mean, it's really not been my forte. I've never done anything like this before, and I've gained SO much more appreciation and respect for what my kids go through and how naturally talented they are now that I know how unnatural dance is for me. (The week before I injured myself, my dance instructor commented on how serious and frustrated I looked in the mirrors all the time, and explained, "It shouldn't be like that. This should be fun for you, too!" To which I replied, "I am having fun [when I'm practicing on my own at home!]...but I usually feel like crying by the end of every class.") But once I couldn't dance, I discovered I almost couldn't NOT dance anymore! I danced all over the kitchen, back and forth from the stove to the table with hot food, making up new turns I haven't been taught or even shown yet...and it WAS so FUN!

I went back to class too early, and in an effort to keep my feet dry I wore shoes that were too tight in the toes, and needless to say, I suffered a big setback. It's been six weeks now since I last reinjured my foot, and just last week it was well enough to endure massage and adjustment. I still can't wear my dance shoes, but was allowed on the floor in stocking feet yesterday. I'm still limited, but it felt SO GOOD to move and stretch, leap and turn again! My foot swelled slightly after class and I had to ice it again last night, but I danced with freedom and joy rather than burden, and that made all the difference.

Praise God! There is, indeed, a time to dance.