It’s official! We have survived the winter and it is spring. How excited are you for the budding trees, blooming flowers, and singing birds? Of course, I have to use my imagination today because it’s actually snowing here in New Jersey.
Spring is such a great time of year. It’s a time of rebirth and renewal. And this year, I am more than ready for both.
There are seasons in our life and they seem to keep repeating themselves on so many different levels. In my last Friday Food for Thought, I commented on how people change, especially after traumatic experiences. But change doesn’t have to occur on such a major scale. Change can be triggered by less injurious events in life.
Recently, I participated in a dance competition. Now, this is not something that I did as a little girl, nor is it something I ever wanted to do. In fact, I said “yes” to dancing in the cancer fundraiser only after having a stern talk with myself that included a reminder about the pain of facing the dreaded C word and the knowledge of it hanging over my head for the rest of my life. I knew that it was time to say “no” to bad things and “yes” to new things.
Let’s face it: We only live once. And while the promise of heaven is reassuring and something to look forward to, I’m not about to waste one more day of my earthly life. So I plunged forward and said “yes” to a lot of new things. Dancing is just one of them.
What an amazing experience!
Somehow I believe that God whispered in my ear “Just trust me and do this” on that day when I agreed to start these lessons. There is a whole new world out there, a secret world of happy people with manners and grace, self-esteem and confidence. It’s a beautiful world with men wearing freshly pressed suits and women in gowns that sparkle under the lights of the ballroom.
And the music!
It was almost like falling into a children’s storybook or, even better, one of the ballroom scenes from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or Northanger Abby. How exceptionally special to have experienced such a weekend. I truly am humbled to have been invited to such an amazing event.
But life is not always a ball filled with beauty, poise, and elegance. We cannot always wear glittering gowns and take the arm of a professional dancer who will forgive your missteps on the dance floor. Sometimes we have to look for those sparkling “ballroom” moments in other places.
Last week, I received a “not-so-lovely” email from an enraged reader who won something that I forgot to ship out. When I say enraged, I mean all out threatening to destroy me. I shared the actual email with two people and, needless to say, they were both horrified and angry. I didn’t even share it with my husband because I know what he would have said (and it would not have been pretty, even if spoken in French).
My reaction was simply “Wow. Someone’s got a lot of time on her hands.”
To be honest, I forgot to send the bracelet.
To be honest, I had other things on my mind since I was in the middle of a six-week recovery from my second to last surgery…and the one that caused me the most agonizing pain that I have ever felt.
Still, I have grown enough to respond with a shrug of the shoulders. I grabbed an envelope, sent the bracelet and a book with an apology note, and mailed it to her anyway. I figured she will have to live with herself for spewing hateful words, words that, undoubtedly, she would never say to a person’s face but merely typed while in a rage and clicked the send button without pausing to think.
And that’s the way I look at things now.
If someone is bothered by something, it usually is more of a reflection on who that person is rather than the person they rage at. Sure, it’s not nice to receive hateful words, whether spoken or written. But I realize that those hateful words probably come from a hateful person. Certainly this person doesn’t have many ballroom moments in her life.
The same can be said about music, art, dance, and literature. We are moved by the cultural arts for a reason: we respond to it because it touches us. Musicians, artists, dancers, and writers produce work that comes from their heart. When someone is moved by it, that means that the artist did a great job. Sometimes we are moved to tears of joy; other times we are moved to tears of rage. Still, it means that artist triggered something in us, an emotion that rises to the surface and, in many cases, can be that ballroom moment.
Maybe that’s why I enjoy writing so much. I pull from my experiences, the good and the bad, to emotionally move people. My goal is to write romances that will touch my readers, set in an accurate Amish setting and full of well-developed characters. Each time I receive a comment or review, I realize that both the reader and I have just shared a ballroom moment. Together. And, just like this past weekend, I am humbled to have the honor of sharing those moments with you.