The Word of God

Dance With Me

senior couple dancing together

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.” August Wilson

The first person who ever uttered the phrase, “no good deed goes unpunished,” must have been quite an interesting character and someone you would have liked to have sat down with over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, depending on the time of day and how many nerves you have left at any given juncture. The meaning of this all-too-familiar phrase is fortunately or unfortunately played out in all our lives, one way or another. 

So consider for a moment the harrowing days of Junior High, or, more readily accessed today as Middle School, which, according to some, cannot compare to anything harder in life. Although that may or may not be debatable, we might all agree that it is an amazing, truly extraordinary time. Friendship, and how to master it for the rest of one’s life is probably one of the hardest lessons during this remarkable time. Maybe it should be a separate subject? 

Two almost-men, struggling with all the changes inside and out, trying to make sense of their feelings and place in the world, still embarking on a journey of life and pre-teenage, are good friends and have been as long as they could remember. The older boy, by about two months, always considered his friend as the little brother he never had, and the other, well, by extension, saw in his friend not only the brother he never had but also the only real semblance of family that he knew, another statistic of a broken, dysfunctional, and literally lost family, some of whom he didn’t even know their whereabouts. What his big brother knew was that this year he was going to have the best birthday ever, at least up to that point in time. 

This spectacular (his word of the week) birthday was all that was on his mind, dominating his thoughts and imaginations, during class, PE, even to the point of keeping a little red notebook with special ideas, invitation list, and party favors. He would, however, have to raise at least half the funds, his father had said, in order to make this a real sacrifice on his part, a condition he gladly accepted although it would take him years to fully comprehend. Some say that pleasure is not found in doing something but rather in planning it and certainly this was true for our young party planner. Soon the day would be upon them all, friends and food alike, and so he waited with the anticipation often described by Dr. Seuss: “Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”

The party day could not have been more beautiful. The boys’ friends had all arrived early, some bearing gifts, although that was not required, and some even bringing parents to help watch over the festivities. The games were flawless, laughter abounded every other minute, and all their favorite foods were plenty in abundance. Then came time for the cake and ice cream and the familiar traditional birthday song and maybe a few tears. This is about the time that things took a strange but very significant turn, one that has played over and over again in a certain man’s mind. 

Perhaps it was just the thought that anyone considered the birthday boy even deserving of a party and food was just a little too overwhelming. Maybe it was the excitement of feeling wanted and loved. Maybe it was all the sugar. As the gifts were brought out, the big brother sat in awe and a little self-satisfaction watching everyone having a great time at the hands of his planning and intent. Although he was never really looking for appreciation, or even thanks for that matter, when the guest of honor came to a certain gift given by a more-than-average, well-to-do schoolmate, something did take a turn. He got tennis shoes! And not just any tennis shoes for it was a pair of some famous, collector-brand that everyone was talking about and fewer who would ever clap their eyes on, let alone even wear. All the attention went to the gift and then quickly to the expression of that recipient. His face was glowing brighter than the candles on the cake and the oohs and aahs out-rivaled the birthday song. 

That was good because no one seemed to notice the effect this had on the birthday organizer. It was as if all the anticipation of this moment was swallowed up by this one, harmless, unintentional act of thunder-robbery. No one, that is, except his father. It may have been at that very point that this humble, loving and lovable dad in his mid-forties, came to understand, at least in part, a little of the ingrained and slowly growing resentment that festers between some, but not all, thankfully, parents and their adult children. The zenith of this revelation arrived when he witnessed first hand the hard sacrifice of one who wanted nothing but great things for the birthday celebrant. But all the expense of time and money were no match for a silly, unnecessary gift presented to him by one who is foolish not only with his money but with life itself. It was a sad, disconcerting moment to watch all his sacrifice be tossed away into a fire of meaningless empty talk of what really matters and what status we can achieve. He was, of course, projecting so many layers of past guilt and memory almost bringing him to an unusually quiet and stone-still stance holding multicolored balloons before they flew away. But there was so much happiness in that backyard that the strange tunnel of unrequited generosity bordering on animosity was completely lost on everyone, at least for now.

Days would pass and meanwhile, the party of the century was the talk of the school, and just as described by the three words that can and do describe what most people learn after walking this planet for more than fifty years or so, life went on. And so it did until one late Friday evening.

Our budding maître d’ was outside in the dusk hours of the close of one of those mystical October evenings putzing around with his bike or something when his dad spotted him from the garage, a man who also tended to spend time aimlessly. “What’s going on, Son?,” he asked gently. 

“You know, Dad. I saw you looking at me at the party. Did I do something wrong?,” came the sweet but slightly tormented retort. 

It was at this point that the relationship between this father and son would never be the same. It was the moment they both realized they shared more than DNA. It was a tender but brave world view. Of course his dad had been in Middle School too, and had his share of memories which he was about to impart.

Apparently, thirty years ago, somewhere, there was this tradition at the after school assemblies called the “block dance.” It was the practice of the coaches to teach young men how to be polite and ask girls to dance which, although was a simple enough task to achieve, was quite humiliating in many ways, perspectives we will not even venture to explore at this juncture. Small blocks of wood, such as the kindergarten toys of old, were placed in a row and girls were asked to stand behind them while the boys would select their dancing partner and politely, and very courteously ask them to dance. His father would remark how sad it was for some of the not-so-popular students who were left to the end, some never ever having a chance at the floor. It was this one particular afternoon that one of the coaches had forever changed his thinking about relationships and respect when he said to him, “You are going to ask Emily to dance.”

Emily was clearly not the most attractive of all the middle school girls. She was frumpy, a little shy, perhaps even lonely. She walked with a limp, he thought. 

“I can still see that day,” his father continued as his son’s eyes kept glued to each falling word. 

He remembered the anger at the coach when he was first ordered to ask Emily out on the dance floor and he knew that “no” was not going to be accepted. His own dad and the coach were best friends. All that melted away when he approached the girl who didn’t seem to realize what was happening at first. Slowly, he moved toward her and, stopping like the young gentleman he was, he quietly uttered the phrase embedded in the gathering cloud of treasured memories, “Emily, will you please dance with me?”

Never before has such an unmerited attitude been so richly rewarded. 

Emily acted as if she had been waiting forever for this invitation. She rose gingerly to her feet, smiled with a tint of embarrassment, took his hand and followed him out in front of the eyes of many who had as many different interpretations of the moment as there were students. She looked as if there was not going to be any more pain or ridicule. She literally floated on air with her gingham blue dress swaying as briskly as it could given the amount of starch it contained. The song ended, there was light applause, and Emily and her four-minute dance partner returned to the seats for a Styrofoam cup of punch or whatever they were serving. “I don’t know where Emily is now, Son,” his father continued, “and I don’t know if she even remembers that dance. I know I do.” 

He went on to explain that you don’t do good things because you want reward or praise or even because you feel sorry about someone and act out of guilt. You look for kind, selfless, wonderful ways to make memories and build up treasures in Heaven because “your heart will always be where your riches are.” (Matthew 6:21) 

For the one who lives by the belief that no good deed goes unpunished, and that it is better to go through life only taking care of yourself and guarding your heart from pain and sorrow, don’t ever say you weren’t warned.  It’s not going to happen. As Vivien Greene brilliantly wrote, Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

Share your thoughts (30 thoughts)

30 thoughts on “Dance With Me”

  • Brother Peter says:

    Thank you for another wonderful reflection. At my age I find myself looking back at these memories myself. Some good and some not so much. The Lord has given me many opportunities like the father in this story. Opportunities to touch someone’s life in a deep and profound way. Lord, for the times I made the right choice and made someone feel good, I offer it to your glory, for the times I failed to do your will, I ask for your forgiveness and mercy.

    • Caro says:

      Grateful as we always are for your visit, Brother, we wish you a great conclusion to this amazing month of August with the promise of hope and courageous understanding! Everyone needs a little help sometimes. After all, no one is meant to go through life alone. If life has given you blessings, it’s important to share those with your community. For some people, that could mean volunteering with a local charity or donating to a good cause. For others, sharing blessings might be as simple as having a conversation with someone or lending emotional support to a friend who is going through a tough time. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16) God bless you always, Brother! May the Lord inspire wonderful things in the upcoming new month of September.

    • Sandra Salinas says:

      Such a beautiful story! For me, “Dance With Me” relates to that specific moment when I wholeheartedly told God I was totally His, and to use me as His tool in whichever way He may need me. I agreed to be a small piece of that gigantic puzzle in order to bring His will to pass, no matter how big or how minute the task may be. My last child had left for college, and it was my turn to give back to God, for He had been with me every step of the way as I raised my children. “Dance With Me” speaks volumes to me personally because from the moment I agreed to be His tool, my life has been a an amazing and beautiful dance with my Lord. It hasn’t always been a Waltz; and, in fact, some tasks have been more along the lines of the Jitter Bug, or The Jerk. However, never letting go of my Lord’s hand, the dance has always led back to the Waltz, once the task at hand has been completed. “Dance With Me” my Lord asked, and I said yes. Thank you for this beautiful article. It has touched my heart.

      • Caro says:

        We are all so very grateful to you, Sandy, and all of our loyal readers for the kindness of your time is spending a few precious moments with us. “Dance With Me” had mixed reviews and after some personal reflection, it seems that not everyone has the experience of being looked over, left out, and unappreciated for the gifts they do not even know they have. This in itself is a mixed blessing. It is good to know that more and more people have escaped the ravages of adolescence and successfully made it into a healthy adulthood; and while that is good news, I pray that it does not harden hearts toward those who still carry wounds into the workplace, home, school, and yes, even into Church. Let us continue to pray for each other as we navigate through this amazing time of challenge and growth.

  • Veronica Altamirano says:

    Beautifully written story! It brought back so many memories of the times I’ve tried to teach my children to help others in every opportunity given, even if it may seem so small to us. My youngest daughter is such a giver and looks often for opportunities to give to the less fortunate and the immediate sadness that overcomes her when she initially sees their situations is not something I can teach to feel. It warms my heart to see her eyes light up and her body somehow becomes lighter when she sees the positive impact that she can create, truly priceless. I enjoy immensely seeing these moments occur. Keep these wonderful stories coming! God bless you always, City of Agape.

    • Caro says:

      What a great gift! Your youngest daughter has so much to teach all of us about how to invite others to dance with Jesus and see a world that can overcome the constant barrage of pettiness and pessimism. You have reminded all of us that the music begins in us to be shared with those who just wait to be asked to be part of a new world of living in the Spirit. Thank you for sharing part of your family with all of us. Life brings us as many joyful moments as it does downfalls, and although there are days we wish there was a manual to follow, it simply wouldn’t be the same without the spontaneity. The journey of life may not become easier as we grow older, but we do seem to understand it better as our perspectives evolve. Your daughter reminds us that it’s never too late to change what the future looks like.

  • Denise Guerra says:

    This is another great story on growing up. For me, it wasn’t middle school, it was high school and I was “Emily”. After every football game won, we would have a “victory dance”. Oh, how I waited for someone to ask me to dance. Having gone to school since first grade with most of my classmates, we were more like siblings than friends. It wasn’t until one of the boys in my class asked me to dance that changed the way I felt about myself. Him asking gave me the confidence to mingle with everyone and to not be a wallflower. I eventually became more outgoing thanks to this one boy who ventured to ask me to dance.

    • Caro says:

      Thank you very much, Denise, for sharing that wonderfully poignant memory with all of us. What courage! After reflecting on your thoughts this morning I began to wonder how often we do not realize what impact we make on people with just simple acts of kindness and generosity. Right before your comments posted, I was at the local grocery and in line right ahead of me was a lady purchasing among other things, a small tray of sushi. It was then that a loosely-lodged memory from last Christmas worked itself free and gave me yet another reason to be grateful and happy even in the face of so much challenge. You see, two days before Christmas, I was in that very same cashier’s line when a mother and son were about to pay for their food when the mother looked to him to say, “we’ve got to put this back, (holding the sushi,) because we just can’t afford it.” Without any further warranted need for a reason to be Christ at the “most wonderful time of the year,” I paid for it. The look of relief, gratitude, and simple joy, laced with tears, was probably the best gift ever. That’s what I think you mean to express through your dance memory. We are constantly being invited to all kinds of waltzes and trots and tangos that let our hearts be free from petty selfishness and pride while bringing joy to the least suspecting. It also reveals so much about our own self-images, too. Although I do not mean to suggest that you or I or any other reader who relates to this line of thinking to be an “ugly duckling,” there is a favorite line of mine from the Hans Christian Anderson story of the same name: “But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan.” Let us continue to dance through life with the assurance the Lord will always be there making sure that His music plays on. Thanks again, Denise. Your words inspire many.

  • Caro says:

    “So that’s how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that’s stolen from us – that’s snatched right out of our hands – even if we are left completely changed, with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence.” 

  • -K. says:

    This article sat with me for some time. The message hit close to home, literally.

    My mom has always been a giver. Any time a friend or a family member was in need, she never hesitated to help them in any and every way she could. Whether they needed a place to stay, or some money, she offered whatever she could to help them back on their feet. My mom and I both share that empathy. When she was unable to help for whatever reason, those friends and family would call me. And just like her, I never hesitated. Both of us liked to make homemade gifts to give to people and put a lot of thought into what would make them smile the most. My intention was to always bring the “happy” tears, and nine times out of ten, it worked! However, all of that costs money, even the homemade gifts, and our spouses, who maintain and watch over the finances, eventually tried to put a stop to it. It wasn’t because we were spending too much, but because we had been taken advantage of on several occasions.

    My mom had allowed a cousin of mine to stay at her home while he looked for a job. After a week of pulling his weight and promising he would make changes to his life for the better, he left without a goodbye, and had stolen items from the house (so we suspect). This had happened a couple times with him. But my mom still offered that helping hand. My dad wasn’t so forgiving and eventually turned him away.

    My case was similar, as I was always lending money to a friend struggling to make ends meet, and although she’d pay us back when she promised, it took one time when she didn’t, that put us in a hole financially, and my husband said “no more.” I had to stop. But this didn’t end at helping others financially. There was a time when I wanted to help others regarding mental health and my husband was more worried that it would affect me more negatively than not and that I’d become too invested in their stories; that I’d become depressed or obsessed with trying to help them get better, and I began to believe it wasn’t a good idea after all. I started to believe helping others was affecting my husband as well, in a not-so-positive way.

    After reading this beautiful article, it reminded me of the reason my mom and I give without hesitation: we are children of God, and as the old question goes, “What would Jesus do?” It comes naturally to us to want to help others, even in unconventional ways. The problems that our world is currently facing is is making these empathetic decisions to help others more and more difficult by the day. People are in need of so much more, financially, mentally, spiritually, and in the masses. It breaks my heart to not have the ability to help on a scale such as this, when so many members of my family are in desperate need. My mother is now very sick and unable to care for my grandpa and uncle whom she had been helping out financially since the did not want them going out for groceries due to the pandemic. She is working from home, against the doctors orders, because she doesn’t want to put too much on her coworkers (who I might add, don’t treat her so nicely). That’s just the way she is, and so am I. My dad called me, asking me to have my grandpa call my mom because he thought it would lift her spirits. He went on to rant about how he only comes around when he needs something, help with the computer or money, but can’t be bothered to call my mom when she’s sick.

    I let him rant and lash out, but knowing how my dad is, I didn’t think he would understand that, like me, my mom does these things because she cares and wants to make others happy, not for anything in return. I called my Grandpa and asked if he talked to my mom. Turns out he calls her every day, and even said he just spoke to her that morning. I don’t know what was going on with my dad, but this article served as a good reminder that we don’t do what we do to gain something in return; we do these things because it’s the right thing to do. When my mom gets better (God willing) she is going to continue to help others because that is who she is. And I for one, am so blessed to have inherited this trait from her. But I’m these times when help is needed in the masses, we’ve kept our faith up that God is working on a plan. We are just serving as his extra hand and aiding Him until the Glory of His plan is released to the world. Our fight to bring compassion and empathy back to our families and communities cannot and will not stop here. One day our spouses will understand. They just worry is all. Thank you so much for this article. It truly relit this fire within me that as long as we have patience and compassion, and the means to spread love however we choose, the darkness cannot bring us down; it has no chance. The darkness cannot exist without light, for it is merely the illusionistic absence of it. And God is there every step of the way. Bless you for yet another captivating article. Looking forward to more.

    • Caro says:

      Thank you very much for returning to our pages and with such a deep and heartfelt response as the Agape Readers and I have come to respect, enjoy, and expect. Once again, these blog posts bring out so many different memories, some of which resonate remarkably with many of our readers and will “open the eyes” of others who perhaps have experienced similar feelings and are now able to grapple and articulate them. I found myself wondering simultaneously whatever happened to those fortunate recipients of those wonderful homemade gifts and the relative who clearly took advantage of the generous hospitality of your family. But whatever the results of those incidents, what is of primary importance is what we do today with what we know about life through the telling and retelling of our stories. And finally, I would like to share with you something I read this morning which hopefully and not only helps develop our reflection but also prepares us for the next article: “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” (David W. Augsburger, “Caring Enough to Hear and Be Heard.”) Let us all, then, do the good we want to do not for the reward or the recognition, but only for the satisfaction that we bring a glowing smile upon the face of Jesus. Talk to you soon!

  • Mary Ann Ramos says:

    Once again, your beautifully told story stirred up so many memories of good and humble people in my own life. Our Good Lord has given me many examples. This story also brought to mind the Litany of Humility. I’m so sure you know it is a very powerful prayer which reminds us to put others’ needs before our own. In these times of self-centered narcissism, thank you so very much for this pure of heart story of giving and loving!

    • Caro says:

      Mary Ann, we are so happy upon your return to these pages. I am glad that we have made a difference today thanks be to God the holy Spirit who inspires the writer and readers. For those unfamiliar with the Litany of Humility you mentioned, here it is:

      O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
      From the desire of being esteemed,
      Deliver me, Jesus. (repeat after each line)
      From the desire of being loved,
      From the desire of being extolled,
      From the desire of being honored,
      From the desire of being praised,
      From the desire of being preferred to others,
      From the desire of being consulted,
      From the desire of being approved,
      From the fear of being humiliated,
      From the fear of being despised,
      From the fear of suffering rebukes,
      From the fear of being calumniated,
      From the fear of being forgotten,
      From the fear of being ridiculed,
      From the fear of being wronged,
      From the fear of being suspected,
      That others may be loved more than I,
      Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (repeat after each line)
      That others may be esteemed more than I ,
      That, in the opinion of the world,
      others may increase and I may decrease,
      That others may be chosen and I set aside,
      That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
      That others may be preferred to me in everything,
      That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,

      • Mary Ann Ramos says:

        That’s it! Thank you for sharing it in your reply! I hope it helps your readers as much as it helps me! God bless you!

  • Julie T says:

    As one of your readers commented “Wow! What a great story!” Indeed it was, just in the title alone! Everyone remembers my mother as a prayerful christian woman and my father as a very generous and respectful christian man. Both being very humble. I would like to think of myself as having inherited both of these values. I pray that I have passed these on to my children. My middle child, a son, was born after two miscarriages. I prayed and asked our Lord to let this child be born. He was born after a few complications but he was born healthy. He was born so healthy that he was so hard to handle and control. This time I didn’t ask our Lord but I told him “Lord! You put this child on this earth for me but I need you to help me take care of him! We both struggled as he was growing up but there was something very special about him. I would see him praying on his knees in his room, which made me very thankful. In high school he started hanging around some boys that were a little shady. They came from broken homes, from areas of town where there were gangs and drugs. My husband being a high school teacher and knowing these boys was very concerned. I kept watching him and noticed he wasn’t participating in these acts but helping his friends. He brought a friend home one weekend because he didn’t know where his mother was or when she was coming home. He ended up going to mass with us on Sunday. One of my husband’s co workers told my husband what he had done at a party, that we didn’t know about, but he had taken her daughter home after she had had too much to drink and other boys were starting to take advantage of her. This girl’s mother was very greatful…and the stories go on and on. I told my husband that our son was trying to change some of these lives. To this day he is very helpful to anyone that needs help…and he doesn’t like recognition. I thank God everyday for my three children and i’m very proud of all of them, but there’s something special about my middle child. He loves to dance!!
    Thank you for another inspiring story. Please keep them coming!

    • Caro says:

      How beautiful, Julie! Thank you so very much for sharing with us and trusting your deepest thoughts with our readers. One of the aspects of this outreach from CityOfAgape Charitable Foundation is to watch with amazement how different Scripture passages, Bible studies, and Inspirational Blog posts affect different people in any different ways. Yours is one of those. The story and the characters in the post helped remind you of your family and the way God has acted through all the events of your lives. That helps so many other people that it would be hard to imagine the beauty that this brings. One of the element that I took away from your response perhaps comes from my own perspectives and memories. I loved the way you pointed out how each of your children have their own strengths and weaknesses and how the middle child has become a sort-of-healing dancer! What a great image for life. When you dance to your won rhythm, life taps its toes to your beat.

  • Ram says:

    Wow! This was a great story. This reminded me of something I have been going through for years. When we give, it should be from the heart with no expectations in return. For many years, I have been giving of myself to do for others. There are time when I am being taken advantage of but I focus on Him. With my faith, strength and God, I am able to focus on the end result…serving Him.

    • Caro says:

      Excellent remarks! I concur with your statement about always giving from your heart but we must remember that gratitude is also a reasonable expectation. Even Jesus wondered where the other nine healed lepers went so fast without so much as a “see ya’.” I guess we could agree today that true generosity means accepting ingratitude while remember the immortal words of Mark Twain who comically imparted to the world: If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” Still, Jesus would have us follow Him while focusing on the WHY we do anything. You are so right.

  • Leona G. says:

    I was taught it is better to give than receive. Even if you don’t have a lot you share what you have with an open heart. Always do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is the way my mother raised her children and I have tried to pass it on to my children and grandchildren. Well written and a good reminder to us all. God blesses you with your writing talent and thankfully you are sharing it with us.

    • Caro says:

      Welcome back, Leona, and thank you for reminding us of some of the most basic truths we have to live on, exemplified by the death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. You suggest to me and others that at the end of our lives, we may never be able to pay back the people in this world who have sustained our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices. Thank you, Leona, and May God continue to bless with strength and peace during these times. “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ― John Holmes

  • Kris says:

    I anxiously wait every week to the next article/story knowing that at least for a moment I will be transported to my inner space of memories.
    The image of birthday party and even better the dance floor are to me allegories of life.
    On one hand it is a strong desire to be loved, to belong, to be celebrated, to be seen and noticed, to be appreciated and valued.
    On the other hand there is a fear of rejection, of being unwanted, of not fitting to the world around, with the low self esteem that like an evil fallen angel whispers belittling words that we are useless, worthless and a pathetic looser.

    It takes so very little to make an amazing impact on the life of another human being.
    Symbolic “gift of tennis shoes” or simply inviting someone to “the dance floor.“

    Let then be “unpublished good deed”. It is better to suffer unjust punch for doing good that to have regrets of not being there for someone who waited in a corner of a dance hall not ever being invited to dance.

    Great article. Waiting for the next one.
    God bless

    P.S. check this great song: “Dance me to the end of love.”

    • Caro says:

      The Agape Readers and I look forward to your insights with the same expectation, it appears, that you await these posts and articles. For that, on this fine day, we give thanks. While we grope with the longings of love, community, and celebration, there are moments along the way that shine bright light on that noble quest, and today we find in the image of the dance another glimpse into the meaning of the struggle. Thank you for your remarks and for the gift of the great song, “Dance Me to the End of Love,” which I know our readership will also enjoy as I have. My favorite line in your offering was this: “It is better to suffer unjust punch for doing good that to have regrets of not being there for someone who waited in a corner of a dance hall not ever being invited to dance.”

      Dance with the waves,
      move with the sea.
      Let the rhythm of the water
      set your soul free.

  • Gabriel Estrada says:

    This is a touching story all can relate to. I love the beginning of finding Joy’s in the preparings of life. And so it was with creation as God slowly prepared the world and established man our of nothing. We have a choice to either respond to the things that happen around us or participate in God’s goodness and create good things and more so for others

    • Caro says:

      Thank you so very much, Gabriel, for taking your most valuable time and effort to respond to the story and to help others as well. Your comments today along with your past posts reminded me this morning of the opening quote: “Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.” People who know you see this daily dance in your life and appreciate your life all the more because of it. You remind us that we can’t always choose the music life plays for us, but we can choose how we dance to it. Have a blessed day and a better tomorrow!

  • Tony Montez says:

    This story transported me back to middle school and some of my most treasured memories. By luck I was a popular 14 year old. At that time, my parents were looking to buy a bigger house for our large family. In the process, my mother met another mother who also had a 14 year old son Richard. Richard was unable to attend school because of cancer. He would have gone to my rival school. My mother asked me to visit Richard at his home. I wasn’t enthusiastic about my mom’s request. However, as we come to discover, mother’s requests are obeyed.
    I enjoyed meeting Richard and sitting in his room learning his interests. To my surprise, Richard knew a little about me from football programs. His mother would take him to games to the extent he could tolerate the outing. I didn’t actually believe Richard would die, but he did.
    My mother approached me again with a request that, to this day, stirs my heart. Richard’s mother asked if I would attend Richard’s rosary and bring my friends so there would be kids his age in attendance. She said it would help the family in their grief. When I asked my friends everyone was on board. There were 8 of us planning to attend. However, when we drove to the pick up point, I was met at the door by one of my guy friends who said they weren’t going after all because they didn’t know Richard. Everyone backed out except Karen. We were the only two kids Richard’s age at his rosary. His family gave us hugs and thanked us for being there when Karen and I extended our condolences.
    I can’t adequately describe the feeling that came over me when his family asked how I knew Richard. All I could answer was “we were friends.” To my astonishment that happened 48 years ago. Karen is retired and enjoys being a grandma. We still keep in touch.
    I’ve shared this story with my own two daughters when their friends have let them down when presented with an opportunity to show compassion and maybe lighten a heavy heart. In this sense, I ask my daughters to dance with me so they can dance with others.

    • Caro says:

      Wow, Tony! That was truly great and I know all our readers will truly enjoy your dislodged middle school memory just as much as I did, if not more. I loved the addition of your mother’s intervention, just like at the Wedding at Cana, the lack of those who said they would join you but didn’t, reminiscent of the two sons who said “yes” and “no” and did not follow through, and of course, that the fact that you and Karen are still friends. My ultimate favorite line was certainly this one: “I’ve shared this story with my own two daughters when their friends have let them down when presented with an opportunity to show compassion and maybe lighten a heavy heart. In this sense, I ask my daughters to dance with me so they can dance with others.” Yes, indeed. Another reader texted me this line which I know you will appreciate: Life’s a dance, you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. Life’s a dance, you learn as you go. Keep praying, keep loving, keep dancing!

  • Ron says:

    As a young man, when I was tasked with doing something that I felt others could do or should do, I would ask myself, “why me?” I would take on the task with resentment and just a touch of anger. I had better things to do and there are others just standing around not doing anything. Why couldn’t they be doing this mundane chore? Why did it have to be me? Decades later (regrettably it took that long), I look back upon those moments that were really opportunities – opportunities to grow and learn. God gave me two strong arms and two strong legs in order for me to contribute and use my talents to help others. What had been missing was my willingness in mind and spirit to use these physical gifts to enrich the lives of others. I was always thinking of myself and putting myself first. Selfishness is the sinner’s gateway drug.
    I now live by the axiom that we are given our gifts, but we must develop our character. So, instead of saying “why me,” I now say, “why not me?” God loves a cheerful giver. God bless you!

    • Caro says:

      Greetings, Ron and thank you for returning to these pages! Your insight about opportunities in service that help us mature and ripen in our road to Heavenly glory are brilliant. What we have been given is for others as are the gifts that we receive from others, even the most unsuspecting characters in our life’s ongoing novel. “Why no me?,” indeed. Please Lord, make me an instrument of your peace!

    • Randall says:

      Ron, thank you for your insight. What you said about having strong arms and legs hit me hard because it made me think of all those less fortunate than me. I’ve had so many chances to help others but always found other things to do. I pray that God puts me where he wants me and in front of whoever he wants me to encounter so that I can use my arms and legs for his glory.

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