Editor’s note: Madeline McKissick, FMS Development Associate, reflects on her passion for dance and that correlation to the Lord’s relationship with each of his children. The beauty of the combined movement, the giving and taking between two entities, and the goodness of new creation from mutual reciprocity.
I began taking dance classes when I was in Kindergarten. At first, I thought it was fun to wear my pink ballet shoes and spin around to make my skirt twirl. The pretty movements and poses that I learned made me feel like a princess. I easily found the joy in dance.
As I grew up, I became more serious about dance as an art form. I worked hard to improve my technique, and I became stronger and more disciplined, but I never forgot the childlike wonder of dance. I truly fell in love with dance, and I always cherished the joy and freedom that come from movement.
I knew that doing a year of service would mean taking a hiatus from dance. I don’t have much free time to take a class or teach, but I know that dance will somehow always be part of my life, even if it’s just dancing for myself in my room.
When I first moved into the Casa, I took a walk with one of the house managers. As we walked, Julia and I started talking about dance, and she said that she likes to think of discernment and following God’s will as a dance. She took the word “guidance” and explained how it spells “God, you and I dance.”
On Mondays, we have community nights, which means we all get together to do a fun, relaxing, or faith-based activity. On one community night in October, it was my turn to lead, and I knew what I wanted to do. I’ve been missing dance so much, and I wanted to share something I love with the people I love, so I decided to dance with my community. I taught them contact improvisation, which involves dancing spontaneously without choreographed movement while physically interacting with other dancers. I chose to teach contact improvisation because it’s something that non-dancers can learn easily, and because it builds trust, vulnerability, and teamwork.
After giving a lesson in contact improvisation and watching several spontaneous duets and trios unfold throughout the evening, we completed community night with a few discussion questions. My community members shared the ways that dance relates to faith. Some connected faith to dance through freedom, trust, enjoying the present moment, and vulnerability. Finally, Fede related the intersection of free will and God’s will to a dance.
I meditated on what it means to dance with God and to let him guide me. I used to hold on to what I wanted for my life and what I thought was best. A year or so ago, I finally learned to surrender and truly trust in the Lord. Spending time with God in prayer has helped me to want what he wants for me. As I dance with him, I let him take the lead and I do my best to follow. Repeating “God, you and I dance,” helps me to discern his will and follow his plan. I move with him and enjoy the beautiful dance that unfolds between us. I see and feel how he’s moving in my life, and because I follow in his footsteps, I trust that my dance through life pleases him.