Friday, January 17, 2014

The Best of Me

I have always wanted to be a ballerina! This is a confession I have held close to my heart for a very long time. I remember as a little girl watching the Nutcracker on tv and being so excited to see this production live at a local theater one Christmas. As an adult, I stumbled across Boca Ballet Theatre, which offered classes for adults. I enrolled for the mere fact that this class was for beginners - for those who had never donned pink tights or black leotards. The first class I remember looking down at my new pink leather ballet shoe as I stood and swept my foot across the gypsum floor. Swooosssshhhhh.... This was the sound of a dream long delayed. A fantasy being lived. An experience I did not feel worthy of having!

I looked forward to the weekly class. There were women of all ages, and we giggled when we could not get the sashay portion just right. I really liked the part where we would all go to the barre and stretch in unison. My feet were slowly moving before my brain to the direction of the instructor. Our instructor was a porcelain skinned flame red petite Russian woman whom I secretly wished I could become. For three straight years we all attended each performance of the Boca Ballet, as we would meet different students throughout the year. The students would perform with the professionals. I felt so proud as I watched the performances, that I knew the position of their feet and what each foot stance was called. I was learning!

One day in our living room as I chatted to my husband just minutes before going to my ballet class, my husband cut me off in mid sentence, "You were born for ballet." I smiled as a lump formed in my throat. I hugged him and did a quick pirouette just because I knew how! I then threw a sweatshirt over my leotard, tied my black skirt around my hips, then threw my pink shoes in my bag. I was out the door on my way to a place filled with beautiful music, people, and bodies that existed to dance.

Why did I miss out on this joy all my life? Why did I not do something I was born to do? Tears began to trickle down my face. I had known all along the answers to these questions, but stuffed them deep down until now. My mother told me the shoes cost too much. Most likely lessons would have as well. And it was not hard to realize the effort and time spent on this activity would no doubt take her away from my other 3 sisters and my father and her full time job. The shoes being expensive were probably the one reason my mother gave, and I had never pursued ballet afterward.

I swam with reckless abandon(and now swim Boca Gold Masters), ran spring track, tried my hand at field hockey, tennis and cheerleading. Swimming was my sport. I had success in a sport that took the place of a skill that I had been born to do.

And God says to me as I sit here and type these honest-hard to hear words,  "I knew you before you were in your mother's womb. Every day ordained for you." (Psalm 139)

Yes God, I know you were and are and always will be in control of everything in my life. If you had wanted me to be a ballerina, I would be a ballerina.

And yet, the best of me? The best of me is who I am today, not what I could have been or wished I had been. The best of me is accepting God's plan for my life. And using the gifts and talents He has given me to bless others and to inspire others to achieve what God has given them to do.

I am grateful to be a resilient person. My husband always calls me a cheapskate. I learned this from my father and his father. My father was always so frugal and worked very hard, but now I am grateful for this trait of his because he is financially independent and doing well in his retirement years. He saved many years and now is reaping the fruits of his labor. In many ways, this is wisdom!

During the bad year of South Florida hurricanes, I remember being quite proud of my ability to get things done without electricity for 13 days straight. I remember going to the neighbor's house (we were "communing" for meals during the outage as it was easier and more fun to eat dinner this way each night). I decided I would make a loaf of bread in my bread maker hooked up to the generator. Yes! A loaf takes 4 hours. I had resigned myself to realizing this would not work as it was a gas generator and not too powerful. However, when I showed up with a loaf of fresh bread (no stores were open for miles and miles and everyone was rationing gas) everyone cheered. I realized defying the odds in this situation allowed the best of me - the person who could press forward toward a goal and win. (Philippians 3:14) I took what I had been given and made the best of the situation. This is just one example for me personally regarding "blooming where you are planted". Everyone has their own story about what they do when life gives them lemons.... (personally, I would use them to highlight my hair - the cheapskate that I am ha ha!)

Today, after many years, the original ballet shoes I bought for my very first class are proudly displayed. I will never be able to part with my first wraparound skirt or leotard. My first pink tights may dry rot and turn to dust, but I will keep them forever. God gives us dreams fulfilled. He promises this in the here and now. He will restore the years the locust has eaten (Joel 2:25). The locust has eaten many of my years, but the Lover of my soul, the Lord who made me will never stop reminding me that I am His princess ballerina, His beloved daughter in whom He delights. I dance solely for Him, I pirouette like the ballerina on the jewelry box I cherished as a child. The Best of Me has been sculpted and developed for the Perfection of Who He is. As long as He is happy with who I am and who I have become - I will continue to sashay closer toward Him in my pink tights and black wraparound skirt. One day I will enter His gates wearing a robe of pure white. I might just wear my ballet outfit - just because after all, I was born to be a ballerina!!!

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