With a husband motivated to sample European cheeses and little boys itching to be outside, we found ourselves at the public market on a Saturday winding through the booths of apples and leeks and spicy pickles.
The crowd flowed by the bell peppers and the pineapples and the asparagus and eventually pooled in a small circle around a man singing and playing the guitar. A woman with red hair and bright blue leggings started to dance, her movements as wavy as her hair. Even though she drew our attention, she seemed to not need an audience. She seemed to just need to dance.
A little girl, I’m guessing about 6 years old, made her way closer to the musician. At first she swayed in her long, dark coat. Then, she danced, too. Sometimes she imitated the woman across from her, but mainly she moved her own way.
A toddler in a stroller started smiling and then waving his arms at the woman and the musician. And his mom sat next to him and tapped her feet.
Isn’t it always this way?
One brave soul begins to dance and that gives others permission to take a chance, permission to be vulnerable and share their art. One man takes to the podium and shares with the world his dream of a day when all are equal and that gives others confidence and direction.
One mother says no more to addiction and abuse and generations are changed. One co-worker pulls up a chair and tells us we can do better than this I’m-rushing-but-I-can’t-keep-up life, and we all sigh and relax our shoulders. We start to spend more time and money and grace on people.
One person issues the invitation and others, buoyed by her courage, begin to dance. It works in a group of millions, or hundreds or two because when we share – our art, our story, our truth, even our struggles – it strengthens us and our faith.
It reminds us we aren’t alone and our dance matters.
It matters among the beets and the carrots at the market. It matters at home, in the coffee shop and in the cubicle. It matters in the pews, in the studio and in the seat of the tractor.
It’s always this way. Your dance matters.