Tomorrow I am taking an all day cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America for the first time….this made me think of my blog post with the lists of “What makes me happy” and “What do I do for fun”. Tomorrow is the beginning, and yet a continuation, of pursuing my passion to be a great cook and baker. I don’t want to be a chef or own a restaurant. I simply want to prepare great food for my friends and family in my home…. this makes me happy!
These two lists seem to be ever present in my thoughts since originally writing the first blog post about it. I am continually practicing, and giving myself permission, to allow joy to pervade into my everyday life, in as many ways as possible. I now see and feel joy in my life throughout most of my days. Sometimes it is just a matter of recognizing it and making a mental note…”Oh, that made me happy!” or “Well that was fun!” Music has been one of those, “Wow, this really makes me happy!”
Because of my hip hop dance background, listening to music once moved me in a way that nothing else could. I felt incredibly alive while I was dancing, choreographing, or even teaching a dance. My face would light up with expressions to match the mood of the dance. I loved expressing myself through dance, using my face and body, whether it was choreographed or free styling on the dance floor. I could dance while sitting on the floor, standing up, or could even find a groove while sitting in a chair! (I always loved the way Janet Jackson incorporated the use of chairs in one of her numbers in her Rhythm Nation tour!)
I lost all of this life and joy that came to me through dance and music, even before my husband died. I stopped all dancing. I could not have danced even if I had wanted to move. It had been my life for about 20 years from high school through my professional years. I stopped listening to music all together…but again, it was a necessary season. I would drive in complete silence for all day road trips. I would even cook in silence. The silence nourished me and allowed my thoughts to process life. Those were years that I needed silence…now the tide has turned.
I have grown tired of the silence. Music creates life wherever it is played, and my surroundings, my mind, and my body have been craving the new life and energy that music brings to the room. My body feels like it is coming out of a long slumber. A new season is upon me and God is bringing music and dance back into my life for me to enjoy… and it makes me happy! As it says in Ecclesiastes, there is a season for mourning and a season for dancing. I think the dancing season is finally in bloom! It came on me gradually like fruit grows on a tree…first the bud, then a flower, and finally the fruit.
I now listen to great music in the car and I can dance my body while in the driver’s seat, with or without my kids in the car! While waiting on my friend last week as she shopped in a luggage store, a great dance song was playing over their speakers. Without even thinking about it, or realizing it, my body was dancing to the beat right by the front door to the store on 6th avenue in New York City. When I realized what I was doing I began to giggle. No one saw me, but the great thing was that I did not care if they had!
It makes me happy that I can feel music again. Music, and lyrics, are stirring me once again and it feels like a deserted fire has been rekindled inside of me and is burning once again…and its plain old fun!
I love that God thought through all of these seasons and gave us these promises in His word to back up this new season where I now find myself.
“Happy are those who trust in the Lord and made the Lord their hope and confidence.” Jeremiah 17:7
“And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again, dear virgin Israel. You’ll resume your singing, grabbing tambourines and joining the dance.”…”You will again be happy and dance merrily…” Jeremiah 31:4
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.” Psalms 30:11
In the Message translation it says it this way, ”You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you. God, my God, I can’t thank you enough.”
God, I can’t thank you enough. You kept my eyes straight ahead through the season of mourning and now my eyes get to behold the season of dance….this makes me happy!