Excitement filled the fall air as my first ballet class at the coveted Judy Marsh School of dance had arrived. At a mere tender age of eight yet feeling well on my way to becoming a budding prima ballerina. Thoughts long had danced in my mind laced with ballet shoe ribbons, twirling images of lavish costumes and billowing tutus.
And now entering my class full of anticipation accompanied by jittery nerves. Newly purchased pink tights providing necessary support to my now wobbly knees. Little ballerinas all a flurry while small hands and feet energetically removing our coats and shoes. Emerging ready to dance, donning soft pink leather ballet shoes scurrying to position ourselves at the polished wooden ballet barre lining the mirror. Miss Marsh’s serene voice instructing and encouraging her little ballerinas to greatness.
Each week I was resolved to faithfully attend class, while at home committed to practicing my newly learned dance steps. As the weeks progressed my enthusiasm digressed with each class technique I could not master. What I had envisioned for myself and what I was capable of doing were two completely different things. From my perspective, it seemed so effortless, yet it was considerably harder and more difficult to perform causing my spirits to droop right along with my tights.
My slouching deposition heightening after each class as I returned to a car filled with the wafting smell of delicious Fryer Tuck spuds. Wishing I had skipped class and ate those tender morsels right along with my waiting mom and brother. Questioning yet again if class time was worth missing out on the pipping hot bounty of potato wedges as I dug into the foil bag for a few lukewarm leftovers. This ballerina was swiftly losing passion and appeared on all accounts to be ready for her final swan song.
Finding myself ready to prepare for the final curtain call on my short lived aspirations, a second wind arose upon learning Mrs. Marsh had a Christmas surprise for each of us. Gathering at the ballet barre, anxiously wiggling and chatting, one by one we had our waists measured for her plans. Within a few short moments it was time for the golden tape to be slipped around my waist soon revealing its’ measurements. Completely confident of the proper etiquette when having one’s waist measured I did what I thought was the right thing to do… you take a deep breath and suck it all in !
However, this “right” answer turned out to be terribly “wrong” considering I was getting fit for a tutu made with a snap closure waistband. Elastic would have been far more forgiving for a girl who loved Fryer Tuck spuds so dearly.
For immediately upon wearing this heavenly white tutu of layered tulle with a satin waistband, it exploded off my unrestricted waist every time I bowed to plie or breathe normally. The class erupted in wild giggles, instantly becoming the unintentional class clown, cheeks warm from the blush of embarrassment. The dream of being a refined and elegant ballerina was already fading fast and now it was gone in a “snap” because of my too tight tutu. The time had indeed come to lay to rest the dream of learning ballet, thus choosing to retire this tutu and shoes into a box of memories.
Many years have passed since that final curtain call and still somehow those memories seemed rather unfinished. Thus, I began to trust in a God that loves to restore what the locust have eaten. Deciding in my late twenties to give ballet a good old college try regardless of my mediocre skills… signing up at Mt Hood Community College.
Mustering up the nerve to face my fears and attempt to relearn ballet . Once again I found myself in the same predicament… never finishing this class either. However, God who is so loving and full of mercy brought me needed healing; gently reminding me it’s all about the journey and never about the envisioned or perceived destination. For not only did this class bring me more closure to my first wildly “unsnapped” ballet ending, it also gave me the idea of starting a cottage business making ballerina bears… which by the way is a whole other story!
Do you ever feel like you don’t measure up? Perhaps you’ve had to “suck it up” to fit in. God’s word lovingly encourages us, “not to compare ourselves with each other as if one of us was better and the another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives, each of us is an original “.* Though I was too young to know then what I’m journeying to fully grasp now, my heart is profoundly grateful to God for… “By His grace I am what I am, and His grace towards me was not in vain.”** And so it is with you.. because you matter incomparable to Him, more then measuring up in His eyes, as He beckons you to breathe freely and generously, His heart bursting with love and acceptance for the one of a kind you. So come into His presence fully accepting all He longs to give you, arms open wide to embrace you… too tight tutu and all. While possibly saying to yourself “Oh Snap” Why didn’t I do this sooner….
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.
Psalm 30:11 The Message (MSG)
* I Cor.15:10 NKJ Bible ** Gal. 5:26 The Message Bible