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Archive for March, 2010

This was a short poem or reflection of sorts after I watched the movie Invictus, a movie about Nelson Mandela’s fight to rebuild a nation torn from the devastation of Apartheid.

For the past few days I have become so self-focused that I have lost sight of life itself.

I forgot that I was born into a war that I did not start.
I did not choose to enter a world full of hatred, despair and conflict…but I did.

And so I have before me a choice:
Whether to lay down as the bullets whiz by my ears or to stand up, wounds and all and step forward.

The pain is inevitable, but I want to fight…to live for something more than myself.
To live with courage and soul…to live for the very things that I feel incapable of.
To live with heart in a war I did not start

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Two weeks ago a couple friends and I decided to go to a a free ballroom dancing class.  Why you may ask?  Well…it was something that I had never tried and thought that it would be a lot of fun.  In my innocence I was just looking forward to a good time, but I was in for a surprise.

We arrived at the dance studio and the instructor was teaching about 40 people beginning foxtrot.  He showed a couple simple steps and then we practiced with different partners in the room.  During this time, I was very nervous but excited.  It was quite exhilirating learning how to do the promenade, the right turn, the backstep, and the promenade into the twirl.  All in all I felt confident that I had officially become a “ballroom dancer.”

However, the lessons had just begun.  The studio switched from a class to a dance floor where an assortment of music was played: swing, salsa, and waltz.  Me with my newfound courage in ballroom dancing asked a young woman to dance with me.  She kindly said “yes.”  So with my chest out I took her out to the dance floor and proceded to practice what I learned just minutes before.  But in the swirl of dancers and uncertainty over the steps I ended up “falling flat” on my face.  The young woman was getting flustered trying to make suggestions on what steps I needed to do, but it ended up making me feel more deflated.  When the song was over, I said thank you and ran to the opposite end of the floor to be consoled by my friends.  In that short amount of time I learned a lot not only about dancing, but about cross gender relationships.  Here are a few points:

1. The guy needs to be confident in leading – On the dance floor I was a complete novice and my lack of confidence showed very quickly.  It not only made dancing very difficult, but made the girl very uncomfortable.  This is also true in relationships.  The guy does not have to “have it all together,” but for the most part women want their men to be confident in who they are.

2. The guy’s role is to protect the woman – One of the ways that the woman feels safe in being led is the knowledge that the guy will keep her from bumping into other people on the dance floor.  Because the woman generally has her back turned in the direction of the dancing, the guy is the one to make sure she is protected from other dancers.  In a similar way, one of the guy’s role in relationships is to protect the woman and make her feel safe.  Once again this does not mean that she is unable to fend for herself, but it puts the woman at ease to know that guy is leading her to where she will not get “bumped into.”

3. The woman needs to be led – When the woman does not feel safe in a relationship, she tends to try and control the situation and lead.  This is what the young woman tried to do with me on the dance floor.  She ended up trying to lead the dancing, but it did not work.  If she had relaxed and allowed me to make my fumbles, but accept that I was just a novice, things might have been a lot better.  In a similar manner, when the guy is not “up to par” the woman needs to have confidence that the guy will eventually learn “how to dance.”  This is a very difficult position for the woman to be in, but if she stands by her man through his fumbles with reassuring words and gestures, the man will surely learn how to dance.

4. Have fun – People are at different levels of dancing.  Some have been dancing for years and some are complete novices.  But dancing is supposed to be fun.  Although, there is always room for improvement do not compare yourself with others and just enjoy yourself.  This is true also in cross gender relationships.  Everyone is different.  Some are more relationally savy.  Some deal with conflict better and some are complete nubies in relationships.  But relating with the opposite gender is supposed to be a great joy.  God made human beings in his image: both male and female.  Both genders reveal different aspects of God, but together a much clearer picture of God’s nature is revealed.

Therefore, through the ups and downs; the stepping on one another’s toes, bumping into others, learn to enjoy one another for the unique person that they are.  And enjoy the moment, one dance at a time.

So go out ballroom dancing sometime and let me know if you learn any other lessons concerning relationships.

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