Monday, July 15, 2024

The Soapbox: Life’s more than a dance

Welcome to my garden. Those are the four words someone will hear if they visit me in my kitchen. I have a pitiful bottle garden of three herbs: parsley, basil, and failing cilantro. This is single life. We pamper our cats and grow seeds in the kitchen. My smoke alarm battery has been beeping for two weeks around the clock, but I am too short to deal with it and stopped hearing it so I forget to ask the tall people for help. Colleagues on conference calls don’t keep me as long anymore, while I pretend I have a pet parakeet. For the last three years I have owned several TVs, but not really paid much attention to them at all. I’ve had no more than five potential suitors drop one off in the box and there they currently remain. It’s just not that important in my grand scheme of singlehood.

Single women and men that are called to marriage are bearing a double load that necessarily was not intended for them. I thought the TV gesture was nice, but those guys had to get back home to tend to their laundry and dusting. The closest I’ve come to real follow through is a man once put my leaf blower together and after he left I cleaned my garage. That was nice. But the acts of service were short-lived as he shortly thereafter met a woman with a formidably sized femur. I get it. The femur is one of the most unique bones in the body, imparting intel about the signs of life, the history of a people, and even age at death. Why wouldn’t a man be attracted to a femur? Unproven speculations about the healed femur amidst anthropological finds point toward signs of civilized society in which someone was broken, helped by another, then subsequently healed.

For someone that does not do a lot of online dating anymore, I sure find myself talking about it more than anyone I know. What I have observed is the rampant brokenness in the community of singles who are in search of a spouse. What I wish my Sunday School Sister So and So’s knew is that in spite of a girl’s methodical selection process, some of these dudes still try’n decide on their choice of two or three others together in the bedroom complete with a customized gender mix that may include women, men, or other. It’s not like it used to be.

Hence, my pursuit of human touch through ballroom dancing affords most of my friends medals and trophies for their time and dollar investment. I, on the other hand, prefer to lose myself in the swell of the big band and to be handed a trophy of a fried chicken femur with a heapin’ helpin’ of mashed potatoes! The unspoken rule of thumb is somebody has to eat. It’s either going to be the teacher with all the money I paid for more lessons or the student—me! Sign me up for the soirées!

After one year, I’ve learned the basic patterns for many of the American smooth and rhythm dances with a little bit of the international styles. Couple that with a dash of Cajun wedding party flair and it’s enough for a girl to have safe fun surrounded by friends. We all have an equal disdain for the girl in every man’s head – Miss Perfect Air Partner. She can do no wrong. Nevertheless, each one of our dance friends has their own special value and unique talent.

On my worst night, my dance instructor Melanie bent down on one knee, rebuckled my shoe, and talked me through the moment. I felt like a little kid backstage and then realized that her life represents so much more than dance. She works with the heart of the dancer. We are all enriched because of this group that fosters respect, purity, dancing, dining, friendships, sparkles, and sometimes feathers! Basically, all a girl’s deepest desires.

Without caution, it can be a dangerous sport since it involves a non-air partner that is real and can be touched. There is very little lasciviousness in my group of friends, but the risk is always there. Most of us would agree that light and darkness cannot co-exist, the effort must be intentional to keep us free from the problem that is common to man.

While some of the group is there for the sheer thrill of competition, many of us secretly hope to have a “Good Will Hunting” experience when even our most faithful dance partner just stops showing up without warning, meaning that he or she has escaped to a better life, has met someone, or has had the courage to choose Christ’s enduring journey and bravely move on when the time comes. Despite every lure and trap to stay in endless shiny dance lessons for the rest of your life, which is the ballroom dancer’s equivalent of getting a cat with a life span of 15 years and costly vet bills, staying in the underworld is not for every dancer. While not ignoble for some, I know that when the day comes and it’s time to fly, you’ll just know. Because nothing on this earth lasts forever, there will be the knocking at the door, but nobody will answer.

Overall, I am very thankful for my year in the ballroom. It is providing an incredible alternative to the online abyss while giving me time to think. I’ve concluded that singles are all after the wrong things. As a man thinketh, so is he. Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, or excellent—think upon these things! Since nothing in this reprobate world is normal anymore, it’s far better to look for the healed-femur people. They have sojourned through the Valley of Tears where someone helped them through pain to now tell their own story of redemption. It’s more than just a dance. It’s about surviving for those who are coming behind you. That’s what life is all about.

Brandi Chambless
Brandi Chambless
Read Brandi's column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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