Years ago, it was the season of life when I found myself sitting in the audience of the annual spring Kindergarten Circus for the morning class. My granddaughter, Joscelyn, was part of the Elephant Dance—the last act after the Tightrope Walkers, the Seals, the Strong People, etc.
Now I had been informed of this event, but when my answering machine yielded a charming invitation from Josie the night before, I decided that no matter how busy the schedule, I simply had to be part of the audience. Of course, it was a delightful morning, filled with performing children and adoring parents and exhausted teachers.
I was a little concerned, however. Josie was part of the last act and dressed in what looked to be a very warm elephant outfit. She and her two partners had to sit in the front row under hot lights and wait for a whole hour for their turn.
“Weren’t you hot, Josie?” I asked after I had praised her for her remarkable two-stepping little dance with the other Elephant kindergartners. Pushing up her floppy elephant trunk, she shook her head up and down. “Well, maybe,” I whispered, “you could take your elephant costume off now.” She did so did immediately, with smiles and a sigh of relief.
“I’m so sorry Papa couldn’t come, but I’ll tell him all about it.”
“Oh, that’s okay,” she replied, taking refreshments from her mother’s hand. “You were here and that’s what makes it so very special to me.” Then it was my turn to melt.
Coming home, I began to build an analogy in my mind (I am a writer, after all). Isn’t much of life like the Kindergarten Circus? Everyone else comes first, doing their tumbling and fake weightlifting and rigged magic acts, and we’re sitting in some front row somewhere in a hot, uncomfortable costume, waiting for our turn to do our little two-step. It begins to seem inappropriate, or silly, or long. Then we realize that Someone is in the audience—Someone who has come just to watch us do whatever it is we do. We scootch around in our uncomfortable costume (whatever role life has assigned us), move the wrong way, correct ourselves, get back in step with the other dancing elephants.
But it’s all okay. God has come to be with us, to cheer and applaud, to wave from the audience, to say to our hearts, “I’m so very proud of you.” None of the inconveniences really matter. Nor does the fact that other people have been watching their children and don’t care that we’re hot and long-waiting. God is here. That is what makes everything so very special. “The LORD himself watches over you!” Psalm 121:5a, NLT.
Now that is a truth worth dancing about (even when life’s a little hot).
Other projects involving Karen right now are: Working with teams of Christian women to design Retreats of Silence, in both 24-hours and three-days formats, through the aegis of Hungry Souls. Developing hospitality initiatives that train Christian men and women how to use their own homes in caring outreaches through the Open Heart, Open Home ministries. Launching the Global Bag Project, a worldwide effort that markets sustainable cloth shopping bags to provide sustainable incomes for bag-makers in developing nations. Researching the impact of listening groups while overseeing some 240 small groups over the last three years. Experimenting with teleconference mentoring for Wannabe (Better) Writers. Designing the Tales of the Kingdom Web site.