The smell of hairspray – brings an expectant beat in my heart as I am transported back into crowded dressing rooms and high school cafeterias. Sequined bows and tap shoes litter the floor as one group of dancers stretch in a corner and another counts “5-6-7-8” while rehearsing the same part for the thousandth time.
I blink as a camera flashes and little girls giggle excitedly. Recitals. Competitions. Performing to an audience of starry stage lights and bright red exit signs. I was always so thankful you couldn’t see all the faces.
I spot a gangly girl with glasses too big for her nose, and smile in recognition. She’s sitting off to the side by herself with bright red lipstick smudged up to her cheek (probably insisting to put it on herself 😉 ) Tracing her faraway gaze, I move beyond the “advanced” dancers warming up near her and follow her mind to a world of standing ovations and more awards than can be counted.
I long to walk up to her, hug her tight, and say,
“Just be yourself. You will never kick the highest, turn the fastest, or leap the farthest. But Rachel, you will always give it your best and like dad always told you, “Angels can do no more!” so dance like you mean it. Like you know God has put you here to bring His joy and show His grace through your gap-toothed grin and spindly limbs.
Because you see, at the end of the day, when people go home, they will remember your smile, not your pirouettes. They will replay in their minds that meaningful conversation they had with you… not the routine you just performed.
Love Jesus, Rachel, and He will show you how to love people and impress upon them in a way that goes beyond those awards and even beyond your wildest dreams! Oh how He loves you! And no, those coke-bottle glasses and bathmat feet weren’t a mistake. You’re beautiful you silly girl. If you’re confident that your Maker knows that then by golly you don’t have to prove that to anyone sitting out there!”
Nearby applause shakes me from my reverie as I watch my mom do some last minute touches to my fluffy tutu and line me up to head backstage.
The time has arrived! Oh wait.. one last spray for good measure. Solid as a rock… that bun isn’t going anywhere. 😉 Woops! Lets just clean up that creative lipstick/blush look we’ve got going on here (thanks mom). There. Now go dance for someone bigger than you and all your insecurities!
Good luck little ballerina! I’m cheering you on behind the curtain of my dusty memories, from the other side of yesterday.