Tag Archives: dance

Song of the Single (Paradise Uganda)

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Isaiah 54:1Ugandan children 3

“Sing, O barren,

You who have not borne!

Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,

You who have not labored with child!

For more are the children of the desolate

Than the children of the married woman,”

says the Lord.

During a visit with my pastor’s family on Monday, a familiar longing stirred within me. Pastor’s three year-old cuddled into my side and asked me to look through a book with her. I miss children.

Earlier that evening her seven year-old brother handed me pages torn from a coloring book. He had colored them especially for me, eager both to earn my recognition and to share his affection. Just a few days prior I had glanced sadly at my refrigerator, noting the absence of artwork from children who love me. Although it is covered with photographs and magnets, it seemed strangely bare. I smiled proudly at his artwork, thrilled to accept his decorative gifts. Who needs museums? Who needs professionals? I much prefer a child’s masterpiece.

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Tonight I discovered some podcasts about a project involving children from Uganda. My friend and a few other dedicated musicians are working to create change in the lives of these children and in the world by recognizing their beautiful voices. These children are talented, and they’ve gone too long unrecognized. They have incredible stories to tell, but they’ve been widely ignored. They have songs to sing; it’s about time somebody listened. Could there be any sweeter sound than that of a child rejoicing?

http://www.fln.org/fln-news/podcasts/detail/news-paradise-uganda-part-i/

http://www.fln.org/fln-news/podcasts/detail/news-paradise-uganda-part-ii/

As I listened to clips of these children singing during the podcasts, tears formed in my eyes. I want to be with the children. I want to be where the children are, do what the children do. I want to sing with the children.

I’ve never even met these children, but my heart longs for them. I’m not musical – not even slightly. The lady in the podcast mentions the rhythm that comes so naturally to those little ones and memories flood back to me. I laugh as I recall dancing with the deaf children in Jamaica. Dancing goes hand in hand with music. Both require rhythm. I was told all Jamaican women could dance. I soon learned that the beautiful teenaged girls at the deaf school – who couldn’t even hear the music they were dancing to – had more rhythm than I did… I suddenly believed the statements were true. All Jamaican women can dance. And I became all the more aware of my own fallibilities.

Ugandan children 2

Why do I yearn to be with these talented young ones? What do I have to offer them? The musicians who’ve taken an interest in these children’s lives can provide them with guidance, training, and opportunities to share their songs. But I’m no musician. What could I possibly give?

I have a mommy’s heart. And as a single woman with no children of my own, that mommy’s heart has an abundance of love eager to flow into these kids’ lives. I cannot count the number of times others have asked me about a desire for children when they hear that I enjoy being single. They are shocked to hear that I don’t really long for children of my own. Sometimes they refuse to believe me. But it’s true! There are so many children in this world already who are hungry for love! I want to love the children who are already here.

Ugandan children

In my travels, I have discovered that children often put me on a pedestal – simply because I am an adult, I am American, I am white. What happens when a small child who has been devalued stands next to woman she idolizes? “Sing, O barren woman!” What happens when that same child realizes that she is more talented than that woman? I may fall off my pedestal, but more importantly that child begins to recognize her own gifting. She feels a touch more self-confident. She feels special. And she often laughs at me. These moments – these awkward, embarrassing displays of my own inadequacies, produce some of the most wonderful memories.

I do not need to be married or birth children. I just need to be around children who need to be loved. I want to love them. I want to appreciate them. I want to delight in the talents of my children – not the children who bear my name, but the children all over this world that God intends for me to mother. I’m just a single girl, thrilled to be a mommy. And although it won’t sound pretty, I will lift my voice to sing about it!

me and the philippino kids

Barefoot and Single

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Men are like shoes

 

I don’t mean this to sound shallow. I’m not trying to degrade men. I’m not talking about having a lot of them. I’m not talking about walking all over them. The comparison just seems to fit. Let me explain.

I have never enjoyed wearing shoes. I prefer bare feet. People constantly ask if my feet hurt or if they are cold. I tire of explaining that if I get too uncomfortable, I will put some shoes on.

A girl walks up to me in a gorgeous pair of stilettos. At first glance, I’m kind of jealous. They look so perfect. They’re cute and stylish; they accent her outfit marvelously. She gathers more confidence with each step she takes, from each compliment she hears. I want those shoes. I want that man. He’s a feast for the eyes. He has charm to match. He makes any girl look good. But as I look closer, her feet are slightly red and swollen. When we sit down for dinner she slides those shoes off under the table. I’m suddenly turned off by those shoes. I’m suddenly turned off by that man. All the attention is on him. She lingers in the shadows. He’s completely unaware of her pain, her discomfort. She doesn’t feel like she fits in with these people around her. But he does, and she’s with him.  Therefore, she needs to get over it and stay. The confidence this man or those stilettos bring her is fake. I wiggle my toes freely. I am comfortable with myself. I can leave if I want to. My bare feet may not attract the same kind of attention as those stilettos, but maybe I don’t need it. I’m content.

As I leave dinner I get outside and notice a different girl. She’s never been very popular. Not many boys pursue her. But she wants a boyfriend so badly. She has snatched up the first pair of shoes she could find, settled for the first guy that asked her out.

“Hi, Sarah!” Her smile is radiant. “Look at my shoes! Aren’t they unbelievable?”

I smile hesitantly, trying not to inhale. Her shoes aren’t necessarily bad looking, but they obviously haven’t been taken care of.

“Mhmm… unbelievable.”

Quite simply, these shoes stink! Any recent feelings of loneliness vanish at the thought of dating a man with horrible hygiene. I want a guy who cares about himself enough to stay healthy and clean. If he won’t take care of himself, how can I ever expect him to take care of me? In the hot summer sun, we wave our goodbyes and I go on my way, grateful that my feet are free to wiggle through the cool mud or even just to sweat, and then be hosed down clean afterwards. I could never put up with the stench of those shoes.

Next I meet a girl wearing some really nice shoes. They look clean, comfortable, and stylish. But she’s walking kind of funny. After a moment I realize that her shoes are too small. I watch her over my shoulder as she hobbles along.

“Oomph!”  Another girl runs into me.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I tripped,” she says, then looks up at me nervously. “My shoes are a size too big. Are you okay?”

I assure her that I will be fine then walk away, curious over what I have just witnessed. Both pairs of shoes represent some really great guys. Unfortunately, these guys don’t complement the girls they are accompanied by. The first girl wants room to grow, adventure, and experiment. She doesn’t have that freedom with her man. He limits her in many ways. She can’t be herself with him. The second girl wants to run, jump, and dance. Her floppy, oversized shoes trip her up and hinder her performance. He is a great guy, and he might even be the right guy. If he is, however, the timing is off. In a few years he may fit her better. By dating him now, before the time is right, she wears him out and loses more interest in him each time he causes her to stumble. Song of Solomon warns us more than once, “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the does and the gazelles of the field. Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5). This girl may be ruining her own beautiful love story by acting out of impatience.

I stroll into my house, happy that I’m still barefoot. For now I enjoy the freedom to run and dance, grow and adventure. Life isn’t perfect barefoot and single. Some days are lonely. I may walk across hot pavement or sharp rocks. Maybe someday I will find the right pair of shoes to protect my precious toes. But until then, I choose to focus on the feel of green grass and soft sand and to be satisfied exactly as I am.