Graduation day at Mercy is always a sacred time. There is a tangible presence of God in the room, and we all feel like we’re witnesses to miracles. This past week, two of our residents graduated and, as always, there were so many moments that stand out in our mind as we look back at the experience. We’ll likely share a few of those powerful moments over the next few weeks here at our blog, so make sure you subscribe!
Katy, our amazing counselor, wrote a letter to one of our graduates and then read it aloud to her at the ceremony. This precious young woman had waged a life-long battle with perfectionism, a battle that she often lost as she daily cut her own flesh, and starved herself as punishment, even as relief from her emotional pain.
Today, her life has been transformed, she is walking in freedom and wholeness.
Until now, I see the dance of your life with God as a classical ballet. Drill, form, perfection. Learning steps prescribed from hundreds of years ago. Stretching, training, denying your body, dancing till you bleed; never excellent enough, always worried about keeping in time with those around you. A half beat late or an artistic flick of the wrist is severely reprimanded by the director. Dancing Swan Lake where one error means bringing down the entire production.
As an audience member, I come away from a ballet with visions of fairies dancing on a pedestal of perfection and epic soundtrack music, and the keen understanding that I am inadequate. I’ll never be able to move like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love ballet – but it is no way to live your life. Hiding, fear, restriction, perfection. You lived your life dancing for a “god” who was waiting for any chance to pounce on your inadequacies, even after a good performance, to demand you work harder and harder, never satisfied.
But now… a new dance has emerged – the tango. You threw away a pair of slippers and wandered down the street until the strong beat from a studio drew you in, hanging out in the background you thought you could watch till you felt confident you’d mastered each step.
But God took your hand and drew you out from that wall – he is a partner that already knows you intimately, able to predict your half-beat behindness and adjusting to your wrist flick so that it deepens the beauty of the dance.
This dance is SO different. Steps are present to be sure – but the best performances, the most engaging moments, are when technique is thrown to the curb and passion rises. Daughter, there is a fire that burns inside of you, and in that, there is freedom! The God you know now is to be enjoyed, trusted because he is dancing for joy over you in the heavens.
After watching a tango, I sneak into my room and turn on the soundtrack fromHavana Nights and twist and turn till my abs hurt! I don’t know the steps the professionals do – but they’ve allowed me to feel human emotion and that is something I can connect with and it inspires me. This season, honey, is not for striving. It is not for slicked hair or tutus that stand at ridged attention – it is for connecting to the heart of those who watch you, so in that process youmight find deeper the heart God has placed inside of you, and for big flowers in your hair!
It was our God who made the transformation in you – and it is for that reason alone that I have full confidence that He will finish the good work he has started.
Not because you know the steps so well, but because He is a generous partner.
We are so proud of you, K! You are loved.