Saturday, January 22, 2011

Without music, life would be a mistake.... I could only believe in a God who knew how to dance.

First off, it's late Saturday morning.  All three of us  (husband, M-pants and myself) are lounging around in pajamas, and I'm on my second very delicious cup of coffee.  So if I end up sounding a little too much like Bobby McFerrin through this post, I apologize.  Don't worry be happy now.

The title of this post is a  quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher from the late 19th century best known for things like nihilism and the statement "God is dead".  I've been thinking a lot about dancing lately, which seems to be one of those little spoken about side effects of becoming a parent.  Since first developing even the slightest control of her muscle movement, she was dancing.  Before she was five months old, she would stand holding on to the ottoman, bobbing her head to any hummed tune, ringing phone, or commercial jingle that came along.  As she's gotten older, her dance has only become more complex, and more frequent.  Crouching with her knees, twisting at the waist and swinging her arms out to the side, Madelyn dances with abandon, with sincere joie de vivre that she can't help but express with her whole body.

As we get older though, dancing takes on new meaning.  Dancing can be a display of athleticism or elegance, sexuality or drunken inhibition.  But for most grown ups, on most occasions, dancing is something best reserved for solitary moments, moments which tend to include cranked up ipods,  feather duster microphones, and absolutely, positively no audience.  Because for grown ups, dancing seems to have become a shameful and open display of vulnerability that doesn't jive in an era of self-empowerment and self-respect.  But here's the deal:  dancing seems like it must be natural.  If my daughter has to dance, just has to, as some innate response to joy, shouldn't we be dancing too?  Shouldn't we respond to the beauty, wonder and majesty around us with our whole bodies, like David returning from battle, with no regard for our own dignity?

My daughter looks to me and her father for feedback.  When we laugh when she dances, she stops and stares, seemingly wondering if she's done something wrong.  I don't laugh anymore.

Apparently Nietzsche couldn't, or wouldn't see it, but I have a hard time looking around at this beautiful world, the wonder of creation, and my boogie-ing daughter, without seeing a God who knows how to cut a rug.

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