Friday, August 16, 2013

So You Think You Can Dance - A Lesson in Overcoming

It's pretty amazing what the world of dance can teach us.

It is also remarkable when someone beats the odds, not only surviving a terrible situation, but learns to thrive in spite of it, inspiring others in the process.

Both of these came together perfectly on Tuesday evening during So You Think You Can Dance.  With it being the first week of All-Stars this season, I knew it would be a special show.  I just didn't realize how special until the final pair of the night took the stage.

When the All-Stars were announced, I was already psyched because my favorite dancer ever on the show, Robert Roldan, would be back after missing Season 9.  Why wasn't he an All-Star last season?  It definitely wasn't because he didn't want to be there or the producers didn't want him back - far from it.  They would gladly have had him there if he was able.

The reason was simple yet heartbreaking.  Robert had been in an accident - one where he almost lost his life.  The doctors told him that most people don't survive the situation he was in, and he was lucky to be alive.  On top of that, they informed him that he would never dance again.

Thankfully he is not like "most people".  Robert declared that God still had a plan for him, and he would work hard to get back on stage to dance again.  For just over a year, he has worked his way back through the injuries and pain to not only function on a daily basis, but to dance - and dance well. 

For his first time back on SYTYCD, Robert was paired with Tucker Knox, a contestant on this current season who has also survived a bad car accident, which at one point left him paralyzed.  Tucker also came back from a place where he was told he wouldn't even be able to walk again.  Travis Wall choreographed an incredible routine for them, which represented his relationship with his brother Danny, whom he helped out of a dark place.  The combination of these three men together was the perfect storm of talent and emotion.  God knew what He was doing putting them all together - at the right place and the right time.

All of them have LIVED this story in their own way.  I was in tears watching as both Robert and Tucker poured out their emotions in the dance, portraying everything they had been through in front of the world.  At the end of the routine, Robert ran to hug Tucker, and they embraced as only two people who had been through the same difficulties could, with total love and support.  At this point I completely lost it, because even though I haven't actually walked in their shoes I could FEEL what they did.  And that is the mark of a true artist.

I have friends who have gone through, or are currently going through, recovery from an accident.  I know that Robert (and Tucker) went through a lot of pain, both physical and emotional, on the journey to overcome the trauma and get back to fully living.  It's not easy to work through the various feelings that attack you as you recover, but you can't let those feelings keep you down.  You have to have the FAITH that God is with you on your journey and you will beat the odds.  That the negative words that others, even doctors, may say is not going to be your reality.

For myself, I need the lesson that was provided on Tuesday night as much as anyone else.  As much as I try to stay positive, from time to time anxiety, depression, and fear threaten to get the best of me.  I always fight it - because I'm not about to let the devil win.  God created me to be someone special, and I will fulfill his purpose for me.  And just when I'm having one of those really rough days, He sends me a message through these amazing dancers and beautiful human beings. 

God uses our gifts to bless others.  While He speaks through some of us through our words, He speaks through Robert and others, without words, through dance.  The blessings may come when you least expect them, but they are always right on time.

Robert is right.  God does have a plan for him - not just to dance again, but to speak through that talent to inspire others to have faith and courage to be their best and not settle out of fear.  He also has a plan for each of us, and I pray we all have the courage to live out those plans.  I also pray for Robert as he continues to recover - and thrive.

Most of all...I thank God for speaking to me through dance when I really needed it, pulling me from the darkness into the light.  He is ALWAYS on time!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Faithful Balancing Act

I was just learning how to balance everything in my life - then I was thrown another ball to juggle.

I certainly wasn't perfect in coordinating my family and home, writing, fitness and health, and everything else. Who is?  We're all learning the fine art of balance.  And it is a constantly changing craft.

I had been looking for a part-time job to help with all of the bills, since the writing isn't covering it all quite yet.  Of course I'm making money freelancing, with more coming in than before but not enough for right now.  And the novel won't be making me any dollars until it's published and out there for everyone to read.  So we need other income in addition to that plus my husband's job.

I've applied to many places, but hadn't had any luck until recently.  In this economy, each position has so many applicants that chances aren't as good as before...but I prayed and trusted God to bring me to the right job for me, that would use my unique talents and abilities and work with my other activities.

It turns out that He was just lining up the perfect job for me.  I now work about 20 hours a week in a bookstore.  Now, what's more perfect for a writer than working in a bookstore?  I get to talk books with customers and help them find what they need.  Now I realize why no other job application worked out - God knows what He is doing!

The trick is learning to balance it all with the new job thrown into the mix.  The first couple of weeks were tiring, since I worked extra hours during training to get familiar with everything at the store.  It was worth it, to learn what needed to be the additional money sure helps.  But now the schedule is evening out, and I'm finding  a way to get everything balanced again.  Retail hours mean the schedule changes somewhat each week, but I'm being creative at getting the writing, workouts, etc. done along the new job.  It's a challenge, but one that is making me stronger each day.

All I know is if I continue to trust God and let Him lead me, I will get to where I'm supposed to be.  I can do this with His help.  And I'm thankful each and every day for what He is doing in my life.

Balance?  It's getting there.  The main thing to remember:  if you don't put God and faith first, you will never achieve it.  Faith is the key to balance - and peace!