Though we have encountered our share of grief and troubles on this earth,
we can still hold the line of beauty, form, and beat.
No small accomplishment in a world as challenging as this one…
Hard times require furious dancing. Each of us is proof.
-Alice Walker, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing
On Friday I met my sister Hannah in Las Vegas and we spent the weekend celebrating her birthday and her upcoming wedding.
We laughed. We danced around our hotel room in our p.j.’s. We ate delicious food. We wore fancy dresses and drank champagne. We played volleyball in the pool with a bachelor party from San Jose. We wore matching sunglasses and sashes, and Hannah wore a tiara that said, “BRIDE.”
We spent three full days doing nothing but…celebrating.
We celebrated the beginning of Hannah’s 31st trip around the sun. We celebrated that she’s going to marry the love of her life in October, with me standing by her side as her maid of honor. We celebrated the unique gift of sisterhood. We celebrated that, after she nearly died from a congenital heart defect in childhood, and I nearly died of cancer in my 20’s, we’re not only alive; we are living full lives brimming with opportunity and love and joy.
We flew out of Las Vegas last night. This morning I got back into my usual routine, which included catching up on the news. The heart-sinking, what-the-heck-is-happening, discouraging news.
As I was processing all the ways in which our country and our world are in turmoil, for a brief second I felt a twinge of guilt for our joy-and-fun-filled weekend.
And then I remembered the collection of Alice Walker’s poetry I read a few months ago, entitled, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing.
And the guilt instantly dissolved.
Because we do. We do live in hard times. Sometimes, we live in hard times in our personal lives. Sometimes in our professional lives. Sometimes in our hometowns, and sometimes halfway around the world. We get bad news, we feel betrayed, our fragile hearts break and our heavy souls ache.
And yet in the midst of heaviness and heartache, the truth is that we are gifted with joy and love and weddings and birthdays and music and successes and art and sunrises that take our breath away.
We dance furiously not in spite of hard times but maybe precisely because of them. Because hard times require furious dancing. Because the vision of what life can and should be leads us to defy the evil and injustice and greed and corruption that threaten all that’s pure and beautiful and good.
Hard times not only invite, but require, us to dance furiously.
To celebrate outrageously.
To love fiercely.
To fight courageously.
To put on our p.j.’s and turn up the music and dance furiously to the beat of the Love that’s higher and wider and longer and deeper than anyone, or anything, that threatens to shut it down.