Wednesday was one of those errand running kind of days. Before one of these days it is always best if I can take several deep breaths, imbibe a half gallon or so of coffee, practice Zen meditation, and spend an hour in prayer. Because my errand days involve a rambunctious three year old and four year old. Getting in and out of the car, negotiating parking lots, and practicing our "store manners" is an exhausting and patience-trying practice. I have done it often enough now that I know it is best not to panic, not to be in a hurry, and to at least drink a cup of coffee and read a quick devotional before we head out the door.
On Wednesday, my two darlings were in particularly high spirits. I bribed them with frozen yogurt to get through the first half of our day and they managed to keep it together enough to earn their reward. While at the yogurt shop, I got a phone call from my husband (who has been working all kinds of overtime) with what I'm sure seemed to be a reasonable request: would I stop by the bank and get a cashier's check so he could drop off his truck payment the next day? I took a deep breath, trying not to envision the possible disasters of standing in line at the bank lobby along with the two giggling balls of energy currently slurping up their sugary treats across the table from me, and did the right thing. I put on my most cheerful tone and said, "Ok!"
Outside of the bank, I gave a pep talk. "Okay guys," I said, "this is the bank. So we need to have our best manners. That means no running, no climbing, no jumping around and no screaming." There was a moment of silence. Then Baby Boy asked me in his most outraged tone of voice, "No dancing?" I laughed and, oddly enough, relaxed. "You can dance," I said. "Just dance slowly." So while I talked to the teller (by an act of God there was no line) and took care of my business, my lovely, crazy children stood behind me and did a slow, quiet boogie to a soundtrack only they could hear.
I love how God uses my children to get my attention and realign my priorities. And sometimes re-realign them. I'm glad He keeps me laughing and grateful. I hope I'm never so stressed out or irritable that I would actually tell one of my babies that they couldn't dance. They can always dance and I hope that they always want to. I hope that they are downright infected by that kind of joy for their entire lifetimes. And I'm so grateful that they pass it along to me.
One of my favorite songs is "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" by the Scissor Sisters (it's written by Elton John which is one of the reasons it is so fabulous; sorry, music geek moment). It's peppy and fun. It is very nearly impossible to be in a bad mood when you listen to this retro-disco gem and, ironically, equally difficult not to dance. Even the most stoic of individuals would be hard pressed not to get a little bootie shake going while listening.
So to tie my kids cuteness and Elton John's fabulousness to scripture (not an easy trick), I was thinking about all of this in the context of Philippians 4:4. One of my favorite verses (written by the apostle Paul which is one of the reasons it is so fabulous), it says simply, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" It seems like too much to ask. Too much when there are errands to run, bills to pay, children to raise, others to grieve for. But I think if we let Christ set the soundtrack to our lives, we can't help but move to the beat. If we let Him be the conductor, we will find ourselves dancing even when we don't feel like it. We won't be able to help ourselves. The idea of not dancing, of not rejoicing, will seem ridiculous and oppressive. Sometimes we will leap and shout and laugh out loud. Sometimes our dance will be slow, quiet, and set to music that no one else seems to hear. But we should be, we can be, always dancing, always rejoicing. Even in line at the bank.