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Going Out Dancing

November 24, 2012

My mother, in her dying days (by which I mean just a handful of them since she was not one to sit in waiting rooms for long) told me in a peeved voice that she "wanted to go out dancing." And I believed her. I think "out" meant more than one thing. Come on, what do you think she meant?

After all, she had danced all her life. She had been a red-headed, hot-blooded ballroom dancer, many years later a round dancer (I don't know know what that is, but I know it didn't have anything to do with those super-celibate 19th-century Shaker dancers so often to be found, until they all died out, in our New England/Mid-Atlantic area). Among her other engaging activities, Mom had always danced. 

And she was pissed as hell that she couldn't during those last days since she was a) on oxygen and b) dying.

Who knows if she's dancing now? Who knows what "the great perhaps" holds in store for any of us? Maybe nothing. Maybe dancing. The truth is, if invitations are forthcoming, we haven't been issued ours just yet. So there's no use packing our suitcases right now. We must sit tight in our plastic bus station chairs for the time being.

As for me, I want to go out dancing. Whatever that might mean. After all, aren't our bodies meant to be used and used well? Even without our trying, they already do a splendid job. For example: peristalsis. Need I say more? And let's not forget sex, childbirth, dreaming. Let's not forget writing and the other arts, playing sports, singing. Let's not forget the ne plus ultra of human effort: composing. (But let's not let it go to those musicians' heads!)

So let this be my last time, for the time being, of saying requiescat in pace.

Right now--and the odds are slim--but what I want is to go out dancing.

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I'm a writer, yoga teacher, Lutheran pastor, and music nerd living in New York. I find a feast in daily living - most days, anyway - and write about it here. 

Finalist for the 2017 Chautauqua Prize!
The frank and funny story of a church-geek girl who spent twenty years in the ecclesiastical trenches as a Lutheran pastor, preaching weekly words of hope she wasn’t sure she even believed.