Monday, October 24, 2011

The Dance of Life - Eleanor Shepherd

On Thanksgiving Sunday, our daughter and son-in-law blessed us with our first grandchild.  My heart sings as I gaze in awe and wonder at this beautiful creation.  Her birth renews my hope and assures me that God is not finished with the human race.  He continues to give life and breath to another generation, despite all the mistakes we have made as imperfect parents. 
Her arrival sends me back in memory to the day when a new song beckoned Glen and me to begin the dance with our children as with joy we welcomed our little son.  We quickly discovered that our lives took on new rhythms we had never imagined. I see the excitement of unexplored patterns and new dance steps waiting to be tried in the expressions of joy, hope and love in the eyes of Elizabeth and Johan, the new parents. 
With the arrival of this little miracle, the partners are changing in the dance of life.  As my children take on the new roles of parents, the shifting positions created by their newly assumed responsibilities provide a new perspective.  One of my daughter’s comments to me during her pregnancy was, “ Mom, I am gaining a whole new understanding of who you are, as I am learning what motherhood involves.”  They are now moving to the centre of the dance floor in partnership with their child as they begin to hear the melody of love in a completely new way.
Their hearts are going to be stretched beyond their wildest dreams.  Initially the very existence of this little one literally will depend upon their availability.  As their child grows and becomes independent, her wellbeing will become a priority for her parents. Whatever else they are doing in life, they will squeeze out the time to be in the dance with their child.  Many times the rhythms will be wild and they will feel breathless as they try to keep on dancing, with weary feet and troubled hearts.  They will learn how to orchestrate the delicate ballet - drawing close to offer nurture, then spinning away to encourage independence, opening their arms and creating trust yet pushing them out to avoid vulnerability amidst the constant pirouetting evoked by the unending symphony of life. 
Elizabeth’s first professional jazz CD was called Start to Move.  She has begun to do that now as a parent, but where am I?  I believe I am now moving into the slow waltz of nurturing love for both parent and child that does not take the lead or jump around to the wild rhythms.  Rather my role is to move slowly and gracefully in and out of their lives, at their convenience.  To offer my love to this new little one, without demanding that she adapt her step to mine is enough.  To move back to the periphery of the dance floor and allow her parents to engage with her is my place. 
One of these days, the music will stop for me, and the dance will be finished.  However, if I have shared with my children and grandchildren the song of love that He has planted in my heart, the music will go on and the song that never ends will bring joy and meaning to their lives.   

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Eleanor, what a very apt metaphor, that we are "partners ... in the dance of life"! Also, Elizabeth's CD title, "Start to Move" fits amazingly well into this season of her life, and your theme.
You bring wisdom and the warm understanding of life experience, along with the mature love that has learned (and continues to learn) to hold close while letting go.
Congratulations Grandma!

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