I was raised hardcore Catholic.
No, not the girl in plaid pleated skirts with my button-down twisted in on itself. Not the rule-breaker, the line-walker or the daily devotionalist.
I glared at those who dared to enter the church doors like it was a semi-annual sale at Victoria’s Secret. Like we were selling something for them on those two days they packed into minivans and two-door sports cars and hauled hosts of kids, kids I’d never seen before, into the back pews just before mass began.
Imagine attending someone’s birth and funeral and nothing else. There is no way, I am sure, to know them.
They cannot tell you their stories or tap you on the shoulder as a timid toddler, grabbing hold of your heart so fiercely you forgot you didn’t want to let it go. They cannot coax you out of bed on a Sunday morning when you’d rather face the wall and count the stripes in the wallpaper.
Mostly, though, they cannot help you. Cannot ever be given a chance. Cannot ever be asked for that first dance in middle school with the beat thumping too loud for you to be sure you know what you just agreed to.
Now I know Jesus was not a hip hopper, a hipster kid, a pants-down-to-his-knees type. I know He didn’t call clichés into question or clique His way into the Perfect People Club.
If there had been a middle school dance, though, I am sure He would’ve at least attempted to ask some girl for one measly chance.
He was, after all, human for a time.
For as long—and longer than—some of us ever live. For a quest some of us dare to tackle—to etch our belief, aching in our chests, into someone else’s handprints.
And that little goal, albeit small, is something I can understand.
We coax our smaller selves into something bigger, scarier, newer. We rally our troops for something we believe in. We pound a path into the ground with our tapping feet and twirling toes.
I think Jesus was a dancer. A real crooner.
I think He knew the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’re terrified someone won’t believe in the words spilling from your lips and stage-diving onto their eardrums. Knew the anxiety of Us versus Them lined up on opposite sides of the dimly-lit gymnasium.
Us, the Doers.
Them, the skeptics.
He was a little bit nervous, pushing glasses up the bridge of His nose, staring down at His two left feet. But He knew what He wanted. Knew where He was headed. Knew that someday He’d grow up and take this world by storm.
And you cannot help but wish you’d given those Doers a chance. Sashayed to the in-between and offered them a hand. Met them halfway.
Oh to have met them halfway. To have reached five fingers and two feet and a big bustling brain filled with ideas. To be the second Doer, the first Adopter, the first Believer.
Sometimes, it’s not the Doers we need most. It’s the Believers.
And my, oh my, do we have an army of those waiting for a Doer to sweep them off their feet. They are sitting in plastic folding chairs on the other side of your gymnasium, sipping punch and staining their lips red.
Among the red-stained lip smackers I’ve sat, fingers interlocked in my lap, itching to dance. Finally, I am standing up, pushing forward, sashaying into the center of the tiled floor. Letting this wild ride begin beneath someone else’s disco ball and a different artist’s techno beats.
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