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dance of life.

I won't turn left and I won't turn right
I will not stray from the path that's right

But I'll keep on singing and I'll keep on reaching

And I'll follow, follow, follow Jesus Christ

If you know me at all, you know I don't like to dance. Don't ask me why, I don't know. I was not one of those kids who took dance lesson after dance lesson. It never really amazed or intrigued me. Someone once told me that I would find my "dance" in college. That has now come and gone and I still haven't found said "dance."

A couple of weeks ago they sang this song at church. I'm fairly certain that it is from a Vacation Bible School somewhere but it was easy enough for them to learn in English, so they did. I didn't mind, I was happy to be able to read the words to a song.

This song immediately stuck with me. Not just because of the English words but because of the dance, too. Nearly every song we sing at church has a dance that goes with it. It always make me slightly uncomfortable because they always ask me to dance along with them, joining in the sometimes crazy motions. And I haven't quite found my ability to look like a complete fool yet.

But, ever since I learned this song, I've been doing the motions--dancing--frequently. The song is so joyful for me because I feel connected to everyone at church as I join in with them. I am able to take part in something that expresses their love for God and in turn am able to praise Him too.

As I am bursting at the seems with joy, already saddened at the thought of leaving Mongolia, I remember the beginning. I remember how scared I was and how hard it was to be here. I remember everything being such a challenge. I remember tears and I remember sorrow.

I remember those days and I realize that I don't have to stay in the sorrow, I can keep on singing. I also realize that even that connects me with my Mongolian brothers and sisters. I was reminded the other day of something really beautiful about so many people from around the world. So many people are joyful, faithful and grateful even when they often don't have much reason to be. Their joy, faith and gratefulness come from somewhere deeper. A place of simplicity and appreciation for every breath.

That reminder along with with some other reminders from a book I recently started reading I have been awakened again to the reality that joy and sorrow exist together. Neither one should cast shadows over the other. In our joy we remember sorrow for the closeness to God that it brought. And in our sorrow we are pointed to something greater, something joyful. Both give us cause to celebrate the One who is the giver of it all.

"Jesus shows, both in his readings and in his life, that true joy often is hidden in the midst of our sorrow, and that the dance of life finds its beginnings in grief." Henri Nouwen: Here and Now, page 47

I would not call my beginnings in Mongolia grievous but I would call the dance I'm finding to be the dance of life. I am joyfully remembering my sorrow.

I'll keep on singing and I'll keep on dancing.

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The Prayer of the Empty Water Jar

Jesus, I come into the warmth of your presence
knowing that you are
the very emptiness of God.

I come before you
holding the water jar of my life.

Your eyes meet mine
and I know what I'd rather not know.

I came to be filled
but I am already full.

I am too full
This is my sickness

I am full of things
that crowd out
your healing presence.

A holy knowing steals inside my heart
and I see a painful truth.

I don't need more
I need less
I am too full.

I am full of things that block out
your golden grace.

I am smothered by gods of my own creation
I am lost in the forest of my false self
I am full of my own opinions and narrow attitudes
full of fear, resentments, control
full of self-pity, and arrogance.

Slowly this terrible truth
pierces my heart
I am so full there is no room for you.

Contemplatively, and with compassion
you ask me to reach into my water jar.

One by one, Jesus, you enable me
to lift out the things
that are a hindrance to my wholeness.

I take each one to my heart and