Friday, July 9, 2010

Dancing in the Streets

Every year, Washington DC hosts the Folklife Festival on the National Mall.

Sunday, after church of course, Bri, Davon and I drove into the city to see the fireworks and to enjoy the hordes of people on the mall. We walked a good deal of forever, but it was invigorating to see people from all over the world gathered to celebrate the birth of America.

The Hare Krishnas have a huge display for the festival. They have booths that explain their beliefs and they have a stage where they play music and sing. And people gather round to dance together with strangers to the happy music.

I don't know what it was about that day. Perfect strangers, from all different lands and cultures, were laughing and spinning and dancing with utter abandon. Bri and I immediately joined the crowd of dancers. I felt my spirit explode with joy. My heart beat faster as I danced. I whirled like a whirling dervish. And it's true that there is a spiritual enlightenment that comes with joyful abandonment. The moment you stop caring what you look like as you spin with your arms up in public and laugh with absolute joy--it's indescribable.

Bri told me that it was the happiest moment of her life. I have to agree.

I'm going to try to break it down in order to somehow replicate this moment: Imagine you're three years old again. Imagine the joy that comes from twirling. Imagine the sunlight shining down. Imagine everyone around you is laughing and smiling with you. Imagine singing happy songs filled with faith and devotion. It isn't my faith--but to sing for your God--there is a joy in worship. I thought of my God as I twirled in gratitude for my body, my voice, the ability to feel the wind and sunshine on my face, the grass beneath my feet. I twirled in gratitude for my brothers and sisters on this earth. I twirled in love for all things that God gives me.

They put Bri at the front of a congo line and I saw another friend laughing in the line as I hopped onto join the parade.

There is heartache and pain in this life. Our bodies are limited, our wills are weak. Life is incredibly painful. But the capacity to breathe, to dance, to sing--sometimes we take our lives for granted. There's so much joy that exists in merely existing.

So today--laugh, smile, feel the sun on your face, twirl! I promise it makes all the other stuff seem insignificant. Even if just for a moment.

What a beautiful thing it is to live!


CMS said...

Awesomeness! I went to this one year- just within the last couple. I am a total weirdo and do not EVER dance, so I missed out, but you are right. Dance like you are a toddler. Asher is into doing that whenever he hears the fainest of a rhythm and it makes me happy.

Good for you guys~

Salmon Tolman Family said...

LOVE it!!! Glad you got to be a part of it! (nothing like that ever happens in salmon, idaho!!!)

Eve said...

We used to turn on the records (our favorites were Cats and Grease) and dance with abandon around the living room. Just blast some music and let Kanyon lead the family in a rousing twirl and fall routine. That's half the reason it was so fun--it felt like home! Only it was in the middle of DC with strangers! If you can't return to childhood and the comforts of home--pretend like you can and whirl baby!