Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gotta Dance

So we were preparing to close the meeting, a little bring-a-friend tea at my apartment, and one of our friends from church leans over to one older lady in particular who was a guest in our meeting, and says, “Would you like to receive Jesus as your Savior?” Sarah (our missionary assistant) and I both had to cover up a wave of culture shock, as back in the States, we tend to make our altar calls a little less “outing.” Then the relief came when she said, “Yes!” Then not only her, but 3 others after her. Wow.

The whole night was a series of cultural shock moments for me. Hosting a tea in Peru was a bit of a risk, as I had only been to one so far, and it was less formal. I was mostly guessing with what to serve and how to do it. I had good help from the ladies, but there were moments when I felt like I was on another planet. How do you serve? Can people help themselves? How do you politely help people to hush? How direct can we be? How do you pray for people in a group setting when there are visitors?

I found myself thinking a lot through the night about part of the teaching I had prepared for the evening. I was talking about what it means to be truly beautiful as a woman, and I told them about Abi’s ballet class, and how all the girls there were so sweet, and their feminine beauty was showing, even as they were trying (and mostly failing) to do the little jumps and follow the teacher. One was crying because she didn’t have a plush toy to dance with. Another was sulking because she didn’t want to dance. They were less than graceful as they bumped into each other and made lines that looked more like squiggles.
Anyone watching them could see that they were only beginning and that it would be some time before they would do anything that looked like the graceful ballet they aspired to. Still, with time, the squiggles will straighten, and graceful gestures will replace the awkward ones I saw that day.

It is the same way for me. I found myself doing something I love to do—talking to women about the things that really matter in our lives in a small group setting. Yet, in this new culture, and with this new language that sometimes leaves me grasping when (as women do) someone gets emotional about what they are sharing, or speaks through tears. I feel sometimes like I am dancing ballet with steel-toed work boots. It’s awkward. I am unsure of things that come easily in the States. With time, I’ll work my way out of those work boots, but the only way to get rid of them is to wear them out. There is no other way to get to the place I want to go without taking the risk of dancing a pretty crazy- looking Swan Lake. If you want to dance in a new culture, you gotta dance. It isn’t possible to learn any other way. If I am the one who doesn’t get the plush toy, or someone knocks me in the head, or I can’t seem to do the little jumps how I want to, so be it. I am going to dance. And people are going to meet Jesus, because He wants to meet them, and because we were willing to look a little silly to risk it.

Wanna dance, too?

1 comment:

Ruth Chowdhury said...

Awesome word, Lena. You keep on dancing for the Lord. I am sure you are even more beautiful & not as clumsy as you may think. Praying for you!