Opinion: I hope you dance
Written by Edith Guffey
January 4, 2010

You can imagine my groan when I received the email from United Church News Editor, the Rev. Gregg Brekke, giving me the dates in 2010 that I am to have opinion articles ready for publication.

January 4 - great!

Because I am never one to complete a writing assignment in advance, I knew that meant that I would be sitting at my computer during the Christmas break writing this editorial. And that is indeed what has happened.

I write this on January 3... the first Sunday of the New Year. But I've thought about writing it on and off for the last week or so. What can I say, that will be inspiring or encouraging as we begin a new year? My guess is that the year will be filled with excitement, challenges, joy, disappointments, loss and celebrations.

Every year is, because that's how life is, good days, and bad, moment of pure joy and deep disappointments. Much is beyond our control as life often just comes at us. The only thing we can really have any control over is how we live our lives this year... or for as long in the year that we are here to live it.

As I was thinking about this earlier in the week, a song came up on my iPod that I hadn't heard in a while. I'm not a huge fan of any particular kind of music, but often the lyrics to a song can move me when I'm otherwise stoic and shut down. The kind of music I am most vocal about not liking is country music (my apologies to those who are country music fans, but we all have our tastes.)

Several years ago I heard a song on the radio that had such incredible lyrics that I stopped by a music store to buy the CD (no, iTunes was not yet in my lexicon). I didn't know the title of the song, so I told the store clerk what I remembered of the lyrics and he said I'd find it in the County and Western section. I told him that couldn't be right, I liked this song and I detest country music. He assured he was correct and he was.

(There's a lesson here about keeping an open mind, but I'll leave that for another article.)

I bought the CD and now the song, is one of my favorites on my iPod. When I heard it last week again, it reminded me of this article and the then approaching new year.

It is true that none of us knows exactly what a new year holds but this year and every year, actually every day, we can each bring an appreciation for the life we have been given, for the many gifts we have. We can resolve to live life to the fullest, with a sense of joy and excitement and in ways that witness to the glory of the living God.

The Lee Ann Womack song, "I Hope You Dance," says it well:
 
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance, I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances but they're worth taking,
Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to selling out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance ,I hope you dance.

I hope you still feel small when you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
Dance. I hope you dance.

Happy New Year and in 2010 I hope we all dance - at least a little! 


Edith Guffey is the UCC's Associate General Minister and a member of the UCC's five-person Collegium of Officers.

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