Dancing in the Tension


Snow blankets the streets.  I hold him close to me as I dance him around the rug, dodging Legos and Little People which litter the room.  Cheek pressed against his cheek, I hum and try to quiet the stubbornness that fights sleep within him.

Out the window, beyond the falling snow, a house nearby smolders from an early morning fire. News reports tell that the fire ended a man’s life.  Time stands still and I imagine his mother standing next to his crib, dancing around the room as she feels the breath rise and fall from his chest.  Where is she now…the day he breathed his last?

I bring his chubby face closer to mine.

As we dance around the room, my mind recalls the faces and voices of Rosie, Barbie, and the others that I watched yesterday on Netflix from A Place at the Table.  They opened the doors to their home and invited me in.  Their words and actions spoke of the real struggle of food insecurity, inequality, and poverty in America.  Time stands still and I imagine Barbie with her son as she danced him around his crib and wondered how she would feed him that day and the next.

His body grows heavier in my arms as he settles into sleep.

As we sway, we dance in the tension – the tension of inequality, injustice, inadequacy.  My heart breaks for those who dance alone in the tension – whether with no child to hold or no parent to hold them or no safe room to do so.

A cough rises from the crud in his lungs and he startles.  Today’s diagnosis of RSV makes me squeeze him tighter as I am aware of just how precious this little life is.

Even with the oldest playing furiously in the next room, all feels still.  All is quiet.  I pause.  I give thanks.  And I submit once again to this life – unpredictable and brutal and beautiful – and I pray for the strength and grace to dance quietly, faithfully in the tension.

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