Yesterday, on my lunch, I met Emil to dance at St. Paul’s Villa, a home for seniors. They had ballroom dancing: waltz, tango, etc. If you’ve never been to a dance at a senior home, you may not know what to imagine as you read, so let me outline a picture for you, and you can add your own color.
As I walked in the room, I saw a wooden dance floor and a bunch of chairs lined up on the right in two rows that formed an “L” around the floor. Each chair had its own elderly person in it, many with walkers. On the left was an oval table with more old people sitting around it. Some were a little younger; many seemed healthier than those that lived in this home. Anyway, I sat, alone, in between the two areas.
There was a stereo playing big band music. A woman in charge came over to meet me and asked if I was there to dance. I said yes. She said she’d poke the people around the oval table to get them moving on the floor. I still hadn’t realized what was going on. I just hear where God wants me to be, and I show up, but soon, everything became apparent.
I decided sitting alone wasn’t very sociable, so I moved my chair next to the residents and began talking with an elderly woman…beautiful! All I saw in this room was beauty: beauty of life lived, beauty forgotten, beauty trapped…beauty. The woman in charge came over and invited me to sit with them, but I declined, and then it started.
A couple from the oval table began to dance. The people who lived there may be too old to dance, so a group comes in and dances FOR them, like a show. I thought, “I bet they’d love to watch my flags sometime,” so I rose to talk to the lady in charge about volunteering for that, and guess who was sitting at the oval table…Emil! I didn’t even recognize him, and there’s a reason why.
Emil was all cleaned up…different clothes and everything! Since I’ve known him, he’s worn the same shirt, pants, jacket, Raiders hat, and carried the same bag, even since he moved into his place, which, by the way, is at the Barcelona, across from where I work. (I thought of Lee and about them becoming roommates.) Anyway, I said, “Emil, you’re here!” He said to a man next to him, “This is my bus stop friend.” I smiled so big and sat down, but I didn’t sit for long.
Soon after sitting, a man named David danced me around the floor. We waltzed. It was so nice. I think my laugh “woke” a lot of people up. I wore a real pretty skirt on purpose because I knew the ladies would like to see it. I danced with four people, and one of those people was Emil. It was so much fun!
The last dance was given to a woman named Lucy, who said we didn’t need a man. We danced and talked. She’s lost a lot: her husband, her son. She had had pain in her body. I prayed for her, and we ended up dancing together. I loved that! At the end of the dance, she said, “Life is too short.” It spoke so deeply to me.
I’m not even sure how to describe it. The look in her eyes came from a life lived. She had the chance to speak into the younger generation, and I gained so much from that one sentence. It still rings inside my soul…in a way that’s good…changed my perspective some. It’s way too much to post here, but ask me sometime. I would love to tell you.
There’s so much more to write but no time to write. I’ll save it for my book. We’re taking worship to Lee today. Everyone is welcome. I tried to bribe Emil to come, but it didn’t work. Oh, one funny thing that happened at “the ball”…David said, “You’re a believer?” I said, “Yes, but I’m a nice one. I didn’t even bring my bible to hit you with.” He laughed. We all did. I love God, how He loves, how He works, how He sets things up. He’s amazing!!