I was watching the girls in the dance class before mine. One of them stares at the floor, carefully and nervously executing the combination. She wears black glasses and a blank expression. Her teacher corrects her over and over, but she cannot balance. Her leaps are heavy, her flexibility lacking. She tries again.
“Better,” her teacher says, nodding. She looks frustrated. Her lips press themselves together. She doesn’t trust her body. She is quiet, with a hidden world behind her eyes.
I like her.
I am dying to know what is beyond those eyes. I want to know her story and hear her dreams. I don’t see her because she is the best dancer in the room, but because of all the potential underneath. I wonder what she sees when she looks at herself in the mirror. Does she know she is loved? Does she know she is beautiful? How much emotion lurks behind those eyes? She is a mystery to be unraveled. There is something so beautiful about her.
And the truth is, I could be making all of this up about her. I just met her. But her body language reminds me of what I looked like when I first started dance. I wore wire glasses. I was mute. My legs were always bent. My feet were sickled. It was hard to be the oldest beginner stuck in a class full of younger girls. It was embarrassing to not be able to touch my toes. But the worst part was not feeling confident. I didn’t feel beautiful when I danced. And since people don’t talk during dance class, my hurting, 12-year-old self slipped through the cracks through each barre combination. I longed to be seen and found.
Little did I know that God did see me. It is easy for me to look in the mirror during combinations and see my horrible technique. But there is so much more to dance than turned-out feet and flexibility. Dancing in a Christian dance studio is such a blessing and seeing each dancer’s strengths and weaknesses is a huge reminder that we were all created so uniquely.
So my heart aches for this girl, praying she doesn’t think something is wrong with her. I am praying her inward dancer will one day show up on the surface, and that she will love herself and the way she dances. I know there is something so beautiful about her. But does she see it? Does she know how priceless she is?
If not, that’s okay. Because God sees her. I see her. Because I am going to tell her.