Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore.
(Psalm 113:2 NIV)
Please welcome, my friend and passionate lover of God, Lynn Morrissey. She waltzes through words with ease, always keeping us in step with the tune of God’s gracious invitation to live life fully no matter which season we find ourselves embracing.
(Lynn D. Morrissey, is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of Heartsight Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri. You may contact Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
(Lynn D. Morrissey)
Autumn is the season of urgency, the season that beckons us to behold breathtaking beauty and kaleidoscopic colors—now—before shifting winds and colder climes send leaves shimmying from limbs. They dance with abandon in the breeze before falling to the ground, where they’ll soon decay.
Autumn bespeaks glory, but especially glory that fleets.
Time is short.
Life is short.
Live with gusto until a gust of wind blows you, too, to the ground, to your place of final rest.”
Now that my husband Michael and I have begun dipping into a decidedly autumnal decade, I have wondered if, like those vibrant falling leaves, we are dancing too—shimmying and shimmering with glory, relishing every magnificent moment, living colorfully and daringly; or are we clinging tenaciously to the status quo and to stifling stagnation? Our time here, our time together is evanescent. Are we making the most of our days? Like autumn’s glory, I want us to go out in an audacious glow!
So, that brings me to the apple orchard. Two autumns ago, Michael and I were picking apples at a local orchard for luscious pie-baking back home. This has become an annual ritual, and while we could probably buy apples cheaper and certainly easier at the grocery, we love the thrill of driving carefree along the Mississippi River to the orchard and wending our way through a tangle of top-heavy trees, over-bent with bobbing crimson globes.
This time, and I can’t explain it, a sudden urge swept over me. I don’t know if it were the invigorating air, or the apples’ pungent scent, or the rows of trees queued up like a line dance, but I had to enter in. I had to dance—justdance, oblivious to how I looked, unintimidated by who was looking, uninhibited by what I feared. I longed to grab my partner’s hand and weave a waltz through a trellis of trees.
But Michael, my husband, by beloved life-partner through thick and thin, just wouldn’t dance. He wouldn’t enter into the moment, because he thought he couldn’t. And despite my coaxing, and my “It-doesn’t-matter-whether-or-not-you-think-you-can-dance-or-who-might-be-watching” plea, he was immovable.
Mike would. not. budge.
And it’s at that moment, that I knew this was more than an invitation to dance. I was daring him to enter a reckless adventure, to kick up his heels in delight, to abandon rules without thinking, to move without knowing the steps, to risk looking foolish when people gawked, to live far away from the guidelines and sidelines of life.
But Michael said no.
Then he was silent.
And in that pregnant pause, that muted moment, I heard soundless words crescendo like a clarion call from a buried heart-place:
I am your Partner. Will you dance with Me?
And I knew.
I knew that I had been sitting on the sidelines—at first, because God had called me there, away from a fruitful ministry, when it made absolutely no sense to me. I had obeyed; but at that moment in the orchard, I realized that I had stayed too long—longer than God had intended—and the sidelines had become barricades to growth, adventure, and joy. God had been calling me back into life’s dance some time before, and I was waiting like a wilting wallflower in the shadows. At this moment, He was extending His hand like a lifeline, beckoning me back onto the dance floor before autumn faded to winter. It was time to act now, or miss this opportunity forever.
I also decided to extend the opportunity to Michael one more time, and wrote this poem for him that Christmas.
“I don’t dance in apple orchards,” you say,
with a straight face, then a smile,
but all the while, my hand extends to yours.
“Come,” I say, “please dance.”
But you won’t bend.
“I don’t dance in apple orchards,” you stress.
And then, you wink.
But dare I ask again?
I know that you are resolute,
and I know that life will end
in an absolute blink, in the time it takes
for these apples, weighty with August’s wine,
to loosen from limp stems in a gust of ruthless wind
and fall and bruise and roll and roil
into bubbling decay.
“I don’t dance,” you say.
But if not now, then when?
And if not here, between these choreographed rows of
red-lanterned trees, festooned for plein-air dance
(like Sargent’s lanterned garden all aglow with twilight),
The painter highlights the evanescent hour,
and daily, feverishly dances transient light onto canvas,
knowing magic soon will end.
Is it possible to compress beauty?
I dare to ask again:
Will you thrust yourself into my arms
and commence this pas de deux?
Don’t fret about the steps.
Let the magic lead . . .
All life’s a dance
begging you to enter in,
to move in its embrace.
Take your cue:
Trace how the apples dance from breeze-swayed boughs,
before they fall.
To what dance is God beckoning you to join Him
—now—before it’s too late?
(Copyright 2013. Lynn D. Morrissey. All Rights Reserved.)