Monday, February 09, 2009

The Dancing Post

"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..."

"She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,Without a care in the world.And I'm sittin' here wearin' the weight of the world on my shoulders.It's been a long day and there's still work to do,She's pulling at me saying "Dad I need you!There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited and I need to practice my dancin'""Oh please, daddy, please!"

It’s a 2-1/2 hour drive each way. I know where every freeway, rest-stop, and In-N-Out is located along the way. The pre-sets on my car radio are set to country and gospel stations for each county. I know where the broadcast signals end and begin. Ebb and flow, the drive allows thinking, praying, reflecting.

Like in a Winnie-The-Pooh movie, a dark cloud hovers round my head. A seeming darkness in mood, unrelenting tightness in my chest (not changed by loosening the seat-belt). Little things; financial worries, relational issues (a sister who isn’t speaking to me, a mother who doesn’t know God), work pressures. Big picture, a lack of vision, focus, pulling forward. I’d say ‘mid-life crisis’ if these periods didn’t sporadically occur in my life. Maybe in all of our lives.

Days like this, I wonder. What could I have done differently? What if I had followed a different career path (or just A career path)? Perhaps I should have pursued riches and material gain. What if I’d had counsel along the way, an elder guide, a parent who’d invested in this process?

The music on the radio is suddenly heard. “So I will dance with Cinderella, while she is here in my arms, 'cause I know something the prince never knew. Oh, I will dance with Cinderella, I don't want to miss even one song', Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight, and she’ll be gone.”

For thirteen years, a fundamental element in all my decision making is: How will this affect my being a father? Time, ethics, work choices and a million more miniscule daily decisions all run consciously or sub-consciously through this filter. And I’ve done all right.

Bend in the freeway; rise on the road, the gospel station disappears. Switch over to the country station. “And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance, I hope you dance.”

As I pull into the nursing facility driveway, I continue to wrestle with each of these circumstances. Deep down though, there is a rock-solid comfort in knowing that, at least, I did wrestle. At times, prevailed. Some days, too, I chose to dance.