Dancing with Peggy

I attended a Concerto Competition yesterday which was held in the home of a lady who has been a supporter of the arts in our area for many years. She is elderly and physically challenged, but her love for students and music has not dimmed. I arrived early and helped Peggy with her hair and putting on her shoes because she has difficulty with both. She gets around by pushing a bright pink walker, complete with a Mercedes hood ornament attached to the side. But with all her challenges, she opened her home to ten students and their fifty guests for an afternoon filled with the sounds of Vivaldi, Haydn and Bach.

Peggy was an 8th grade teacher at one time, and while we all waited for the results of the competition, she was wheeled in her wheel chair to the front of the room to tell us a story. She said that she helped chaperone 8th grade dances back when she was a teacher long ago. “It was a special privilege to be asked by the students to chaperone, because not all the teachers were welcome at the dances,” she said with a wry smile.

It was a time when dances were formal affairs. However, even then, it was hard to get the young gentlemen on the dance floor. Therefore, it was a special moment for her when she was honored by one of her young students by being asked to dance. She said that as they danced “cheek to cheek” tears rolled down her face as she thought about the importance of making an impact on young people. She then went on to thank the accompanists, music teachers and parents that were there, reminding them that their support of these students would benefit these young musicians all of their lives.

Peggy can’t dance with her eighth grade students anymore, but nothing can stop her from giving of herself and impacting the lives of the people around her. And as she pushed her pink walker through the room with her big smile, in her heart, she was dancing!

Sharing Joy

We had our Victorian Christmas Ball in December, and while we were cleaning up, a first time attendee approached me and said, “I want to thank you for this wonderful event. There is not a lot of joy in my life right now, and this event brought me joy. I brought just my daughter to this dance, but I have a wife and two other children, and I want to bring them to the next Ball so that they can experience this.” Joy! I’m sure that it looks like I am teaching dance steps at the Ball, but one of my deeper motives is to share joy.

I read once that one of the ways to be happy is to think of ten things that you are thankful for before you get out of bed in the morning. I grew up in the city, and now when I wake up in the morning, I see the leaves of large oak trees outside my window. I listen to the chickens and goats and am thankful to live in this beautiful area. My kids used to listen to Veggie Tales CD’s, and one song that has “stuck” with our family (and is sung to anyone who is having a grumpy moment) has the line, “A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart.”

I was recently rereading The Joyful Christian by C.S. Lewis. In it there is a quote that says, “Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth? – or at least, ‘Do you care about the same truth?’ The man who agrees with us that some (thing) … is of great importance can be our friend.”

As I think about all of you who attend the balls, I am thankful and joyful that we see the same truth: the truth that our families and friends are worth spending time with and that our children are worth the time it takes to teach them manners and etiquette. I hope that our upcoming events bring you much joy!