Last week she brought home a new pair of shoes for me to try. I put one of them on to make sure that it fit. It did. Then I put it back in the box and into the closet.
On Saturday I took out the new pair to wear for the first time and was surprised to discover that I had two left-footed shoes instead of one of each.
To say that I possess two left feet means more than this innocent mistake, though. It is to confess to a certain awkwardness and clumsiness on the dance floor, to admit that I am unable to move gracefully to music. I am not a dancer, and I have no confidence in my ability at Terpsichore.
Part of it is that I was raised as a Baptist back in a time when dancing to rock-n-roll was frowned upon by the church. It was thought to arouse temptations of the flesh for teenagers--so we were taken on hayrides, under heavy blankets, instead. Then, I became a pastor, and gyrating to Bruno Mars and Uptown Funk is not quite helpful for the image I need to project.
But this is my problem--not yours.
Audrey enjoys dancing, though, so this has been a sore spot in our marriage from the very beginning. (I don't understand it, either. She was raised as a Baptist just as much as I was!) She often goes with her 90 year old father to small dances in his community. He is among the youngest of eligible bachelors in the room, and she is "the belle of the ball." I stay home and read a book.
A compromise: we cannot leave a wedding reception without one obligatory dance to something slow by Sinatra--but that's my limit.
I thought about all of this on Sunday when we attended Bible Fellowship with Charlie Black's class on Zoom. The lesson was from Proverbs 4:11-15, 25-27, and was all about walking a straight path in life and not stumbling as we do. To be careful where our feet go, and to keep up the pace (rhythm). In the discussion that followed the class decided that the way to do that is to stay closely anchored to God's Word. To hide it in our heart, since the heart is the seat of mind, will, and emotion, the well-spring from which everything else flows.
Also, to stay away from obvious evil-doers.
To keep our eyes in the right place--fastened on the LORD who is before us (Hebrews 12:1-2) and not distracted by all that is swirling around. To let Him lead.
Two left feet--spiritually--and I would be stumbling all over the place for sure!
This past Saturday morning I was preparing to do some pre-marital counseling at the house-- for an out-of-town couple who have become dear to us. While we were waiting for Justin and Erin to arrive, I heard Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton singing Islands in the Stream on the radio. Kenny's music is a part of the soundtrack of my life. In that moment I felt the sudden urge to go over and invite Audrey to dance.
And so she took my hand and we did... like no one was watching.
Sail away with me to another world.
I love this. Have I told you about the time when we lived in Charlotte and Margaret was taking dance lessons at Fred Astaire? (A stressful time in our ministry; she had her own money to pay for the lessons, and sure, why not?) Like Audrey, she had grown up a Baptist who loved to dance. So, it was her birthday, maybe 1988, and a Thursday. We're driving out through the NC countryside. She said, "The studio is having open house tonight. I'd like you to come with me." I protested that I'm a Baptist preacher, I don't dance, I have two left feet, etc. She kept at it. I remember this distinctly: I pointed at a barn. "See that barn? I'd rather stand on top of it naked than to go to that dance studio tonight!" I went to the open house. And ended up taking lessons with her for the next year. And loved every minute of it. Two favorite memories at those wedding receptions (which is about the only place we danced thereafter). 1) A deacon's wife approached and said, "Chuck will not ever dance with me at these things, because 'the pastor is over there.' And now he gets to see his pastor dancing! Thank you!" 2) Dancing with my little granddaughters at these receptions. Abigail and Erin would stand on my feet (one person at a time!) and I'd move around. I still remember one saying, "Twirl me, Grandpa." And I did. The older ladies in the room thought it was about the sweetest thing ever. So did I. (Those girls are now 23. Abby gets married soon, so I guess I'll get one more dance with her.)