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Dancing Through Pain

I stood quietly near the door, my body shaking, pain piercing through my feet, and thoughts racing as I tried to remember the choreography. I was about to dance on stage for a Christmas concert. Part of me was afraid of walking up the steps, knowing that my body was getting weaker.

But I took a moment to breathe before the door opened into the sanctuary. As I walked up the steps slowly, I knew that my perspective of dance was still the same. Dance has brought me joy and given me a voice to express myself. That love hasn't changed even though my pain is still there. However, this time there was something different. I didn't feel alone because there was someone else with me that understood what I was going through.

When I reflect on when I first started struggling with nerve pain, I remember feeling alone because none of my friends from dance understood. At seventeen, I didn't want to believe something was wrong, so I buried the emotions for months. As years went by, I grew more determined not to give up on my passion for dance, even though I felt different because of my physical limitations.

Then on Saturday, I didn't feel alone because of the constant pain. A dear friend, Caroline, and I danced together in a concert for the first time in over a year. We both shared something in common beyond our love for dance. She also has a chronic illness. While it's different from mine, we both can relate to the constant fatigue, limiting the amount of activity, and the discouragement of daily pain. During the concert, I didn't have to say anything; she knew how hard it was to dance through the pain.

Though my body was shaking, I walked on stage closely behind Caroline and knew in my heart that God had me there for a reason. He knew even though dance was becoming more challenging, I would feel uplifted because others like this friend could relate. We can encourage each other and dance together, knowing God is faithful. Dancing through pain no longer would feel isolating.

As this year ends, I want you to reflect on your friendships. Do you have friends like Caroline that share a similar passion and understand the pain you experience? I encourage you to text, call, or write a letter to that friend. Let them know how much they have impacted your life this season.

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