Monday, March 16, 2009

Dancing in Church

Sunday, Göran danced at Lyndale United Church of Christ. The music he danced to -- chosen to fit the theme of the sermon for the day -- was the song "Home" from the musical The Wiz, sung by Diana Ross. It was beautiful, perhaps the best dance performance I've ever seen him do (and I've seen him do many).

As always, I wept. I can't help myself whenever I see him dance at church. He is so beautiful, so comfortable in his own skin, so centered, so confident. Göran has never been as verbally articulate as I am. But in movement and gesture, he is able to express himself with a grace I will never be able to. When he dances in church it is his testimony, his expression of what God has done in his life, told through movement. This past Sunday, he told of past pain and confusion, of pleading with God for help, and then of finding himself, finding his strength, and then moving forward with boldness and love. He told of his own process of finding home where, in the words of the song, "there is love and affection."

Watching him, I was reminded of the obvious truth of both our lives. Without him, where would I be? Without me, where would he be? My search for "home" is made possible because of the strength I've found in him. I have been there every step of the way in his own search for "home," which culminated in our trip to Memphis last summer. But like Dorothy in The Wiz, we have learned again and again at the end of our various journeys toward home that home was also there all along. We only needed to look in our own backyard. I was reminded in watching him dance how we have become "home" to each other; how there's "no place like home," like the home that we've become to each other.

I partly also wept because I wish he could dance like that in my home ward. I'm not sure Mormons are ready for liturgical dance. I don't think I've ever seen that in a Mormon church. (It's rare enough in Protestant churches!) But beyond the lack of an appropriate stage in a typical ward house and the confusion that would be inspired by anything outside of the standard hymn - prayer - announcements - sacrament - talks - hymn - prayer format, there is the reality of me and him, of our home, our love that is the context for this particular dance.

But part of me so deeply wishes he could dance there, both figuratively and literally. That he, that we, could find the unconditional love and support there that would enable us both to dance, with our whole hearts and our whole souls.


Beck said...

"But part of me so deeply wishes he could dance there, both figuratively and literally."

There are always "Road Show" nights, but I don't believe that is what you are referring to... :)

"That he, that we, could find the unconditional love and support there that would enable us both to dance, with our whole hearts and our whole souls."

Amen and Amen! May we all pray that such time can come sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful post, John. You are very good with your descriptions and th ways in which you form your thoughts and put words together. I almost feel like I was watching him dance as I read your words.

And I believe, as you do, that having someone in our lives, with whom we can be ourselves, be comlimented, be complemented, and whome we can truly love is the purest essence of "being home" that we can find. I am glad you have found it. I, too, have experienced it, and hope one day to have it. :)

Thank you for posting your heart.

MoHoHawaii said...

Thanks for the post. I wish I could have been there to see it.

Bored in Vernal said...


i wish you could know, there is a stage by the altar in my Mormon heart, where you and Goran dance.

J G-W said...

Beck - Göran would thrive as a road show director!! He would have a blast, and so would the kids!

A couple of years ago, I heard that a brother who was very talented in the theater and who was very involved in road show productions in one of the wards I grew up in has come out of the closet. Why are gay folks so disproportionately drawn to the performing arts?

I sing in my ward choir. It's one of the few ways I am allowed to participate in my ward as more than a passive spectator. That's how I dance in my ward, I guess... Through singing.

Duck - Thank you so much!

Mohohawaii - Thank you too! Some day we'll make it up to visit the home town of Microsoft and Starbucks, and we can all go out dancing together! You'll see my man really has some moves. (I can never keep up with him!!)

BIV - If you have faith, if you are faithful, please keep us in your prayers. That's what I'm asking of all our active LDS friends now. Please pray regularly for us. That is the best way to keep us in your heart! (We can dance there too!)

Bored in Vernal said...

OK sweetie, but I'm sure I need your prayers more than you need mine. You are one of the most faithful people I know. Please return the favor. Love to you.

J G-W said...

BIV - It's a deal.