Sometimes a waltz feels like a carousel. There’s this lilting tune that goes along with the up and down movement of the waltz steps. There are people laughing, bright lights all around, it’s crowded. People stand in line along the walls, waiting for their turn. And those enjoying the ride are going up and down, up and down. We’re spinning, spinning, all around. I imagine myself riding a white pony with bright ribbons painted into its carved hair.
And I’m suddenly dizzy. I lose my balance, but the ride isn’t stopping. I’m holding onto my dance partner for support, willing my feet to stay beneath my body rather than over my head.
I close my eyes, and that makes it worse. So I try to appear calm while calculating how to survive the song. Then, perhaps by chance, perhaps just to find comfort, I look into the face of the dance partner I’m gripping so tightly to keep from falling. He notices and smiles. I return an obliging smirk. It’s at that point that I remember something from the lesson earlier. The teacher told us to watch our partners to stay stable. Because when you’re spinning in circles, the only thing in your eyesight that isn’t moving is the partner in front of you.
Yoga has similar advice. Many moves require standing on one foot or else placing your feet in such a way to make steadiness difficult. One trick while holding a pose is to stare at something not moving. This can be almost anything, like a dark spot in the grain of wood floors. Stare at that spot on the ground, really focus on it, and somehow balance becomes easier. Look around again and you’ll instantly sense your body wavering.
So as awkward as it feels, I force myself to look at my partner, a guy I barely know and yet am compelled to trust.
How like God.
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” Psalm 105:4
How often have I panicked and felt overwhelmed when looking at the world spinning around me? Final essays, exams, friends in crisis, debilitating illness, short deadlines, family conflict, and, on top of it all, the kitchen sink is overflowing with dishes and I’m out of clean underwear.
Get me off this ride!
But God says, Look at me, dear one.
I’m the spot on the ground that keeps you standing. I’m the partner staring you in the face, holding you in my arms. I’m unmoving and constant. I’m in control. Focus on me.
When I do, the carousel seems to slow down, and the background blurs. We’re the only dancers in the room, and nothing else matters.
“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:4