Everyone — our team and all the kids — sat on the back field after a late dinner, tense in the knowledge that the next morning, we would blink away the haze, swallow the tears, and board the vehicle that would transport us back to Bangalore.
I saw Pavi motion for me to come sit on his blanket. I joined him and we watched while the others set up the stereo so we could have one final dance party before leaving.
“Will you dance with us?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I’ll try.”
He nodded. “Celebrating tonight is … strange feeling.”
Children talked loudly all around us and stereo static whistled while we sat there quietly in the grass and looked up at the stars. He put his arm through the bend of my elbow.
After a long silence, he asked, “How do we dance when we have this much heart pain?”
How do you answer when asked all you’ve ever hoped to know of grace?
What do you say when someone who has shouldered enough heart pain for a lifetime before finishing ninth grade asks you how to rejoice in spite of crushing sorrow? It’s like asking one blind how to see.
“I don’t know how, Pavi, I just know that we do. We just learn to dance even when heart pain is heavy… we still have heart pain, and we still dance. We don’t not dance because of tomorrow, we celebrate because we’re here.”
It was enough. Inadequate to describe the grace of God, but enough for the moment there on the field.
Isn’t everything we know about rejoicing incomplete? Isn’t every dance accompanied by heart pain as we long for the day when He makes all things new?
Maybe it’s grace that lets us roll up our cuffs, let our hair down, look heartbreak in the eye, and turn up the stereo. Could the pain be part of the gift? Might we miss the miracle by grieving what is later instead of celebrating what is now?
“This is my song!” Pavi is a phenomenal dancer, one of the best I’ve seen on either side of the globe.
“This song’s yours?”
I saw joy in his eyes, felt pain in my heart, and trusted in eight thousand miles’ worth of grace.
Aaja aaja jind shamiyane ke tale …
“It’s mine too.”