Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


The Good Enough Mother and Her Perfect Ballerina

Just before Christmas, our four-year-old daughter donned a green sequin costume with the rest of her ballet class and performed a dance routine for a packed auditorium of proud, swooning parents.

The day before we had rushed in late to the dress rehearsal from an afternoon of last-minute shopping, having forgotten Sam’s costume. When we arrived, all the green-sequined ballerinas in their pink canvas slippers were on stage as this flustered mother hustled Sam up the stairs, planting purple-corduroyed Sam in her hot pink Nikes among her fellow dancers.

So sorry and better late and without a costume than never and an understanding yes of course! followed in the ensuing exchange with Sam’s teachers, with me scrambling off stage as quickly as I had come, seeking to make the least disruption in the frenzied choreographic preparations now underway.

But by this time the damage had been done and I knew it: first, a trembling lip, then a whimper and finally a full-blown cry let loose from the girl in the purple corduroys. In no time a teacher had scooped her up, attempting dubious reassurances. It’s okay, Sam. I’m not in costume either, see?

There and then my daughter’s future flashed before my eyes: somewhere in her trove of memories to be exhausted on a couch with a shrink would be this moment, when her mother made her dance to a schmaltzy version of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” as the only little girl in purple corduroys and hot pink Nikes.

So there and then I prayed for Sam and for me: Help, God. Please.

Sure enough, Sam made it through. And the next day, as she and twenty other little girls pranced and plied across a stage in the glare of the spotlight, there she was again–the outlier. This time the matching leotard and green sequins couldn’t disguise a little girl who had once again (this time unknowingly) broken rank. Off to the far right of center stage and twenty other dancers, but performing the same motions as the rest of the bunch, was a little girl oblivious to her solo act and a mother’s proud, affectionate giggles.

 

 



Previous Posts

Lessons from the Valley of the Shadow of Death
Just over six months ago, a member of our congregation announced he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer: Steve Hayner, the outgoing president of Columbia Theological Seminary, and his wife Sharol, have come to be most associated in my mind with joy; yet Steve's announcement could not have been

posted 6:16:41pm Nov. 12, 2014 | read full post »

The Prodigal God—Inspirations from Tim Keller's Book
I've missed you! The challenge of writing for a full-time job is that it can relegate recreational writing to a distant backseat. But I want to keep coming back to this intersection, because I find that when I'm away from it, my capacity to carve out space for reflection and find spiritual breathing

posted 10:04:03am Nov. 01, 2014 | read full post »

The Neuroscience of Temptation
It's been too long. I hope you're enjoying God and life. That next book I'm working on is now evolving into a book about addiction and mental illness—and how churches can and must learn to love and wel

posted 1:52:23am Oct. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Brokenness—as Creative Tension?
This morning a meditation from Paula Ripple's Growing Strong at Broken Places sparks some thoughts about embracing brokenness as the very site where God seeks to form us, like a master po

posted 10:13:15am Oct. 03, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break—The Worship Service To End All Worship Services
It's been a while since we've had a mental health break. As a little bit of comic relief at the start of another work week, this clip from a worship service somewhere in America comes from saint and sinner Paul. The comments from readers are just about as funny as the weird break dancing routine in

posted 2:12:30am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.