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Driving has always been one of the ways that I can get out and catch my breath. Sometimes it includes a companion in the passenger seat. It very often doesn’t. There have been many conversations with God along country roads. Tears might even form if I am wrestling with painful circumstances, or deep belly laughs might occur when I have an old memory pop up.

From Central Illinois to Texas

Growing up, the scenery was in Central Illinois, and there were backroads that I became so familiar with, as I often drove before basketball games, listening to whatever metal band would get the adrenaline flowing. Sometimes, I think I tanked my adrenaline too early and should have waited for closer to the game.

These days, most drives take me out into the Texas Hill Country. Sometimes, it has been driving just for the sake of driving. Recently, the drives have had a purpose in getting me to State Parks or State Natural Areas.

As I drove to Lost Maples, I was in awe of all the hills and dips and climbs and curves. Those who know me, know that I am probably a preppy/jock/metalhead from my teenage years through most of my life. For some reason, lately, my radio has been set on country music quite a bit. Looking ahead I saw another impressive hill, and as I was the only one on a straight portion of the road, I heard the following lyrics.

I Hope You Dance

Promise me you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance

“I Hope You Dance” – LeeAnn Womack

This was the song that played during the Mother-Son dance at my wedding in 2006. I thought for certain my Mom knew the song. She didn’t know the song, but in recent conversations with her, I know that her Mother’s heart was very much in alignment with the sentiment of the song. Time and painful events have definitely taken a toll on me over the years, and injected plenty of doubt into giving “faith a fighting chance.” Yet, a faith that hasn’t suffered a number of attacks is never tested, and never allows the genuineness to show.

…so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:7

Hike (“dance”) by Faith

Not long after I heard this song, I entered Lost Maples to “walk around.” What I didn’t know is that I would meet up with a small group of strangers who invited me to follow them. This happened when I stated that “I’ve never been here and don’t know where I’m going.” Well, that took some faith I guess, as I didn’t know them, and took a little more when they explained how far they were going to walk.

The only dancing that occurred on this long hike was when I would nearly lose my balance and I had to quickly shuffle and adjust my feet. In any case, it took some faith to enter this dance (aka a hike). After 5 miles and climbing as high as 2240 feet, I had said Jesus’ name more times than I can remember (and none as a cuss word). All were some quiet prayers usually accompanied by “help me.”

I rolled in toward the New Year, almost literally, as the only shape I could ascribe to myself was “rounder.” This hike was a challenge, but it was full of wonder. My gasps for breath and less than confident climbing at some points of the hike, did indeed remind me that I have to “give faith a fighting chance.” Because there are so many trials and trails and adventures that are beyond my natural abilities or what I can seem to muster in the moment, I have to. I could have sat this one out, but I’m glad I “danced” that day. I’ll be doing this dance again very soon, after another long country drive.

One Comment

  1. Avatar DCabs

    Chris Kurz

    Love this! I’m not sure there are many more powerful prayers than, “Jesus, help me.”
    More and more, I’m seeing reality as relational at its core and moving towards God and ourselves and each other are ways that we dance. Thomas Merton describes our interaction with God as a dance just like you have in this post. Thank you for sharing. What we learn during our ongoing dance with God, we can pass on by dancing with each other and I have learned a lot from you! So grateful!

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