I Hope You Dance
That song by Le Ann Womack moves me every time I hear it.
"I hope you never lose your sense of wonder....May you never take one single breath for granted...And when you have the chance to sit it out or dance...I hope you daaaaance!"
I remember seeing Lee Ann perform it on the Oprah show years ago and ever since, I have felt it was the ultimate, "Enjoy Life" song.
I had a reminder of the message of "I Hope You Dance" this past Monday. As I do every Monday, I covered the show, 'Dancing with the Stars'. The producers always give me a seat in the audience and then, after the show, I will go backstage and interview the celebrities and professional dancers. I arrive to the venue about 45 minutes before the show starts. Every week, there is a "warm up" guy whose job it is to get the audience members revved up and excited for the show so they clap extra hard and scream extra loud during the actual show to give it a really good energy for everyone watching at home. He tells the audience jokes and gives them the rules of the night - no talking on cell phones, no chewing gum - but, most of all, have a lot of fun. Then, to really get them excited, he calls everyone out on the floor and leads them in a huge dance party. They turn the music up loud while everyone gets to show off their moves. They do the wobble, the electric slide...they shimmy and they shake and basically, raise the roof. It is really fun to watch. And I say "watch". That's what I do from my seat. No, I never join in. Not that I don't love to dance, I do - especially being from Motown. This Detroit girl can bust a move when she wants to. But, while I am watching the pre-party at Dancing with the Stars, I am continuing my long day from work - checking the 200-plus emails I have gotten during the day, responding to assignment requests, catching up on the lastest breaking news and sifting through all the "Reply All" jokes about many of the crazy stories that happen. To put it bluntly, there is no time for fun. And, if I have to admit, I really didn't want to risk anyone getting some potential YouTube video of that woman on TV grooving to "Shake It Off".
But, on this particular day, while I was on "delete-email-Number123", I happened to glance up to check out the revelry and I noticed a woman who was dancing VERY enthusiastically. She was swinging her arms and spinning and twirling and seemed to be having the best time. I couldn't take my eyes off of her (and neither could anyone else). She really stood out. Talk about someone "waving their arms in the air like they just don't care"...well, she was definitely doing that all the while having the biggest grin on her face. After about 10 minutes, the audience went back to their seats and I chuckled when I saw the dancing lady was actually sitting just a few rows from me. With just a few minutes to go before the actual show went on the air, the "warm-up" guy then went over to the woman and asked her about her dancing, teasing her about being the center of attention. She responded by saying, "Well, I am a Stage 4 cancer survivor. I'm alive 3 years after doctors told me I wouldn't be here and I enjoy every, single moment". The audience then cheered and I was close to tears. Here she was, fighting a serious battle but, not letting it get the best of her. She was living every minute as if it were her last - dancing as hard and as much has she could, not afraid of who was looking or possibly judging her. Just thankful that she had another day.
At that moment, I felt really silly about staying in my seat week after week after week. Yes, I had more work to do but, it had been a stressful day and the best stress reliever would have been to jump right out there on the dance floor and have a good time. But, I let the moment slip right on by. There is no doubt that, when you are faced with a major health crisis, you appreciate life more. But, why should we wait until then to notice all of the wonderful and positive things around us? It's easy to get caught up with work and the myriad of obligations that demand our time. And we certainly have to prioritize or we will never get the important and necessary things done. But, sometimes you do have to take a moment, be thankful, and have fun. And when that moment comes and you have the chance to sit it out or dance, as the song goes..."I hope you dance".