10 years ago, unable to lift my feet to walk, I shuffled into physical therapy for my back. Three pregnancies in as many years had aggravated my scoliosis to the point where I was no longer able to move without crazy severe pain. It was the kind of pain that made childbirth feel good. Well, maybe not really, but it sure seemed that way at the time.
After studying the x-rays, and watching me attempt to twist and turn and bend, the physical therapist asked me to help set some goals for the therapy. Weeping, I said, "I just want to be able to dance in the kitchen with my babies without any pain." It was always one of my favorite things to crank the music up loud and just goof off with the kids on my tile kitchen "dance" floor. The physical therapist showed me the x-ray of my gnarled, twisted spine and with sympathetic eyes, gently chuckled. He said that I could probably learn to walk without severe pain, and lift my kids again, but I would never be able to run, mop, and most certainly never ever dance pain free.
For many seasons he was correct. With his help, I regained most of my mobility, but survived in constant, horrible, severe pain. I continued with the stretches and modifications that I learned and gradually resumed most of my normal life, with the occasional need for a muscle relaxer when my pain became more than I could bear.
Tonight as I was gyrating my way through zumba (a Latin aerobic dance class), I remembered his diagnosis and prognosis. It has been many years since I have even worried about how I am moving my back. It is true that my back is stiff and doesn't have total and complete movements, and there are several of the rolling, twisting moves that I have yet to master. It is true that when the rest of the class is doing sit ups, I flop like a beached whale because my lower back only bends to the side. It is true that I am not polished or smooth or even good at the dancing... but dancing I am. I am jumping, and leaping, and running, and lunging, and squatting, and rolling, and pumping, and well.....moving. With basically no pain at all. With no thought to whether or not the next movement will be the one that pushes me over the edge into the abyss of unbearable pain.
So tonight as I was watching myself in the mirror, I was not contemplating my size like I normally am, I was rejoicing that God chose to go the extra mile and give me my wish. My wish to be able to dance in the kitchen with my kids without pain. I would have been satisfied with just walking. But He gave me dancing.
How awesome is it that our God is like that! When all we need is to walk - but he gives us the pleasure of more. He lets us dance with absolute joy. I am glad that He is generous and allows us to experience the depths and pleasures of life and that He takes delight in us being delighted. Of course, I am talking about more than actually dancing in the kitchen. I am talking about food having flavors, and colors being vibrant, and music being lovely, and children being precious, and so much more. God gave us beauty. And tonight, I remembered to be thankful.