I Hope You Dance
I have always used writing as a tool to heal from within. It provides opportunities for reflection and insight to your inner most thoughts and the sentiments of your heart. Upon discovering a lump in my breast for the 3rd time, I wrote the following sentiments that speak to the very heart of my desire:
If someone asks you what you want, there are a myriad of things that come to mind. However, when you are staring at the face of death, your true desires are revealed.
I rarely speak on extreme personal issues because I was raised to be proud and never share too many intricate details because it is simply nobody’s business. For some reason life keeps showing me that sometimes our darkest moments are everybody’s business.
I spend much of my time pouring what I feel to be positive energy into the world from any medium permitted and then there are those moments that I have to go back and read my own quotes, digest my own blogs and watch my own media because I need encouragement to endure.
Today, marks the 3rd time that I dance with death. Although it sounds harsh, it is the honest truth.
About a week ago, I discovered for the 3rd time a lump in my breast. The time period between the moment of discovery and the initial doctor’s visit is absolutely agonizing.
This is the moment that the needle hits the record and the music begins.
The melody begins slowly and the sound of classical strings fill your heart and mind. Your listening ear becomes more keen as the notes appear as the faces of the people that you love the most. Your eyes fill with tears as you consider that you might not have an opportunity to spend the “couple of forevers” that Chrisette Michele sings so beautifully about with your husband. The notion that the infinite heartbeat that yearns inside of you for your children may cease to exist is absolutely deafening. Tears roll down your face as you are summoned to the dance floor. To dance with death is to dance with desire.
For people like me who thrive off of music, an invitation to the dance floor is always an honor but not when you dance with your mortality.
The Bible tells us to be confident in the unknown for the creator holds the key to life’s myriad of experiences and the meanings that accompany them but in our flesh, we often submit to the inner voice that tangos with uncertainty when the music begins. To dance with death is to dance with desire.
The strum of the guitar leads you to a familiar melody that brings you peace. It is desire.
The melodies of my heart accompanied by lyrics of love speak my desires. “I desire to live” is the loudest, sweetest music to my ears. I desire to serve God and love my husband. I desire to raise my children and give them the comfort that resides in knowing without question that they are loved and worthy of love. I desire to be a good daughter and friend. I desire to fulfill my purpose on earth and share my gifts. I desire to live.
When you dance with death, there is no greater sound that fills your core than the resounding lyrics “I desire to live”. And although I know not what the future holds, I rest assured that there are too many women and men who have been called to the dance floor to two step with the possibility and often reality of breast cancer. When will the music end?
My first invitation to dance was extended when I was in high-school at the age of 16. Back then, this topic was taboo to say the least. No one adult or of a similar age had spoken of discovering lumps in their breast. This was even before the massive movement chartered by Susan G. Komen to paint the nation pink. I was alone on the dance floor with death. I had no one to talk to and no one who understood. I underwent surgery to remove the lump and was told that it was benign. I returned to school and never spoke of it. I was embarrassed. I did not learn much from that experience except the reinforcement of my sentiments to remain silent about personal issues.
Fast forward 15 years and I received another invitation. This time, I was pregnant with my first daughter Lauren and now, I considered the alternative. Death had grabbed my hand. What if I would die and never have an opportunity to raise my daughter? What if I left behind my new husband? The melody was melancholy and absolutely morbid.
Several months after giving birth, I underwent another surgery to remove another benign tumor. The words “you are ok” dwelled in my heart like an infinite vibration. The song ended and death had let go of my hand.
Since that time, I have learned to not be ashamed of the scars that I bear on my chest and dance daily with multiple partners. I dance with prayer, peace, happiness, hope and most importantly love. I have learned to live each day as though it could be my last. I have learned to seize the moment and create lasting pieces of myself like crazy. I desire to leave my talents here on earth as God intended.
I can only pray that this dance that I now face ends with the same finale as the last two songs. Throughout my dances with death, my desires have been revealed. I thought that I wanted fortune. I thought that I wanted to build an empire. I thought that I wanted to be a mogul. But my dance with death revealed that my inner most desire is to live and love. Those are the words that death whisper to me as we dance.
I am reminded of my absolute favorite song written by Lee Ann Womack. This song is a constant reminder to each of us to live each day with rigor and relevance:
Lee Ann Womack’s I Hope You Dance:
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that 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.
As I move closer to the dance floor and embrace the melody, I feel stronger than ever. I understand with gratitude that I was placed here to be of service and unless I am grounded in this notion, then I will always misstep on the heels of death. I can’t say with certainty what tomorrow holds, but I’ve learned to dance quite well. I hope you dance.
Ardre Orie, Empowerment Maven