It always amazes me when and how Spirit speaks—and when I’ll be open to hearing it. Take last night, for example:
Hurried home; picked all three girls up, dropped two at the High School for their standing horn lessons (they sit, the lesson stands each Monday night), drove through bad food place with youngest, inhaled food, then back to the high school where she and the rest of her elementary school were giving a concert.
This is the music teacher’s turn to showcase the work she does with the children each day. It is a carefully choreographed show, beginning with second graders coming on stage, sing their four songs, then leave will the next grade comes up, etc., and at the end, they all sing together. I went in having gathered my other daughters and still in my high-heeled boots and tight-waisted pants, ready to dread the whole affair, as I had every other year since eldest daughter began attending this elementary school.
But I was not prepared to have my heart stolen by a first-grade girl I’ve never seen before and may never recognize again. She sang in the front row, one in from the left end, and she sang with all her heart. Nay, with all her self–body and all. It became apparent that I was not the only one watching this one engaging child when the man next to me started laughing at the same time I was. Respectful laughter, I’ll add. Admiring laughter. Then a woman in front of us turned and said, “are you watching the same little girl I am?”
She was enchanting. She waggled her hips with such flair and with such self-assuredness. It was not like she was performing at all, but letting herself respond to the music. We laughed, but in awe, wishing we all had the same sense of joy that her little body exemplified.
And then, as the first-graders sang themselves off the stage in an orderly progression, this one little girl headed off the stage, raised her arm in a wave, acknowledging the crowd, as if she was saying “I’ll be here all week,” or “thank you for your kind attention.” It was at that moment that I realized that this small group of strangers in the back of the auditorium was not the only group who found this child irresistable: she waved and the audience began to applaud, even as other children still sang themselves off the stage. We erupted with appreciation at her sense of showmanship not just then, but throughout the four songs the class sang together.
We’ve all seen the kid who thinks they are all that who tries to steal the show and only comes off as aping the performance. Let me assure you, this was not that. This was a little girl, so tender, so wild, so in tune with herself and the music, she truly took my breath away.
As tired as I wanted to be in that crowded room, this performance gave everyone present a moment of bliss that could only energize, could only engage, could only inspire.
It’s hard to ignore Spirit when she speaks so clearly through the dance of a first-grader.