Sunday, June 19, 2011

Do you dance in your kitchen?

I have a confession for you.

When the day runs long, I turn on pop music. Not to make a clever, ironic and ultimately sophisticated statement about the banality of repetitive chord progression, or the blank pages of lyrics. Not to lament my 10 hour day or to escape thinking about things, to make my own mind void.

Nope, I turn it on because there are moments when I must remember that dancing in your kitchen and laughing are important parts of choosing the joyful life.

I thought about blogging today about Trinity Sunday, and the beautiful strong Name of the Trinity. What does it mean to bind yourself to that name? What is the mystery of Trinity, of Three and One?

But if this life is about growing in joy, binding myself to Him means remembering out loud the ways that He teaches me to love this world. And today I want to share a little bit of that with you.

We dance in the kitchen. Me, Mom, the brothers and sister when she's home, even Dad on occasion. We bump into chairs and into our table, we spin around and glasses of water shake precariously as the floorboards quake. The sun sneaks in through the windows, the breeze through the hallway. The music blasts from my laptop and it's too catchy not to dance.

It starts in our shoulders, the uncontrollable bopping to the beat, and then we are on our feet, sneakers and hot pink shoes and sandals. and our hands are in the air and we are snapping fingers and jumping up and down. And we sing the wrong lyrics or no lyrics, and it's just us and the laughter beaming from one person to another. And we are never embarrassed (well, almost never), because the music is in our veins and we move in spite of ourselves and all those pesky insecurities.

How can this be? Because when the world presents itself to us, all full of mess and glory, when we watch water beads on the rhododendron petals, when we share stories over cupcakes and tea, when we try new recipes on the grill and offer to buy groceries for our parents - we can choose to make that the heartbeat of our lives. Those don't have to be isolated moments of love in a story of despair. We don't have to live a lamentation punctuated by joy: we could live hope tempered with sorrow, love softened and deepened by what is difficult. But the story we tell could spell joy and love and laughter in bigger letters.

It's not easy. I feel like I fight the temptation to lament often these days. I feel like the vortex of dramatic despair is wide and beckons, calls out a wild call that my troubles are insolvable, and my heart is wounded, and my fears are going to be realized, and all my hopes will be disappointed.

But there is a fidgety and joyful person inside me, and she wants to dance in her kitchen and sing loudly in her car and let her feet carry her through streets and past barking dogs on long runs. This Hilary doesn't have patience for wallowing in what is difficult. She wants to look foolish and laugh and beam back the joy that surrounds us all every moment.

So I ask you: is your fidgety joyful person aching to dance in your kitchen? Have you given them a chance to let loose, shaken off the weight of work this week, uncertainty about love and future and departure, and hit "Play" on the cheesiest pop music you can find? This person, too, is you. You are and can be this full of laughter and your cheeks can ache and your stomach hurt and the smile leap off your face and into our hearts.

(Mandie Sodoma, Sindisiwe Photography)

Here is your assignment: wherever you are, reading this, listen to the following, and dance your heart out:

1. Tonight, Tonight - Hot Chelle Rae
2. Party Rock Anthem ft. Lauren Bennett, Goon Rock  - LMFAO
3. Say Hey (I Love You) - Michael Franti & Spearhead
4. Celui - Colonel Reyel
5. Alors, On Danse - Stromaƫ

And imagine me dancing my heart out with you!



  1. Oh how I love this! : ) I'm glad other families have kitchen dance parties, too! I'm counting down the days until I head down south to my family... and I'm 99.9% positive that the very first thing my sister will want to do is have a dance party. In the kitchen. And I can't wait!! Until then, I will just have my own little kitchen dance party (and I will definitely try your recommended dance party songs!). : ) I hope you are having a fabulous weekend!

  2. LOVE this. So beautiful, and so very very honest. I think I've learned to dance a little more in my kitchen with Gregory Orr wrote in his poem "To be Alive"....

    To be alive: not just the carcass
    But the spark.
    That's crudely put, but ...

    If we're not supposed to dance,
    Why all this music?

    ~ Gregory Orr ~

    (Concerning The Book That Is the Body Of The Beloved)

  3. Miranda - I hope you and your sister dance the whole night away when you have your joyful reunion - how wonderful!

    Lauren - That poem is perfect. We should have a dance party in your kitchen or in mine, very soon. Thank you for visiting, friend!

  4. love this! the laughter, the joy. . . so often the antidote to the pain, the sorrow--or simply the bad mood :-)
    beautifully written and shared--thank you so much!


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