It’s Been So Hard

In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

If there was ever a song that is, at once, a beautiful prayer and sage advice, it is “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. The song’s lyrics can be read cogently in their entirety:

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 by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance

The lyrics really went to my heart, and her touching words continue:

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they’re worth taking
Lovin’ might be a mistake
But it’s worth making
Don’t let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance

Then, interspersed between her exhortations for me to “dance,” there are other voices chiming in with a profound truth:

Time is a real and constant motion always
Rolling us along
Tell me who
Wants to look back on their youth and wonder
Where those years have gone

Apart from the uplifting message of this song, “I Hope You Dance” has a particularly significant importance to me. In 2008, my wife and I held a charity golf outing to fund research into Ataxia-Telangiectasia, the crippling disease that eventually took my daughter and sent her back to her Lord. On a DVD that was given to us by the AT Children’s Project, the charity for which we held the fundraiser, this song was playing. Whenever I hear this song, it reminds me of that beautiful, sunny day in June when we played golf, had a wonderful dinner, and our beautiful Bayan was still healthy and alive.

It is both a happy and painful memory, because she is no longer with us. I can no longer enjoy her company, have my heart warmed by her beautiful smile, and sit next to and comfort her. It is when I think of my daughter who passed away that Womack’s challenge, “I hope you dance,” really strikes a nerve.

When I sat and watched my daughter die, I was given a choice to “sit it out or dance.” That experience knocked me down very hard. It was the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life.

I made my choice: I chose to dance.

But, it has been so hard. Indeed, I have kept Ms. Womack’s promise to “give faith a fighting chance” and “give the heavens above more than just a passing glance.” In fact, it is because of my faith and the heavens above that I have been even able to get back up from my crisis. Indeed, I look to the Precious Beloved to help me with my dance steps. Indeed, I try to “still feel small/When you stand by the ocean.”

But, dancing has been so hard. It’s hard to dance without my daughter. It’s hard to dance knowing that I can never see her again, except, maybe, in a dream. It’s so hard to think of her beautiful face and know that she is truly gone. But, I am trying. I have made my choice: I chose to dance.

And there is one thing, among the infinite things, that I ask the Precious Beloved Lord: that one day, I can meet my daughter again, in the soothing coolness of His Garden, and dance with her to this song.


One thought on “It’s Been So Hard

  1. This is one of my favorite songs.
    I’ve listened to the lyrics over and over.
    They are powerful.

    I know I don’t understand your loss, but what I do share with you is your love for our Lord and KNOW that turning to Him in times of ‘being knocked down’ is THE ONLY salvation.

    May He keep you and yours, strong, strong, stronger.


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