The dance of life and the dance of death


Melissa Martin, Ph.D.



Each individual engages in a dance of life and a dance of death. We are only given a short time to dance upon this Earth. At times, our dance is chaotic and we chase after our dreams, and sometimes we run away from our nightmares. Sometimes our dance is a fun hip-hop, a slow waltz, a spicy salsa or a tantalizing tango.

Sometimes we chase the dance, and sometimes the dance chases us. Some spend their dance wrapped in financial worries; some dance with greed and others dance with generosity; some chase fame and fortune; some chase power and prestige; others escape into the dance of alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, sexual escapades; some chase an adrenaline high while others dance with serenity; some dance with education and knowledge; some chase enlightenment and wisdom; some dance with peace and others dance with war; some dance with families and children while some dance alone; some chase astrology and aliens; some dance with religion and others dance with spirituality; some dance with traveling while others dance in their own backyards; some dance with the poor and some dance with the rich; some dance with the young and some dance with the old; some chase beauty and thinness; some dance with nature; some dance in the city and some dance in the country; some change partners in the dance; some dance with discrimination and hatred while others dance with compassion for humanity; some dance with freedom while others dance in chains; some dance with music and art; some dance in silence while others shout; some dance with books instead of relationships; some dance with fear and chase ghosts; some dance in the past and forsake the present; some dance with mental illness while others chase sanity; some dance to their own rhythm while others dance to the tune of others; some stumble in the dance and quit while others are more resilient; some dance with pain and some dance with pleasure; some dance with guilt while chasing forgiveness; some dance with flowers and others dance with weeds; some dance with a hardened heart while others dance with a malleable heart: some dance with gratitude while others shake their fists at Heaven; some dance with a wounded soul and others chase healing; some dance with joy and laughter; some dance with tears and tragedy; some dance as victims while others dance as survivors; some dance by choice and some dance by force; some dance with angels and some dance with demons.

The dance of life is a circle that ebbs and flows with repeated lessons of learning. The dance steps are never quite mastered. The dance is black or white to some, but shades of grey for others. The dance is paradoxical, complex and surreal. The dance is enchanting and awe-inspiring. Sometimes the dance of life slips by us in our youth, and old age causes us to ponder and re-evaluate our priorities. Some dance with regret and some dance with precious memories.

For some, the dance of death comes too soon, and for others, not soon enough.

Hobbling to her closet, the regal woman lays down her cane and stares at the weathered cardboard boxes. Her brittle knees crackle as she drops to the floor. Age and arthritis have twisted her toes. Osteoporosis devoured her bones in the latter years. Frustrated with fading eyesight, she routs through the clutter. After several minutes of rummaging, she finds the box of her beloved shoes. Blowing away dust and spider webs, she gently lifts out the ballet slippers with the faded pink leather. Clutching the shoes to her chest and closing her eyes, she steps back into her childhood recitals; days adorned in leotards, tutus and ribbons. Laughing, she dangles her worn ballroom slippers in the air. The Glenn Miller Band transports her to the grand dance floor; swirling and twirling — spinning and grinning. Memories flood her senses as she hums with the orchestra. Her dance card was always full with debonair partners. Silver heels catch her eye in another box, and she smiles. She won a dance contest with these lucky shoes. Turning the photo album pages in her mind, she reminisces on the days, weeks and months of her life. Dancing was her passion. Folks said she was a natural. Tears well up. Her dance buddies have left her alone with nothing but shoes and memories. She finds a yellowed photograph signed by her idols, Fred and Ginger. Hours pass as she revisits moments of waltzing on the grand dance floor. Goose bumps appear as she relives the tango and the rumba. The scent of perfume and sweat mingles in her nose as she kisses her fancy footwear. Becoming weary, she closes the boxes and struggles to stand up as vertebrae snap and pop. Grabbing her cane as she shuffles toward the bedroom, she lovingly cradles the pink slippers. She knows the last dance is near.

The dance is us, and we are the dance. Our earthly dance is only for a brief time.

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Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.