December 2005 Archives

The following story is included in the Christmas cards my mother sent out this year. It's a true story; I know this because it happened to her.
My 2005 Christmas Blessing

On December 9, 2005, my younger brother in Salt Lake City received a phone call from a person whom he had never met, and he told him he was in possession of a box of personal items that had belonged to one of our brothers who had died in 1947. My brother later called me to tell me about the unusual call. I contacted this person, Erik, and I relate to you what transpired after the conversation.

I shared with Erik that I was only five and one-half years old when our dad died. I am the youngest girl in our family of seven girls and five boys. I was devastated when my dad died, but I attached my affections to one of my older brothers as my surrogate dad. His name was Rease.

During WWII, Rease served in the US Air Force as an x-ray tech, stationed in Colorado and Amarillo. As a result of not being provided with the proper shield from exposure to radiation, he developed cancer. He was medically discharged and he and his wife returned to Sherman, TX where her parents lived, and he was briefly employed as an aircraft mechanic at Perrin AFB in Sherman. God had a purpose for him....but it was not to be healed from the cancer; God called him home in June, 1947. It was another devastating loss for me. I was 18, he was 32.

Years passed and his wife, Ruth, died about five years ago. She had remarried, but lost her second husband to cancer, also. Since she had no living relatives, and her house is undergoing some changes, one of her neighbors, also a good friend to her, fell heir to her personal items, and this lady is the mother of the young man that contacted my brother in Salt Lake City. She, in turn, gave the items to Erik. (He found a list of the names of all twelve children of our family among the contents, and wished to give the items to us.) There are only five of us still living. This past Tuesday, I received a package containing many personal items that had belonged to my brother, among which was his wallet with personal cards, military ID tags (2 sets), driverís license, and the greatest surprise of all: a picture of me that I had sent to him when I was a senior in high school (1945/46). It has been 58 years since his death, and I am at a loss for words to describe the emotions I experienced upon receiving that part of him at this special time of the year. My Christmas will be merrier because Erik chose to share tangible memories with us.
Of course, I never knew Rease, my uncle, but I've heard family speak of him on many occasions and I consider him to be one of the multitude who gave his life serving our country, even if not on the battlefield. It's a blessing, indeed, to know that some tangible reminders of his life have been restored to his family through the caring diligence of a young man who had no logical reason or obligation to go to the trouble of tracking down that family. That sort of giving gladdens the heart better than anything we can find in a mall.

The Church of the Blessed Box Step
December 22, 2005 2:21 AM | Posted in: ,

I haven't done a very good job of keeping you apprised of our dancing adventures, although judging by the overwhelming absence of feedback that hasn't bothered you much. Nevertheless, it's important that you know that following our Introduction to Ballroom Dancing class we felt comfortable enough with our newly-acquired skills to sign up for the next Introduction to Ballroom Dancing class. 

Yes, that's right; we repeated the class. I suppose that there are genetically-superior, rhythm-enhanced bipedal organisms who can master the steps to seven dances in just four classes, but MLB and I don't fall into that category. 

So, anyway, we've just completed the second four-week intro class, and we feel good enough about our progress that we're going to sign up for a third round when it's offered again, probably in January. 

We missed our Sunday School Christmas party because it fell on the same evening as our final class meeting, and we were quizzed about it at another social gathering of our Sunday School class a couple of weeks later. Interestingly, before the evening was over, most of the couples in attendance had convinced themselves that they wanted to join us in the next class. (OK, to be honest, most of the wives had come to that conclusion; the husbands adopted that gritted-teeth grin that has appeared in the face of lost marital causes for millennia.) 

 I don't expect that everyone will follow through, but the idea of an all-Baptist dance class has a certain oxymoronic appeal. After all, it's been only about a decade since our church's deacon covenant contained a prohibition against engaging in "the social dance," and I'm sure that there are any number of churches which continue to frown upon the practice, if not outright condemn it. (I've always wondered about the Biblical support for this view, by the way. I realize that one of King David's wives, Michal, "despised" her husband for dancing, but I think it's because she thought he looked silly, a standard which I hope no longer applies as it would effectively end the dancing ambitions of about 90% of the male half of the public.) 

Contemplating the possibility of a Baptist dance got me started thinking about how to explain this to those who might fall onto the slightly less open-minded end of the spectrum, and it occurs to me that ballroom dancing is actually a good metaphor for a healthy Godly marriage and life in general. No, really. Here are a few examples:
  • The responsibility for leading the dance steps belongs to the man; the woman follows his lead. That's the rule; I didn't make it up. So, too, with marriage, where Scripture tells us that the husband is the head and the wife is to submit to his leadership.

  • But this leadership role carries great responsibility, both in dancing and marriage. In the dance, the man's every move should be to make his partner look good and feel secure. When he does his job in this way, they both benefit. That's the model for a marriage, too.

  • In dance, the music dictates the steps, and trying to force different steps onto the music leads to confusion and disarray. Just try waltzing to a tango if you doubt this. In life, God has created a set of rules, designed with our good in mind. Attempts to bend or bypass those rules inevitably leads to sadness and confusion.

  • However, even within a given dance, there's freedom to embellish the steps, provided the basic rules are not violated. And, contrary to popular belief, God provides us with a significant degree of freedom to live our lives within the general context of His will.

  • And last, but certainly not least, the dance is supposed to be fun and full of joy. I believe that's God's desire for us, as well.
Perhaps these comparisons are a stretch. No matter. In the end, the important thing is that there's far more good than harm associated with an activity that brings a husband and wife together in an activity that requires teamwork, practice and an ability to take themselves a bit less seriously than before.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2005 is the previous archive.

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