17 Jun


We’ve all been in situations we never expected. One of the difficult events in my life has created so many stories – some of them even make me laugh. At the age of 41 I was widowed suddenly, and it devastated me for quite a long period of time. I wore black for a year (definitely not my usual look) and even found it difficult to go out to the movies with friends. What if someone in the movie died? How would I handle that? I wasn’t going to put my emotions out there, not just yet–maybe never.

After about 4 years, I finally got the nerve to start doing things with a dear friend of mine. She was divorced, also a situation she never expected earlier in her life—but it meant that she was available to go out at least once a week and try to have some fun. We were like two fish out of water. We tried the local craft shows, summer festivals and occasional concerts. Sometimes we went to the diner for some coffee and a piece of pie. Yes, I remember those pies…

Finally, we decided to go out and do something we both loved (in our prior married years anyway). We convinced ourselves we were brave enough to go out for a night of dancing. Yes, dancing! Now that was going to be fun! What we didn’t know about “dancing” we were about to find out!

We went to a hot spot in our small town, directly across from the airport. The music was loud, the floor was packed, and of course, there was not a seat to be had! We stood idly by, watching people move in rhythm to the beat of the music—wondering just how to gracefully step into their midst. It was like waiting for the opportune time to jump into the double-dutch jump rope. We finally decided there is no good time—just do it!

Moving out to the dance floor we tried to avoid the craziness we saw—not much of what people were doing looked like dancing to us. We left the dance floor when the next slow dance began, and I said to my dear friend: “What would I do if I was ever asked to dance?” After all, the last time that happened I was in high school! She looked at me blankly, not offering any suggestions about what to do, and we stood idly by. It is fun to watch people dance, after all. We had to be happy we were at least out having some fun. Then, all of a sudden, I was tapped on the shoulder and a very young man said something I still to this day can’t recall. I was taken quite by surprise, because from what I could figure out—he had just asked me to dance! Can I tell you how shocked I was!?!

In the blink of an eye I figured out what I would do if it ever happened. Without hesitation, I body-slammed my dear friend with my purse and disappeared into the disco ball frenzy of the dance floor. There she stood—speechless—now holding not just her purse, but mine too. I guess I didn’t care what she would do if someone asked her to dance. Sorry dear friend!

That was a big turning point for me. I no longer wondered what I would do if this happened or that happened. I learned to go with the flow and respond naturally and from the heart. I never left my friend holding the bag again, but I certainly didn’t let an opportunity to dance ever pass me by from then on. My question to you is: What will you do if you’re asked to dance, or volunteer, or act as a mentor? Do what I did—body slam your best friend with your purse and never look back!

All my best!

Betty Anne


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