The Moments We Miss

Praying for Strangers A few days ago I was standing in the grocery store when the music playing through the speakers kicked off a song that always makes me want to dance. It’s pretty much a mindless pop song that many might not care for but my body immediately wants to respond. It’s a tune by the group Fine Young Cannibals title ‘She Drives Me Crazy’ which has no correlation to anything other than the fact I remember them playing it one week on 30 Something when it was a hit tv program in relation to one of the episodes. And the song for whatever reason has always made me want to dance. And it made me want to dance that day in the grocery store. I wanted to break out in spontaneous boogie whether anyone did or not but doing my best to maintain a little dignity at all costs I willed my feet to stay flat on the floor and the other parts of my body to concentrate on the bread aisle wheat or white? Whole grain or multi-thousand grain? Sourdough or cinnamon? But here’s the thing – the man standing next to me did it. He broke out in boogie. I saw him out of my peripheral vision walking past him. He was even singing along. I tried not to look at him at all. I certainly didn’t want to smile at him. And I didn’t want his . . . what? freedom maybe – to taint my . . .what? dignification? I’ve never been worried about being dignified and I try real hard not to worry about what people think of me too terribly much because that can lead to all kinds of traps and boxes forever falling down the rabbit hole to perfectionism and pleasing others. BUT – the man kept dancing, I think I heard him speaking to a woman who was asking him questions who might have been his wife, who was not dancing, and who maybe was wishing he would stop this silliness in public. I made it safely out of the bread aisle and gathered up my list of items and headed for the door. But I couldn’t help feeling that I had cheated myself out of a moment that mattered. Just one silly moment in a multitude of otherwise boring moments in my life where I’m just running errands, crossing t’s, dotting i’s. I should have danced. Really I should. Even if it was only for the first few lines of the song.

The thing is I wanted to and stopped myself from doing so. And it’s exactly the same feeling I have when I want to tell a stranger that I pass that they stood out to me as someone special and that I will be thinking of them, offering a special prayer of blessing for their life before I fall asleep. So many times, for whatever reason, shyness, business, fear that I won’t be well received by the person, stops me. Or wins out if you will against the other side of me that feels compelled to make a short, sweet connection with another human being. I miss the chance of the dance. And not a single time where I’ve felt compelled to connect with someone and overridden that impulse has it not haunted me. I still offer the prayer but just like that silly pop song, the image of that person keeps playing in my head.

So my prayer today is that all those embracing this strange idea to offer up a prayer for a stranger will be a little bolder when we are led to connect with someone to follow the music of our hearts – not our minds. The results of that freedom might just astound us.


About River Jordan

Writer, Creative Conversator, Radio Producer/Host
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6 Responses to The Moments We Miss

  1. I love the song, “I Hope You Dance,” for some of the reasons you bring up in this post, River. As you know (*cough *cough) I’m not very inhibited, so I dance whenever and wherever I want to, sometimes to the chagrin of my children. But life is too short not to dance. Boogie on, my friend!

  2. River Jordan says:

    Susan thanks for stopping by. I love that song as well. Life is too short not to dance or as this person of introspection would say – or to sit still in the quiet ad reflect a little bit. Now I’m wondering since you are so free in so many ways, would you also feel as comfortable telling someone that they were your stranger for the day? I know a lot of people are praying for strangers but many are not comfortable connecting by telling them. Perhaps that depends if you are a country mouse or city mouse. If things are busy or if life is moving at a slower pace. I can see friends in the south or those in the big sky country out west perhaps feeling more of relaxed freedom that say friends in larger cities like Chicago or NY but – as human being sifting through daily life, there are days I could have used a good word living anywhere.

  3. Shay Vaughn says:

    River, There are so many moments in life when I have felt the same impulse, BUT like you, I have resisteded, second guessed myself or just plain disregarded an obvious nudge from the Lord to act on HIS behalf. There is however, one resounding moment when my feet led and my brain followed and as a result a life was literally saved! You would think that I had learned my lesson!

    Today, on the way to church I passed it again ,a tiny little yellow house on a one lane road. I pass it every Sunday and every Sunday my mind paints a picture of who lives in that house and what they do with thier time. I see the same old gray jeep in the driveway and wonder where that jeep takes them everyday. Each time I pass I feel the same ole nudge to let them know someone cares. I don’t know why, I just know the Lord has put them on my heart. I made a special effort today to look at the address of that little yellow house. Tomorrow is “Make a Difference Monday” (Klove Radio). I have the address now and I’ve run out of excuses. Tomorrow I’m off to find just the right greeting card. I may never know who. I may never know why. I just know that what was once a nudge has now turned into a rib bruising jab! ok Lord, ok, I get it!

    • River Jordan says:

      Shay, little yellow houses can mean a lot in our lives. I think people of all faiths feel nudges to respond to needs that otherwise we wouldn’t be aware of. It’s part of the amazing thing about being human, the way that we can connect with one another and make a huge difference. Also, it’s amazing to me how one little thing, one word or sentence can mean so very much to someone or lift their spirits so that they are able to say, It’s okay. Everything is gong to be alright. Please keep me posted on how things turn out in your corner of the world!

  4. Gary says:

    River, I remember that song well – have you ever heard Dolly Parton’s version? Interesting. Anyway, I actually remember that episode of 30 something! How funny! Now I’m one of those rare individuals who will dance and play air guitar at the drop of a hat. And I probably look like a real dork! In fact I’ve embarrassed my wife of 22 years on several occasions such as the one you described. I’ve embarrassed my teen age kids on several occasions as well. My daughter, just started at University of Florida in the Dance program. I always tease her and my wife and say my daughter gets her dance talent genes from her dad.
    I love you, your writing, your blog, your radio show! I’m really looking forward to this book!

    • River Jordan says:

      Gary – thanks for all your kind comments and for reminding me that when we hesitate to dance or to connect with a stranger we feel prompted to say hello to – we are really putting the pause button on life because of our fears about someone will say, or think of us, or that they’ll just look at us like we’re crazy. There’s a great book out there called Do Over where the author goes back to do over the things he really messed up in life or didn’t do very well. It’s a great read but most of us will never make a list and go as far back as Kindergarten where we can improve our crab walk. The moment, it always comes down to saying yes to the moment.

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