Coming Alive

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July 15th 2018
Published: July 15th 2018
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Joy. Pure, effervescent, blanketed warmth radiating from the core and filtering through open mouthed smiles and closed eyes, shining straight from the soul. Have you felt it? I'm not sure I really, truly had.

Charlie had been lingering around this morning. He was worried he wouldn't be allowed to go to school.. his uniform hadn't dried in the damp air. He watched me pick weeds from the garden, an open yard intersected by a mountain path for neighbors to go up and down. Kneeling down to wash my hands, I helped him wash his too. Soap is a commodity-- I wasn't sure when he'd used It last. Music rang from my phone that I'd propped up in a pitcher for amplification. In our deep, hand washing squat, we started bouncing to the music, waving our soapy hands as Rusted Root's On My Way filtered through the papaya trees. I grabbed his little hands, "Njoo, kucheza!" Come dance!

Shoes came off, feet got dirty, we waved our hips, skipped, lept and ran through the garden beds, arms waving high overhead. We twisted, spun, got low, got high, jumped and bellowed laughter at ourselves. Barefoot, in pajama pants with holes in them and a unwashed hair, I closed my eyes and went full out music festival in the dirt. Charlie loyally followed along, this freedom familiar to him. I opened my eyes to audience of brightly wrapped bibis (grandmas) stopped dead in their tracks on the path, completely confused at how to categorize this weird, little pixie tumbling through their grass. A free, full, uninhibited laugher sang from my face, unsure how they'd taken this strange activity in the garden, but too lost in ecstasy to care. Two, three minutes passed, me and Charlie continuing our escapade, bibis frozen in curiousity. And then when they'd watched long enough that I was beginning to worry they'd think me a witch.. I glanced over.

As my eye caught the first of the group, she started bouncing her hips to the beat, an air of pure confidence shown by her lifted chin as she rocked toward the earth waving her hands. They let a free laugh radiate through their bright, toothless smiles, and bounced their way along the path in time with our tune, joining in the dance. No explanation needed aside from laughter.

Howard Thurman said it best: "Don't ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Maybe the world doesn't need me perfect, or successful, or even clean. Maybe what the world needs is dancing. Maybe what the world needs is unadulterated joy. Maybe if we shed our shoes and become breathless with dancing through the garden of life... maybe then we'd find what the world needs. In that, there is no language barrier.

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