My “junk box” is always full to overflowing. I was looking through it the other day and found a precious jewel. The author is unknown but the beauty of “DANCING WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING” is priceless. Read it carefully. It will change your life…
“My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie. He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite, silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace.
The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least a dozen years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.” He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and said to me, “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special. “Dance when no one is watching” is a special set of words.
I am still thinking about his words and they have changed my life. I am reading more and dusting less. I am sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I am spending more time with my family and friends and less time in hours that have little meaning.
Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not to endure. I am trying to recognize these moment now and cherish them. We use our good china and crystal for every special event- such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or seeing the first camellia blossom. If we break something, we can just say it was “well used” and then laugh about it. I wear my good blazer to the market if I want to. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $58.49 for a bag of groceries without wincing. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. “Someday” and “one of these days” is not on my calendar anymore. If it’s worth hearing or seeing or doing, I want to hear and see and do it now.
I’m not sure what my sister would’ve done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend a few fences for past squabbles. I’d like to think that she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I’m guessing – I’ll never know.
It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends that I was going to get in touch with – someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write – one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband often enough how much I truly love him. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.
You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watching, and love like it’s never going to hurt. “People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends don’t need to hold hands, because they know the other hand will always be there.”
There was a P.S. to the beauty of these words. “After you read this again, take a few minutes, pick up the phone and call a few people you care about, just to let them know that you are thinking of them.”
Jesus said, “The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it; love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). (Poem: “Today’s a good day” omitted.)