“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us…”
– 2 Corinthians 4:7
This past week, our 2015-2016 dance season ended with our annual Concert of Praise. There is hardly any way to measure and quantify the growth and journey that each student takes throughout a year of focused discipline and a very strict exercise regimen that forces the dancer daily to push beyond their limitations. Though audiences see the grandiose ending, costumes, lights, and glamour, the real story, often untold, takes place behind the scenes, inside of the dance studio through sweat, blood, and sometimes tears of exhaustion and release. In choosing this year’s theme, “Beauty from Ashes”, last September, I had no idea that each student would be caused to live it out vividly by the end of the concert as two days before the recital, turbulent weather ripped through our city, leaving devastation in its wake. Over a hundred thousand households were left without power, trees were uprooted making some streets impassable…and into this, the students were to perform.
Throughout the week, we had begun provocative discussions of the unity of music and physicality, of creating physical art and worship through movement. While continuing to focus on the journey of the soul and the elements of beauty that were being unearthed daily in the heart of each child, rehearsals had swung from triumphant to trying (sometimes in the space of hours), and as everyone began by Thursday to finally begin to put it all together….the storm came.
Rehearsal Friday….no power….and though Saturday dawned with a glimpse of hope as areas surrounding our concert site were reported to have power, when I arrived bright and early to the concert hall, it was to discover that the students truly would have no lights and no sound for their performance…and then, miracles began to occur.
To say that by the end of the concert, our amazing sound technician had managed to rig up both sound and lights, that though we were in a building, pleasant breezes kept an audience of over 500 comfortable and cool, and the dancers performed with technical brilliance, passion, excitement, and heart that was unparalleled is hard enough to believe, but that is what happens when you allow God to transform ashes of circumstance into the miraculous beauty that only He can create.
This past week, our faith had to deepen, our lives and hearts had to expand in order to continue to fulfill and maintain the call that God had for our students and our studio. The dancer is called to seek and find their limitations and gently reach beyond into the area of limitless possibility. This week, though we had learned so much throughout the year on how God defines beauty according to His Word and the lives that we are called to lead, God in His profoundly beautiful way added one more… Beauty is found in the indomitable spirit of those who believe and in the hearts of love that are ever willing to surrender and expand in order to allow Him to work. We truly hold treasures in our clay jars, and though fragile and frail are able to produce miracles when we get out of His way and focus totally not on what we are able to do…but instead on what He is able to do through us.