This past weekend I competed at the Southern Region Oireachtas in Houston, Texas. When I decided to start dancing competitively this fall, I didn’t really know what to expect of myself. I decided to start dancing again because I missed it. I realized that life is short so it’s stupid not to do what I love. While I didn’t dance or place my best this past weekend, I am so happy I decided to start competing again.
The thing is, when I got up onstage, all the judges and audience saw was how my dancing looked at that moment. They didn’t see how I balanced dancing with a heavy course load as well as hours of work obligations every week. They didn’t see me when I drove close to 3 hours round trip every week just to get to dance class. They didn’t see me dancing on in the basketball court at times because I had nowhere else to practice. They didn’t see the countless 6am practices and workouts and the many days I would workout or dance in the morning and return to work again in the evening. They didn’t see me in my room stretching my aching muscles and rolling them out while trying to get reading done for class. They didn’t see how I spent hours drilling a piece on time to music only to get it wrong onstage. They didn’t see the practices where I was so frustrated I just wanted to cry. They didn’t see the times where I completed my dances and felt on top of the world. They didn’t see me obsessively scheduling out my days so I’d have time to pray, study, and dance. All they saw was what I put on stage.
But that’s the beauty and the pain of sports like Irish dance. All you see what is what’s onstage. You don’t see the hard work or the possibilities. It’s the way the sport goes. When it doesn’t go your way, you simply take a deep breath, brush yourself off, and get ready for next time. For me, Irish dance is the thing that has the power to allow me to fly. But also has the power to push me down and cripple me. But I’ll always come back. I’ll come back because the joy I receive from dancing makes the pain and heartbreak worth it.
As I’ve gotten older and (MAYBE) wiser I’ve started to see how using my talents is my way to give glory to God. Before I went onstage this weekend, I offered my dancing as a prayer. Because, as with everything, I didn’t do it for the judges, the audience, or even myself.
I did it for Him.