a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to mourn, and a time to dance; Ecclesiastes 3:4

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Despite the poor quality photo, this picture captures a moment from a dance I encountered while working in Papua New Guinea.

Sitting in the dirt surrounded by a jungle of utter blackness, I lost connection with everything I considered as ‘normal’. I didn’t just witness the dance, I experienced it. I have no idea if the dance was a dance of grief or a dance of joy, but the depth of emotion released by the creativity extended beyond the dancers into the community.

In my own community, most of us can’t perform like that, unscripted, in harmony with others, to the rhythmic thump of magnificent handcrafted instruments. Yet, despite our level of ability, talent or experience, we all have the capacity to ‘dance’.

In my journal, I brainstormed how else I could manage times of grief and times of joy. Perhaps you could write freely for 5 minutes and see what your list uncovers? Some of mine included write, walk, listen to the birds, the river, and the wind, smell a lavender bush or baked bread, touch silk or soft skin, read a book, pray, call a friend.

I marvel with the psalmist at the tenderness, empathy, and power of our God when we call on Him in those moments –

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
    you have taken off my sackcloth
    and clothed me with joy,  (Psalm 30:11)

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