I sway to the left, stretching my arms long, breathing in the smell of a scented candle. That candle. That comforting talisman. The reminder that I am doing what I can to make at least one room in our house comfortable, cozy, and inviting. This is a room for loving music and kind, thoughtful dancing.
I look back and notice that only one child is in step with me. Swayed left, stretching his arms, he is following the steps. Behind him are two tiny bodies, each awkwardly positioned, but they are trying. I leave my post to help them and with some guidance they seem more aware, more graceful. I remind them to listen for the music. That soft, kind music.
Where is that fourth child? I call out to him, continuing the dance. No response. I wonder if I should go looking for him, but I recognize the probability that he will refuse to join our dance. Feeling the length of my muscles, the growing strength of my heart, I want him to stretch, too. I want him to become strong. I catch glimmers of satisfaction in the eyes of the three as they attune their hearts to the melody of life and light.
He dashes into the room on roller-blades. I can live with that. He's with us and we're all happy. So his music is a bit more boisterous than ours. That's okay... at first. His music gets increasingly louder and we strain to hear our own, soft hearts.
He skates over my toes and I lose that connection between my heart and my mind. The new music of frustration flows through my body. I'm still doing my dance, only now it feels wrong. With the new music I'm hearing, the steps are off. Unnatural. Taxing.
I pull off his skates, trying my best to stay calm. I ask him to join us in the dance. This child is not easily intreated. I remember times when his dancing has been alarmingly fine, even mesmerizing. A babe with the most natural dance talent. The loudest heart. The strongest sense of rhythm.
His songs are varied and carry great influence on him. The music of love plays and he could leap to the moon. The song of mistrust plays next and he sits with his back to the world, refusing to join. The discordant strain of contention interrupts and he moves to block the steps of others, taking strange satisfaction in the interruption of the dance.
I know the success is in the music. But how to change his stations, or better yet, help him change his own stations. Even more importantly, how do I teach him that some songs bring happiness and others bring misery?
I try to model that change as I take a deep breath, preparing to begin. I breath. Wait, who blew out my candle? Turning I see that the candle is out, the wax is all over the mantle. The couch cushions are off, no doubt stacked at the bottom of the stairs for someone to come crashing down in a laundry basket. Who punched who? Who puked on this pillow? Who left the full milk carton in the toy-box over night?
That constant struggle. Turn down the rudeness, turn up the respect. Turn down the contention, turn up the calm. Turn down the frustration, turn up the faith. Turn down the obstinance, turn up the order.
Sometimes I feel disenchanted about the whole thing. That's not awesome.
But I just keep warring the darkness. Clearing a space to dance. Then trying to hear the music.
I keep hoping that they'll want to dance the kind steps. That this desire will lead them to listen for the caring music.
Sometimes I get this song in my head but they ending is a little different in my mind. It goes like this...