Friday, October 10, 2008

Homecoming Dance

While chaperoning the homecoming dance at Colerain High School, I realized the most dramatic dance I was witnessing, was a dance of friendship.
The evening began with the arrival of the students wearing outfits that sparkled almost as much as their anticipation which bounced around the helium balloon-filled air.
As a teacher, it is a treat to see the students in the strobe-light of a social function like this. Even the ones that may have given me a heavy dose of teenage attitude over a missing assignment’s penalty the day before, run over to me at the dance, seeking approval of their beautiful new dress.
It’s also fun to see who is friends with whom. It’s easy to assume the student who sits in my class knows only the other students from that class. School-wide functions make it possible to see the chains of friendship that extend way past the block schedule of a typical school day.
Taking my place in the back of the decorated gymnasium, I watched the interactions taking place amid the pulsating sound-track of their generation.
I watched as individuals would arrive without their group, desperately hunting for where he or she belonged.
I smiled as groups of students circled around each other mirroring one another, as if they were watching themselves in the reflection of their friends.
And in so many ways they were.
My gaze was caught by two sturdy teenage boys who began dancing a goofy fast dance across the back of the room, laughing as they mocked each others’ moves. I couldn’t help but to wonder how they found someone so like themselves in this great big world. Then, I looked over and saw two other teenaged young men who had obviously practiced the choreography of their dance for hours and were now debuting it for an appreciative audience of clapping young ladies. Again, I smiled and thought, how great that they, too found each other.
And in the middle of the gym, swayed the others, all packed together, being as fun-loving and goofy as possible, having the time of their lives. At just the right time, they had found each other.
That night reminded me how amazing it is that we find the people we find in our lives. Sometimes we forget how incredible it is that we have one very good friend, let alone others, who like what we like, laugh when we laugh, cry when we cry.
And when we are truly blessed, we find people who not only don’t make us feel silly when we act that way, but they’re also more than willing to act silly right there beside us.
Dancing to our own beat may be important.
But finding people who can stay in step with us makes this big dance of life even better.

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