Tango start to Summer

Thought I should do another quick blog update – it’s been some time since the last…

Life goes on, pretty relaxed at the moment – at least until Saturday! After getting back from the more recent Bolivia trip I had two weeks in College writing the last essay, watching presentations, cleaning, having meetings and spending a lot of time hanging out in the sun with friends 🙂 after that I had a short visit to North Yorkshire which was great, seeing family and everything, followed by an absolutely amazing holiday in Finland and Estonia. In Finland I met almost all of Ben’s many aunts, uncles and cousins, and had a wonderful time too with his parents and siblings (and adorable niece). It was incredible – the views, the food, the people – and I felt so blessed to have been invited. It was a lovely rest, too! After two weeks there, Ben and I went to Estonia for a week to catch up with some friends of mine, and this was also amazing – my third time in Estonia (Ben’s first), but my first time in summer and first time ‘on holiday’. It’s so beautiful! And so much cheaper than Finland too, especially the food and hostels and the like. We learnt quite a lot about the culture and history, and had a lot of fun. (We also had a very cool moment when, just after Ben spoke at a Burning Bush meeting, we were told that the two Bible passages he’d spoken from were the two passages looked at in the Bible study immediately before the meeting!). It was awesome to see friends there again too. Like in Finland, everyone seemed so determined to make us feel welcomed and loved, and it was so nice.

Since returning to the UK a week ago I’ve been staying again with Ben’s parents, and it’s been so good. Resting, walking, painting, reading, picking blackberries (oh, and celebrating a two-year anniversary with Ben :D) – such a nice break. I have three days left here before leaving for New Wine. If you’re planning to be at New Wine Shepton Mallet Week B, do let me know – or come to the OSCAR stall at the Marketplace (where I’ll be working) to say hi 😀

A thought from today…

This morning Ben and I were fortunate enough to have been invited for a private Tango lesson at the house of very talented professional teachers (!!!), and it was so much fun. We were told at the start that there are three main streams of Tango: the stuff you see on Strictly, which is very flashy and performance-based; another style that’s very stiff and has many set rules and routines; and the style we learnt which (I think) came from Argentina between the 1920s and 50s, and is improvised and much more relaxed than the other two styles. (I’m certainly not an expert, so don’t test me on those details!)

In this style, the woman is completely dependent on the man at every moment because she doesn’t know which way he’ll step or what he’ll do; she has to learn to recognise from the movement of his chest, the slight shifting in his weight, and even his breathing, what he’s about to do, and act accordingly in perfect timing. That part isn’t quite as hard as I made it sound – you learn to move as he moves and just go with it – but it does require focus, concentration and real attentiveness to different aspects of his body language rather than just guessing or doing one’s own thing. This is at the same time as remembering to keep the right posture, use a certain style of stepping, etc…

It made me think about relationship with God, and brought to mind that wonderful song ‘Teach me to dance to the beat of Your heart’. I know this analogy might make some people cringe, but I want my life to be that sort of a Tango dance with God. As Ben and I learnt to dance today I was taught to sort of lean against his chest as he guided me round the room (I was to keep my eyes closed), and to kind of push in the opposite direction to where we were going in order to feel every movement and every breath, so I could follow exactly where he led, stepping the same distance in the same direction and at the same pace etc. It wasn’t easy – I needed to really learn to surrender, and get to know and recognise the significance of every subtle movement. I want to live this way with God: to not only try to surrender every aspect of my whole life into His hands in order to be guided by Him, but to actively lean in close to His heart and get to know the subtle movements, even the breathing, so I can really walk in step with Him.

Obviously this analogy has flaws – God doesn’t want us to be puppets and does give us our own choices (I know that if I learn more of this style of Tango I’ll learn how the woman can be a little more free and expressive within the dance too – the basic start though is fully reliant on the man), and often we DON’T know where God may be leading or what He may be trying to say, and sometimes no matter how much we pray or read Bible or whatever, He may seem to remain completely silent except for what He’s said and done in the past (e.g. the cross…).

It’s harder with God than with a tangible dance partner, as God doesn’t stay ‘within our grasp’: He’s so much bigger than us and His ways are so much higher; so hard to understand sometimes. But if my life could be any sort of metaphorical dance, I’d like it to be a Tango with God, the style I learnt today. I’d like to stay so close to Him that I can sense His every movement and live accordingly, stepping in the directions in which He wants me to go, and with my own will completely surrendered to His. Amen – Lord, have mercy.

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