As I turned to make certain that my hotel door shut firmly behind me, a brief glitter greeted me from the floor. I hesitated for a moment until will power kicked in and I focused on my purpose for the moment.
Picking up speed rapidly, I headed for the elevators. Punching the button, I found myself facing the inevitable delay. I am told that, except in the busiest of times, empty elevator cars in large buildings are dispatched to certain floors that statistically are closest to the most likely source of the next call. If that’s true, then statistically, I never have a room on one of those floors.
As I’m waiting, I take a glance in the mirror that is mandatorily hung next to elevators. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, at least nothing that I could remedy given the short amount of time and the materials available, I glanced around the elevator landing. Once again, I saw sparkles from the floor.
With nothing else to do, I crouched to more closely examine the phenomena. Extending my index finger, I poked at one glimmer. The expedition was successful. A quick glance revealed a sequin — one of dozens I could see from my position.
The buzzer sounded and I stood and entered the elevator. Transformed from pondering the source of the sequins, I hit the button for the lobby and rapidly descended. As the doors parted, the sight that presented itself caused me to pause. In fact my hesitation was long enough that the doors began to close again. Brought back to my senses, I shoved my hand between the rapidly narrowing doorway and then shouldered my way out.
The lobby was a veritable circus. I’m sure there were adults in the space somewhere. But all I could see were little girls in lavish costume. Talking, chasing, tapping feet impatiently, and . . . dancing.
It seems that my lodging for the weekend had been reserved not only for me, but for several hundred diminutive dancers and prancers. Each young lady was primed for a weekend competition. As I made my way slowly through the lobby, I began to see the adults who had parented, coached, and chaperoned.
A different spirit flowed from the old ones. Many appeared to be former dancers. Although this was not their contest, they were dressed in costumes that seem to masquerade as everyday clothing. And they may have gotten away with that, except for two things. First, the heavy make-up that screamed for attention. And second, the obvious nervousness that possessed them. Their charges, the little dancers, seemed to share none of the anxiety. The older, matronly dancers of years gone by seem hopelessly shackled by their concerns.
As I drove out of the parking lot, I was captured by the thought that the sequins lost by the little girls were not mourned by them. Instead, I imagined that each tiny, shiny piece of plastic was viewed by the small ones as simply an ambassador of the joy of dancing — a calling card to evidence the great events of the weekend put to music. Indeed, from their perspective, those sequins weren’t lost at all.
But for those much older, I perceived their concern that every drifting bit of the experience — whether a sequin or a moment or a misguided step from one of their charges — was a devastating loss of opportunity.
How much different the appreciation of those who come to dance and those who come merely to pick up things lost. That’s a major dividing line around my mediation table at times. Peace is so much closer to those who live in the moment and who have joy and hope for the future. And so distant from those who are satisfied with picking up lost pieces and begrudging the things that were once deemed joyful.