“You turned my mourning into dancing.” Psalm 30:11
Mourning is nonnegotiable. It can’t be avoided in any life fully lived. Mourning and grieving are identical twins, and when we’ve irretrievably lost something, the healthiest thing to do is grieve. Anyone who doesn’t “grieve their losses” – the small ones and the big ones – is drowning in the river denial.
Mourning comes first and dancing comes after. We don’t usually get to begin with dancing. It comes after the mourning is over – over for the moment anyway. So the typical order is: losing, then mourning, and then dancing; and then it starts all over again when we lose the next thing or person. This order is important. It’s not against the law to switch them around or anything – it’s more like against nature.
If you see a person dancing, really dancing and not just methodically stepping on chalk-drawn footprints on the floor as prescribed by the dance instructor (even I can do that), you know that they’re acquainted with loss. The beauty of their dance is directly related to their loss and how thoroughly they’ve mourned it.
If my estimation of some of my life’s events is accurate I’m a fairly big loser. I can’t turn my mourning into dancing until I’m mourning and I can’t mourn until I’ve lost. It’s not within my purview to shape-shift any of my own mourning into dancing. I can’t, in my own wisdom, transform a loss into a gain. It’s so far above my pay grade that I don’t even know where the office is located where those decisions are made and alterations are generated. I’m pretty sure “mourning to dancings” are an inside job.
I have never been a good dancer, but I think – I hope – this is about to change.