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Early Morning. Silent streets. Sweet hush. New day. Whisper of gratitude, peace within, endless hope, why not?, eyes on the unseen. I fumble with the leash but it’s too late. Four feet expands into 12 and she’s over zealously greeting the Newspaper Man. “I’m so sorry,” I say.

“Hey, aren’t you the dance lady?’ He’s kind about my dog’s misbehavior. “I met your husband and told my daughter you were on my route. She was so excited.”

I’m the dance lady. Three years ago I wanted out. I wanted rest. I wanted to be well. We sat together in the doctor’s office, Todd and me, listening to the results of the biopsy. Incurable. Rare. Autoimmune. Chemo. No time. Must begin right away. Seriously? I’m a battle-ax, Todd always says. But just like that, things change.

“My daughter danced in your last competition. You’re a celebrity.” And just like that things change. One moment just a lady with a misbehaving dog, the next a celebrity. I laughed. “She loves to dance,” he continued. “I made her a space at the house.”

I had carried a dream that one day all Milwaukee children would be dancing but that hope had been fading. ‘I love what you do,’ I remembered the cameraman saying before an interview. ‘When there’s more dancing there’s less fighting.’ And just like that I was confident. ‘Keep the kids dancing!’ He said as I walked on the set. That was a good interview. I don’t remember his name.

The Newspaper Man’s name is Kevin. We had a nice exchange. “Are you guys going to be reopening?” And just like that, for his daughter and others’ like her, my dream returned. I knew we would make it through this crazy time.

“Yes,” I said. “We will be reopening.”

So when we received a note along with our paper yesterday, explaining why our deliveries had been a little erratic lately, I was so sad. Kevin had been mugged twice in the past months, his phone had been stolen so he was updating his contact information. His underlying health condition had been aggravated by his injuries from the attacks and he had been working hard with a support carrier to make adjustments.

I wanted nothing more for my friend than quick healing, protection and provision for himself and his family. So I texted the number on the paper and told him I would be praying. I also told him that we are in the early stages of reopening and to let us know when his daughter would be ready to dance again. I told him we would make that happen.

I had struggled that morning as I read Jesus’s teaching to his disciples, to deny themselves, pick up their cross daily and follow him. I had to wonder if I had ever really denied myself. Really. And how many times have we been told that life is not about our good works but about God’s good grace. Where does the balance land between working and waiting and just sitting at His feet?

I sat with that thought. Our nation’s healing, these violent protests, the uncertain employment and health situations are all so beyond my ability to control or change. But I could pray for the Porter family. I could pray for a father’s healing and a daughter’s dancing. I could send a text and receive an immediate answer. ‘Thank you so much, Debbie. Thank you for your understanding and prayers. We are looking forward to joining your dance family. I will let Kaelyn know.”

Do you find it interesting how God can present us with a single story of another person’s life and in that show us His love and provision and healing power because that’s what we want for another? It’s new each day, this picking up of our crosses and following.

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