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

“Hey, aren’t you the dance lady?’ He says being 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”. Two years ago I wanted time way from my job. I wanted rest. I wanted to be well. My husband and I sat in the doctor’s office listening to the results of my biopsy. Incurable? Rare. Autoimmune. Chemo. No time. Must begin right away. ‘Seriously?’ I thought. ‘I’m a battle-ax,’ Todd always says. But just like that, things changed.

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

I had carried a dream inside me that one day all Milwaukee children would be dancing, but the hope of that had been fading. I remembered a cameraman telling me, ‘I love what you do,’ before an interview. ‘When there’s more dancing there’s less fighting. Keep the kids dancing!’

Out newspaper carrier, Mr. K, and I had a good exchange. “Are you guys going to be reopening?” he asked. And just like that, for his daughter and others’ like her, my dream returned. I would still believe we’d make it through this crazy time.

“Yes,” I said with confidence. “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. Our carrier 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 both he and his family. So I texted the phone 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 could make that happen.

I had struggled that morning as I read Jesus’s teaching to his disciples, to deny themselves, pick up their crosses daily and follow him. I had to wonder if I had ever really denied myself for Him. Really. And I questioned how many times I had been told that life is not about our good works but about God’s good grace. Where does the balance lie between working and waiting, and 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 Mr. K and his 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 my daughter know.”

It’s new every day, this picking up of our crosses, the denying of our selves and following God. Do you find it interesting that God can present you with a single story of another person’s life and in that moment show you His love and provision, and healing power, because that’s what you wanted for someone else?

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