This is one of my favorites:
You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
William W. Purkey
This amazing quote reminds me of my mom. She may not have been able to write this, but she sure did live it.
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching.” She would do this little jig thing and you just knew she was happy. The first time I remember seeing it, I thought it was silly. She had just bowled a strike, she turned around and did a little hip action, arms up in the air, jig. I was embarrassed. She was not.
She would just randomly stop and dance a little in parking lots. If music was playing, she would take her little stubby finger that got cut off in a printing press and pretend to dance.
The afternoon in the hospital after finding out she had about nine months to live, we were walking through the corridor with “her dance partner” the IV pole. She began to dance with the IV pole. She twirled it, shook her hips, and did a couple of finger waving jigs. “To make people happy.” She told me, “I’ve never set goals in my life, but now I’m going to set one. Every day for the rest of my life, I’m going to make people smile.” She didn’t have to try too hard, because she lived the quote.
Two days before she died I was helping her get out of her bed and into the wheel chair. She took my hand and did a little swaying dance with me. Oh how I miss her!
I often see her in my mind dancing in heaven with all of the little children who are waiting for their parents.
“Love like you’ll never be hurt.”
Mom had a lot of hurt in her life, especially at the hand of people who “loved” her. But that never stopped her from always pouring love onto people. She would take people into her home and feed and clothe them. She didn’t have much, and would often give the last of what she had because someone else had even less than she did. When I would think of the love of Jesus, my mom would appear in my mind. She just had such a special gift of giving love to everyone – no judgement, just love.
“Sing, like there’s no one listening”
My mom told me a story of being in the children’s choir at her church. She loved to belt out the music! One day the choir director told her that she couldn’t sing but if she wanted to be in the choir she could just stand their and mouth the words, but she wasn’t to let any of the words come out. This story crushed me! But it didn’t crush Mom. She was going to sing!
We had this old piano on our front porch. My dad “restored” it by painting it green. He took it all apart, and the put it back together, except for those four long screws. He never did know where those went. (sorry I digressed) The piano was in the house for awhile and then ended up on the front porch. My sister and I took piano lessons. The piano was horribly out of tune. I don’t think they ever had someone come tune it. Mom loved to go out and make music on that thing. She had found some old opera song book and would play and sing. She couldn’t read music so she just kind of made it up as she went along. I can still hear her singing, “Beat me, Beat me, All the day long!” I don’t have a clue why that was the song she chose to sing, but whenever she had an especially trying day, I would find her out on the piano banging out the beat me song. She definitely sang as if no one had ears!
“And live like it’s heaven on earth.” To me that means you find joy in everything. Mom collected stuff. She found joy in just ordinary things, like rocks. Just any old rock would do. She would pick up a regular rock and tell my kids all about that rock. She found a story in everything. She always wanted to travel so she became a truck driver. She bought a big video camera, you know the old VHS ones that you would lug around on your shoulder. She would narrate stories to the kids as she would go down the road. Sometimes she would be reminded of a song, and start singing it. Sometimes the camera would start to dance because she would crack herself up and start laughing uncontrollably. JOY. Yep. That was Mom. She lived with joy. She died with Joy.
In her last weeks these were her celebrations. She stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office and was thrilled to have lost another 5 pounds. She pretended like she was putting a space helmet on when getting her radiation. And she made is PAST the 9 months. She felt like a conquerer. And to us – she was!
The night before she died, she hadn’t really been very lucid. I would stand by her bed. Sometimes I would play soothing music for her. But that night, we knew she was getting so very close. I looked at her and said, “I sure do love you!” She looked at me with every ounce of her being. I saw her eyes dance. I swore I could hear her singing. Her final word to me was simply a giant smile and a light squeeze of my hand.
65 years old is too young to die. But she sure did live!