Hundreds of dances together. Hundreds of hours of carpooling. You get to know someone well through time spent together. This was our ballroom dance life with John and Alice.
As I write this, tears fill my eyes. You see John is no longer with us. He died from cancer in the summer of 2016. No more carpooling or dances together. We are so thankful that our friendship is one that brings tears of joy thinking of all the wonderful times we had together.
My favorite memories of John were watching him do his magic each week at the dances we attended together. I sat back and watched John at work. Every dance he did his rounds. He would go introduce himself to anyone he did not know. He would make them feel welcome. He wanted to know their name. He would make them feel important. He would invite a couple sitting alone to our table. He would invite them to other dances. This is what John did- every week. He would introduce us to new couples all the time. He would find something you would have in common to help with the conversation. He made it look easy. He was a pro.
I would like to say that I do the same as Dan and I continue to attend dances. But more than not, I don’t get out of my comfort zone and make my rounds to make someone feel welcome. It’s not easy and many times I just don’t want to take the effort. I think about my life, not someone else’s. It’s the selfishness inside me. I wish I could work a room like John did. I know John did the same at his church. His church was fortunate to have him. I know churches would be filled to the brim with welcoming people like him. Remaining in our comfort zone will keep us from friendships and kindness from unfolding.
When Dan and I attend dances, we try to introduce ourselves to at least one couple we don’t know. We say we are doing the ‘John magic’ in our effort to do what he made look effortless. I say to myself, “ Will this ever get easier?” I am challenged by John’s example. Practice, practice, and more practice. I am praying for the good Lord’s help and direction. I need help to make couples feel loved and important as John did. This is my goal. This is what we are all called to do.
Your life and others depend on it.
Thank you John for showing us how it’s done. Miss you, dear friend!
John, Alice, Dan and Lori-2012