After I recommitted my life to Christ, there were still days when being in quarantine was very hard. It’d be nice to say that a commitment to Christ made my life magically easy in spite of my circumstances—but truthfully, that wasn’t always the case. I was still ill. I was still in quarantine. I was still facing an uncertain future in which indefinite isolation or deadly side effects loomed. Even though I knew Christ was with me, the solutions to my problems seemed far off. In truth, the solutions were far off—I was in quarantine for seven years.
In the middle of those seven years, there were times when the challenges I faced seemed insurmountable. Sometimes, I would feel extremely claustrophobic at the limits of my existence. Sometimes, people would make unkind remarks about my condition that hurt. Sometimes, I faced health setbacks that were unbelievably discouraging. When those things happened, my course of action was clear. It was time to dance in the dark.
Dancing in the dark became a ritual for me during quarantine. It was something I did out of a desire to present the Lord with a “sacrifice” of praise. When I felt frightened or discouraged, and when sleep fled far away, I would get up in the middle of the night, go outside, and walk into the center of the hay field by my house. Then I would turn my face up to the sky and look at the stars. As their beauty seeped into my soul, I would begin to trace the galaxies and name the stars winking above me. Raising my hands toward heaven, I would whisper, “Thank You, God, for my life. Thank You that I’m not facing this alone. Thank You that You’re right here with me—even though sometimes the pain is too great to feel Your presence. Thank You that You have good plans in store for my life. Thank You that everything is going to be okay. I love You, Lord. Thank You for loving me.”
After my prayer, I would put on my earphones, crank up some praise music, raise my hands again, and begin swaying and twirling around the field. As I danced in the darkness, peace always came. Slowly—sometimes, very slowly—I would feel the weight of my problems fading away. I’m totally uncoordinated, and in the light of day, I can’t dance a step. But I’ve learned that in the darkness, under the light of the stars, I can dance beautifully. You see, in the darkness, coordination doesn’t matter. When I dance, I dance for an audience of one, and I know He thinks I’m lovely.
David danced before the Lord, and I’ve danced too. Dancing is my sacrifice of praise. It’s my declaration of faith. It’s my way of looking into the face of pain and finding peace. Each time I’ve danced in the darkness—somewhere in the middle of my uncoordinated moves—God’s peace has always come. His presence chases away my fearful torment and replaces it with joy.
Quarantine taught me many things. It taught me that pain and discouragement never last. It taught me that things ALWAYS get better. And most of all, it taught me that when life seems too hard to bear, it’s time to strap on my headphones and dance in the dark.
“Hallelujah! Yes, praise the Lord! Sing Him a new song. Sing His praises, all His people… Praise His name with dancing!” Psalm 149:1-3a