When the judges at the dance competition asked him his name, he stuttered. Each question they asked brought on another short, halting answer. The judges smiled, they knew he was there to show off what he could do with his feet, not to give a speech, and they said, “Let’s see what you can do.”
What he could do when the music set his body free, brought tears to the eyes of the panel.
One judge said, “I feel like we had the most amazing conversation.”
“I use my dance as my language,” was the dancer’s reply.
The judges weren’t the only ones to tear up at his routine. I sat in salty awe on my sofa, watching this young man tell the world what it means to live out loud, to love, to feel a passion burning in his soul—all without using a single word.
I am a girl of words.
My life revolves around books and essays and stories, and I feel most alive, most passionate, when I communicate through the written word. It is where I hear God’s spirit speak, and where I work out all the thoughts I’m wont to think. This past summer, my family and I moved internationally. We began our lives all over again in a new house with new schools and soon-to-be new friends. The chaos of moving three kids, the entire contents of a home, and a slightly neurotic dog across the ocean left little time for me to write. Other more pressing issues took over most of my days and some of my nights, and I felt cast adrift on a sea of miscommunication. The words that wanted to spill out across the computer screen came out in sarcastic replies and long lectures directed at my children. I wrote essays in my head, concocted elaborate rebuttals for imaginary arguments, and I dreamed in stories.
And also? I drove everyone living with me crazy.
I have a friend, a brilliant professional violinist, who communicates best through her music. She gave up playing when the babies started coming, and she packed her violin away for “later.” A few years ago, she took up running and found it aggravated an old pain in her neck, a pain she hadn’t felt since she gave up her instrument. She took herself to a sports doctor who filmed her while she ran. When they looked at the tape together, they discovered that, while running, she moved her arms as if playing the violin. Her right hand grasped an unseen bow and she slid it back and forth across her left shoulder in the old familiar way.
She played her music—a silent symphony into the early morning air.
This desire to communicate, to connect with others in creative ways, is an impulse we know from birth. It is handed down from a God who met us first in the Garden, who walked beside man, who talked with him, who created a world of pleasures and beauty to communicate His love. Our first cries, our dancing, our music, our words, our hugs, our acts of service, stirring speeches, and warm dinners, all we have to offer—they are a joyful noise. They give us the opportunity to have the most amazing conversations.
Kimberly Coyle recently moved from Switzerland back to the United States where she lives with her husband and favorite little people. She copes with life’s biggest questions by drinking lots of tea, writing, and God’s grace. You can find her writing at www.kimberlyanncoyle.com or tweeting @KimberlyACoyle.