Dancing in the Whirlwind

By David Ramos

Growing up I had simplistic notions of life that throughout the years I progressively, but at times abruptly, realized were filled with childhood naivety. I had these notions about fairness, notions about the inherent goodness of people and life, notions about the orderliness of life; I weaved visions on how my life would follow this ever-ascending sequential patterns that would lead to bliss and satisfaction. However life would prove to be more difficult, more complex and fluid, ambiguous and elusive, more painful and mercenary than I ever imagined.

I awoke in midlife and it seemed that someone rearranged the furniture while I was asleep or some capricious jokester changed all the rules of the game and the cards in my hand had suddenly changed their value. Overnight if felt as if my carefully ordered flow-charts were being replaced by complexity theory. What was my response? More analysis and more fuel! I thought I’d better figure this bad boy out before it ate my lunch. In addition I had better consume a boatload of energy drinks and just work harder. The results? Disassociation, dissatisfaction, burnout and ennui! The more I tried to control everything the further away everything seemed to be slipping—like someone attempting to swim against a riptide.

Then one day as things seemed to being falling apart something happened, I did something counterintuitive, so against my nature—I let go. I accepted my frailty, my inabilities to come up with answers, my weaknesses and the futility of many of my efforts. I realized that much of life was mysterious, paradoxical, and hidden. I realized that there are certain people that no matter what you do will continue to be selfish, dangerous and cruel. I realized that the grand project called “my life” was somehow overdue and that my “do-it-yourself” instruction manual was written in some encrypted hieroglyphics. I had to come face to face with everything I was not. I accepted myself and took all that I was and wasn’t and longed to be and simply gave it to God. Then without fanfare or notification I realized that I grew to be at peace with inactivity; I could just enjoy a quiet Saturday afternoon watching the trees in my yard. Suddenly I started laughing at myself, to my amazement I realized I was actually driving slower, and mother of all miracles—I could actually sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic for two hours without blowing a head gasket!

The truth is that Life happens to all of us. We are all subject to forces that are just out of our control, there are things that life thrusts upon us, we all face unexpected challenges, we are tossed about by the whirlwinds of life. However, we should savor life in all its glorious imperfections along with its impetuous demands and sudden shifts. Can we learn to dance in the whirlwind? Can we learn how to dance in the noise and movement of life? We will either be jostled by the winds of life or harness them for growth and adventure. Can we hear the music in the wind? Can we learn to thrive in change along with the tumult it creates? Can we allow God to rearrange our lives? Can we revel in surprise and dare to travel into a new geography of our soul? If we allow the music of the wind to resonate with our soul, and if we step out in faith, we can learn how to dance in the whirlwind. The winds will either crush you or elevate you. This coming year, I believe we should all dare to step out into the whirlwind and dance.

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