Tuesday, October 15, 2013

carry on, carry on

If you're lost and alone 
Or you're sinking like a stone, 
Carry on 
May your past be the sound 
of your feet upon the ground 
Carry on 
Carry on, carry on
                                      ~"Carry On" lyrics by Fun

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"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
~Philippians 4:13 

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“The beginning of all holiness is humbly admitting that without God we can do nothing, but that, with, in, and through Him, everything is possible!”

~St. Therese of Lisieux

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No one who knows me in person would describe me as overly sentimental.

Yet I unashamedly confess to tearing up as I watched Valerie Harper’s final dance on Dancing with the Stars last week. 

I was so touched, in fact, that in spite of making fun of this in the past, I even rewound the DVR (is “rewind” the proper term for one does with that machine?) to watch the short video that preceded her dance, revealing her previous week’s prep, with brief interview snippets. 

By any account, Harper’s Viennese Waltz was imperfect and flawed, and her scores from the judges reflected it. Yet as she glided through the stage to the tune of Fun’s “Carry On,” there were moments of genuine loveliness. The 74-year-old actress swayed with open arms in elegant, poised grace—like a host welcoming a special guest into her circle with her entire being.

The truth is that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots.

What I felt is grief.

As I continue to mourn and feel my way through the hole left in my heart from losing two intimate friends to cancer in a handful of months, Harper’s emotionally charged dance became a visual representation for my grief, especially over Pat Stankus, who, like Harper, fought brain cancer.  

But the ultimate message is bigger than that.

Unguarded. Vulnerable. The choreography put together by pro dancer Tristan MacManus for Harper also turned out to be a beautiful reflection of life for a woman who was told in March that she had three months to live—and whose attitude on living is to be here now--and yes, carry on!

Valerie Harper & Tristan MacManus, Viennese Waltz
Week 4, Dancing with the Stars 2013