Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.

A Good Time

“We’re having a good time…having a good time…”

When these lyrics came from the speakers, they came with an announcement: “The groom wants everyone to get up and dance before dinner.” It was nice to have the message from the DJ, but the groom’s message was already clear because he was punching the air while circling the dance floor and untucking his neatly belted dress shirt with every pump of his fist into the space above him. Then more and more, people left their assigned tables to join the wedded couple on the dance floor. I had never danced before dinner at a wedding, but rules are rules.

“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen rang out its incessant climb to its musical finale, and we all hopped, glided, and pounced to the rhythm. Some were screaming the words of Freddie Mercury. Others were simply mouthing them or focusing more on moving together on the floor. “We’re having a good time…” sounded in the mouths of the guests maybe even more defiant than Freddie’s own singular performance. It had been maybe years since I had danced and sang aloud with others. Unsurprisingly to my friends, I was moved after a few verses to tears.

In all honesty, the wrongness of gathering together to sing and dance was on my mind. I knew consciously that the married couple insisted that only vaccinated guests attend the wedding, and this (among other obstacles) meant a guest list winnowed to under 70. Still it seemed wrong to be together, but everyone was doing it and it felt amazing. I turned to the woman next to me dressed in a shade of pink that made the blues of her tattoos pop in the waning daylight and I said, “I wasn’t prepared for this.” We met eyes. I saw she was tearful, too. She said, “None of us were.”

I don’t know what it is about the fear, the self-preservation, the other-preservation that this time has incubated in us for a year and a half that ran smack into three minutes on a dance floor, but it gave birth to something new. Maybe it was being together. Maybe it was seeing friends alive and trilling to pulsing rock. Or maybe it was being near two people who faced down fear, gave up the myth of solitary self-preservation, and celebrated the invitation of an other, a second self, into their own life.

I have wondered in the past months if we ever will have a good time again in the way that we used to. I’m relieved to discover that we won’t.

Forever for us all, some part of our futures will always be shaped by this past. Some pink will pop with a blue somewhere else and we’ll remember how precious and rare having a good time was. We’ll dance when we aren’t supposed to, and we’ll remember then, too. Or we’ll be asked one day if we remember where we were when life turned again to a sense of normal we had never quite known yet somehow always remembered, and we’ll each be able to answer, “I do.”

And may it ever be so,
Rev. T. J.

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