A Developing Passion

An Essay By Lucy Anne // 6/26/2013

Important Note: Before I begin this essay, I would like to take notice on the absence of activity on this website. Since for the past month, nothing really has been getting published, I think that we Monthly Writers should publish our own work because we can. And because a writer MUST write. We can only get better in writing by practicing - so practice we must! The only difference between a writer and a non-writer is that the writer writes NO MATTER WHAT. If you don't know what to write about, write about what is on your mind. You have something on your mind. You do. So WRITE!

~~~~~~~~~~

The backdrop of spiky forest pine trees envelops a ballerina grand jetting in time to the twinkling of a triangle instrument. Pique, pique, pirouette, sissone ferme. Pirouetting around the stage, her white tutu flattens as thin as paper. Hidden between the wings another ballerina practices pointing, only to discover her ribbon dangling out of her shoe. But alas! Her cue has arrived, and making a grand jete into the stage as the cymbals crashes together --she tumbles to the floor. This is ballet with its beauty and its flaws; it is ballet—which is my passion that eventually taught me about the power of sacrifice.

I’ve always loved ballet. I remember feeling so important when I was five and “dancing” in Sleeping Beauty as a swan. For that performance, my hair was up to my shoulders, so my mom had to use a wig to make a bun.
As I looked in the mirror, I was so pretty, in my own eyes; but in others, I was just cute. Having a tutu as my costume, I felt even more important as I “danced” (when I really just ran around with a huge, heavy duck hat that only slowed me down) for one minute on stage. All the while my teachers gushed to my parents, “Megan’s so good at ballet and she’s the only one that doesn’t talk! She’s just so well-behaved!”

Of course, as I grew older, the stage time increased and my classmates and I enjoyed each minute performing. But there was one small catch: dress rehearsals would go on to nine o’ clock in the evening. But I didn’t care. I loved staying late. Dancing thrilled me and I wanted to dance to the best of my ability. I wanted to show that ballet has its grace, its elegance, and it speaks for all languages! I wanted to show that ballet is the most gorgeous form of dance.

I began noticing that my Jewish and Catholic classmates did not have the goal that I had: to dance for God. When my family and I watched ‘Ballet Magnificat!’ a Christian Ballet Company perform, their mission to dance for God with their whole soul undeniably displayed on their faces. I want to dance like that! I wanted to truly dance for God and witness to my classmates. We would whisper together in the corner in between dances and talk about our different religions. I never got to share the whole gospel, so I began praying for opportunities.

As I matured, and I started dressing in modest skirts and dresses, dressing immodestly for ballet and acting fairy-tales on the Sabbath nagged me. I felt like a hypocrite entering church decently dressed with a head-covering when I would dress contrarily for ballet. I admitted to my friends, “I’m too scared to ask my teacher if I could dress differently! What will I do? ‘Cause what if Jesus came back when I was dancing in a fairytale story on His Sabbath?”

Quitting ballet barely entered my mind: ballet was everything to me; I had already danced for six years. It was just my passion. Maybe I should ask if I could dress differently...But I certainly didn’t have the courage Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird wanted his children to own. He said, “[Courage is not the idea of] a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

What is more important: having a good conscience or just ignoring it? I didn’t know. If I dance for God—even in a fairy-tale story, would the audience know I am? Is God pleased with me dancing and receiving all the attention on His day? I didn’t think so. And before I could gain the valor to ask to dress differently, to my distress, my mom decided to switch ballet schools. It was horrible. I did appreciate the seriousness of the ballet students, but the school did not have any of the challenges, creativity, and deepness that my old school pronounced as what ballet was composed of. “Why not quit? I thought. “It’s easier to quit now that I don’t enjoy it as much.” But I still did wished to maintain my splits and dance in “Ballet Magnificat!”.

Yet I kept praying for my classmates and for a change. Finally, I decided to quit. And surprisingly, it brought peace. Contentment—to just listen to the classical radio station and when inspired, to jump up and dance with my sisters. It brought discouragement when my sisters returned to our old school in September. Watching through the glass window, it hurt to only watch and not dance. The memories of being the quietest one in the class, struggling with sissones, whispering in the corner with my friends would overwhelm me until I wanted to cry. But quitting answered my prayer to be a witness. God let me share with my ballet teacher about Jesus’ resurrection and declare that He would return! She responded, “How long does your dress need to be? Up to your knee? You can even wear your ‘hat’!”

But ballet isn’t for me anymore. I don’t regret quitting and if I made a mistake in quitting, it doesn’t matter—if I handle them properly. Anne of Anne of Green Gables said, “Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” The ballerina that tumbled on her grand jete got up immediately and continued dancing as if nothing happened—like she should. I am not regretting ballet, because its ethereal, magical beauty has awed me. Ballet has showed me that I can sacrifice all things with Christ!

Lloyd C. Douglas wrote in The Robe, “Our life is like a land journey, too even and easy and dull over long distances across the plains, too hard and painful up the steep grades; but, on the summits of the mountain, you have a magnificent view--and feel exalted--and your eyes are full of happy tears--and you want to sing--and wish you had wings! And then--you can't stay there, but must continue your journey--you begin climbing down the other side, so busy with your footholds that your summit experience is forgotten.” My journey of ballet is exactly like that; switching to another school made ballet seem dull; quitting was excruciating, but now I am on the mountain peak praising God for everything that He has done! My passion for ballet is still mine; except I am not representing it. As L.M. Montgomery says in The Story Girl, “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

Comments

Well, I'd say you fulfilled

Well, I'd say you fulfilled the assignment well!

Arthur | Sat, 06/29/2013

"My greatest wish for my writing is that it would point you to the Savior."

Thank you so much! I wrote

Thank you so much! I wrote more on the Notes section because I should have described WHAT I was assigned to write. :) - Megan

P.S. Sorry if I was too bold in my little speech before this essay. I have noticed an extreme flood of activity after I said it. :)

Lucy Anne | Sat, 06/29/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nice essay! This is probably

Nice essay! This is probably my favorite thing that you've written :). You did a great job of expressing your emotions and showing little pieces of yourself. Great job.

Erin | Sat, 06/29/2013

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

The 'speech' of sorts was the

The 'speech' of sorts was the push everyone needed! :) I was thinking the same thing as you...although it's slightly hypocritical of me to say, seeing as I haven't posted anything in a while. Haha. Now, onto your essay...

THESE are the essays I enjoy. I really get your feelings from this. I felt how much you loved ballet. So good job there. :)

Madeline | Sun, 06/30/2013

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

Megan, your little speech was

Megan, your little speech was true though. And it's mostly my fault as I am the editor, and I was not publishing things that were submitted for review.

You see, during the school year, I was spending a lot of time on the computer because of research for debate. It gets a little tiring, so after debate ended, I sort of didn't get on the computer for a long while. When I realized that nothing would be getting posted on here, I had become quite busy, as my brother's wedding was only a week away. But now that's all over, so I'm back to doing what I do best.

So let's all get writing!!!

Arthur | Sun, 06/30/2013

"My greatest wish for my writing is that it would point you to the Savior."

Thank you so much, everyone!

Thank you so much, everyone! It's good to know that you got it on how I loved ballet, Homey. My mission was to speak through my essay conveying that.

Lucy Anne | Mon, 07/01/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

whoops

Didn't log in.... the camp post was mine! :)

Sarah Bethany | Mon, 07/01/2013

Huh? What camp post?

Huh? What camp post?

Lucy Anne | Mon, 07/01/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well done!

This was very well written...I agree with Erin that this is probably my favorite thing you've written so far. It really showed your personality and spirit. :)

I really think it is great that you followed your conscience. Isn't that what we ought to do? Form our consciences well, and then follow their dictates? It takes real strength to do what you feel is right even when it is very difficult, and the fact that you did shows a real strength of character, I think.

The only thing I disagreed with is your comment that you noticed that your Jewish and Catholic classmates did not seem to also be dancing for God. While, unfortunately, many people seem to forget that they should be giving all they do to God, I do not think it is accurate to attribute that quality to Jews and Catholics as something standard. As a Catholic, I do my best to offer each day to God, and though I often fail, I do not cease to try.

When I sing, I offer each performance to God ahead of time. If I am complimented afterwards, I certainly thank the giver, but I don't forget that it was God who gave me the ability and the opportunity, and I do thank Him for that and offer my gifts back to Him. You see, while we are all human and thus imperfect, or rather, because of this, we can only know our own hearts and not those of others. You say that you are quiet - I am sure that you witness to Christ through your life as much as through your words, or perhaps even more. Your former classmates may not have danced for God openly or even at all, which is truly a shame. However, just as not all Catholic Christians know and choose to give every part of their day to God, neither do all Protestant Christians. It is certainly a shame.

And on a different note: Your speech was a great idea! And non-Monthly Writers' work is being published again!! There is even some stuff that was posted in May that was just recently published, so if you go back a bit, there is more content! (And yes, that was a bit of a shameless plug, and yes, I did post something in May, but hey, I really like receiving comments/critiques, as they help me become a better writer, and if people don't even know certain writings exist, that's kind of impossible. Hence the plug.)

little woman | Tue, 07/02/2013

The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen.
-G. K. Chesterton

Thank you for your comment!

Thank you for your comment!

I am really sorry if I came across as like I thought all Jewish and Catholic dancers do not dance for God or achieve all things for the glory of God. I certainly do not mean it that way, and I was just observing my two friends, who happened to be those two religions. I completely agree with you that not all Catholic Christians, Protestant Christians, Reformed Christians, or even Mennonite Christians give all the honor and glory to God.

Also, I am not trying to judge my friends' hearts. It was just what I observed from them and maybe they do, now that they are older, give glory to God. I don't know.

Sorry if I have offended you! Thank you for not being afraid to say your true thoughts. :)

Lucy Anne | Tue, 07/02/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wasn't offended, and I hope

I wasn't offended, and I hope I didn't come across that way. :)

I just noticed that there seemed to be some generalizing, and while generalizations are often made unconsciously, sometimes they reflect an honest opinion, and if it was an opinion, I wanted to share my own opinion. :) I figured it was unconscious, however, I thought I would throw in my two cents.

I really did enjoy your essay, and I found your choice and its results to be both inspiring and comforting.

God bless!

little woman | Tue, 07/02/2013

The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen.
-G. K. Chesterton

Oh, thank you so much! The

Oh, thank you so much! The thing is, I only had one and a half pages to write about this, so I had to generalize, whether I liked it or not.

...its results to be both inspiring and comforting. - That makes me SO happy!!

God bless you and give you wisdom! :) - Megan

Lucy Anne | Tue, 07/02/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

:)

This is very YOU, Megan. Very you...like your personality shone through. :)
I agree with Arthur...assignment very well done!

And your "little speech" at the front was inspiring and so glad you did it. "So WRITE!"

Maddi | Fri, 08/02/2013

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

I did love writing about this...it was so much fun!

[big smile] ...And what is my personality?

Lucy Anne | Thu, 08/08/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Megan...

...I hadn't read this yet, even though I read your "Compromise or Conscience?" - and, believe it or not, I'm on Skype with my friend right now and she's reading the other one and I'm reading this one. (We came on here because we were talking about Martje and I told her you had been very encouraging to me. I also told my friend, "She writes with emotional honesty, which I like.") This is very beautiful, Megan. It is heart-breaking but inspirational and gorgeous. You are the type of person that makes a personal decision and follows through with rare bravery. And you can talk about this in a non-black-and-white, complex way, for example saying, "My passion for ballet is still mine; except I am not representing it." I admire all these things so much.

Sarah Bethany | Thu, 10/30/2014

:) :)

Hey, Sarah - I've been thinking of you and I was actually reading your Sleeping Beauty Syndrome again and I have Sometimes Loved a few days ago! I was trying to figure out how you could write so beautifully and how you could make your personal essays seem like another Martje. I saw that you changed your profile picture to Book Two, and got excited! Are you going to post Martje in the winter?

I can't believe you said those sweet words to your friend! It makes me so happy. Every time I get a comment from you my heart beats faster with happy excitement! What did she think of Compromise or Conscience? I wasn't very happy with how that one turned out...but this is one of my favorite essays, and I remember how I enjoyed writing this one so much.

I'm so glad you commented and let me know this!

Lucy Anne | Fri, 10/31/2014

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

:D

I'm sorry for such a late response, Megan!!

My friend really liked your "Compromise or Conscience?"! It was fun to sit with her on Skype and read them together.

Your compliments mean so much to me...it's amazing to think someone would go back and re-read something I wrote. Wow. And you think my essays seem like another Martje? That's a comfort to hear, because sometimes I worry that I'm not giving enough intimacy to Martje - or bringing it to the personal level that the essays are capable of reaching... and then I wonder if Martje should be written in first person... but hearing you say that they're similar makes me "stay the course". :)

I have eleven (handwritten) notebooks to type up and am done with typing three. I'm aiming to have it all typed end of March, and then I'll start editing the document. Not sure when I'll start posting, but not long after. I'm in Ireland right now so that all I can focus on is Martje, Martje, Martje!! The second book seems like it might be longer than the first. The cover picture encourages me. :D (Even though I still really like the first cover better...)

Are you working on any current writing projects yourself?

Sarah Bethany | Mon, 11/17/2014

Yes, alot of writing. Since

Yes, alot of writing. Since you asked, I really don't mean to brag, but I'm doing a 40-60 page literary analysis on Dickens and Twain. So like read two books of each and analyze, one biography of each, a compare and contrast essay between their books, and a compare and contrast between all the books, plus an intro and conclusion. I've actually spent all morning writing an analysis on A Tale of Two Cities.
And then there's my even longer goal of writing a biography, which I've told you about before.
But my main concentration right now is school; and that is the literary analysis.
And I also like the first cover better.
11 notebooks is wonderful! Especially since last time I talked to you you were working on your second? Just make sure it's concise!
And are you Irish?

Lucy Anne | Mon, 11/17/2014

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

You're not bragging! I was

You're not bragging! I was afraid *I* sounded like I was bragging when I said I was in Ireland to focus on Martje II! But we're both just stating facts. :) Quite magnificent facts, actually. I can't believe you're writing a 40-60 page literary analysis. I never even wrote something that size for college! My senior year thesis paper was half that length. That sounds like such a rigorous task you have before you - but I know you're up to it. You're very intellectual and diligent! And hopefully once that's over you can focus on the biography, which sounds like your passion.

Oh, sorry, 11 notebooks that make up the entirety of Book Two. Typing them up now. :)

'Tis Irish I am! But only about a third, in heritage.

Sarah Bethany | Fri, 11/21/2014