Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

I saw a story on the news today about a man who was dancing.

As far as I am concerned, if you feel the groove, you should shake your butt. I have been known to dance in long lines, in the shower, while making breakfast, and on actual dance floors. The Lord knows that I am a terrible dancer but, much like writing, when the spirit hits me I have to let it out! The Lord also knows that I have put on quite a bit of weight as I have aged, but I just shake that extra ass whenever I can.

It never occurred to me that someone might laugh at me while I rock out. Or, rather, it certainly has occurred to me that someone might laugh, but it never occurred to me that someone would out and out shame me in the midst of my joyful groove. But it did happen to someone else, a man who was referred to as a "specimen" and filmed as he danced, stopping when he realized his malicious audience was laughing at him. Joy squashed.

Aren't we better than that, folks?

Let me back up a second. Truth be told, there was a time I might have been the person laughing. I have looked at people in any number of situations and not only judged my head off, but laughed it off, too. Someone could have walked out of their door, thrilled with their outfit/shoes/parenting choices/mullet and I have no way of knowing if that person heard my laughter and if it ruined their day.

Now, we live in an age that allows us to have a mullet catch our eye one second and have our camera phones in our hands the next. Not only is this less subtle, but a nasty comment can be carried through the internet at the push of a button. We can shame someone's joy with behavior that we should be ashamed of ourselves. Not only can we ruin somebody's day, but we can splash the bloodshed across the world with a swipe of the iPhone.

View image on Twitter
Picture grabbed from this article from People Magazine
Look at this gentleman's face in that second frame. All of the happiness that spilled over into dance is gone. I can tell you, with no uncertainty, that we do not have the right to make another human being feel that way. Murderers, rapists, people who harm animals, traffic drugs, don't yield to emergency vehicles- there are people and situations for which some hearty, righteous indignation should be held. But we do not have the right to make someone feel like that because you didn't like the dance.

Again, I can tell you that I have been known to reach for the easy laugh. I have hurt someone's feelings. I never meant to, but sometimes I was caught wielding the sword. Since my son was born, and particularly since we learned he has Autism, it's a behavior I have made an effort to work on. I am not 100% cured- just read my Facebook feed when The Voice is on. I'm human, but I've learned that I have no right to cut someone down because they are, also, human. It's not our place to ruin someone's happy. We have no right to kill joy.

If the groove hits you, dance. Don't worry about who is watching. Shake what your mama gave you and shake it like you mean it. If you happen to be the one who is watching, take notes. You were just schooled in joy.


Nicole Marica said...

The first time I saw the picture of this guy and the story behind it, I teared up when I saw the look on his face in the second pic. It broke my heart. I'm so glad some people are lifting his spirits by hosting a party for him, because I agree with you, dance when you want to!

Unknown said...

Great post! You're right, we should dance when we want to and above all try not to be so judgmental :)

Anonymous said...

Great post, and great title! I was so sad for him, and so glad that people stepped up to make it right.