She wanted it to be a surprise.
So when we showed up to watch Penny on stage for her annual Spring Dance Fest, we were expecting the usual. Penny would dance. We would feel proud of her and grateful for the studio that has built into her day after day and week after week and year after year for over a decade now. We would give her flowers and cheer for her and her classmates.
But then her first dance began, and she was doing something different than everyone else. And then the other dancers moved to the side. Penny wasn’t in the back row, a little hard to see. She was performing a solo. Confident. Beautiful.
Her second dance started, and there she was again, front and center. Confident and beautiful.
It took years of hard work on Penny’s part to build the mental and physical strength to perform like this in front of hundreds of people. It also took a decision on the part of her teachers to feature her.
Peter and I both sat there, astonished and teary and not even believing what was in front of us. Our daughter. Performing a solo. Lifted up for all to see.
It drew my mind to the passages in the Bible that talk about how God “lifts up the lowly.” One aspect of justice is toppling the mighty, those who use and abuse power for their own glory. But another aspect of justice is lifting up the lowly.
We don’t all need to be humbled. Some of us need to be exalted.
And when the ones who are usually overlooked and sidelined become the ones who are honored and lifted up, we get a glimpse of more than a dance performance. We get a glimpse of the beauty and goodness of a world being made right. We had a glimpse of that world on Sunday afternoon, when a young woman with Down syndrome took center stage.
More from Amy Julia:
- On Pointe, Step by Determined Step
- Penny’s Dance Fest
- Dance Like Everybody’s Watching (and Celebrating What They See)
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