We Did Not Ask For This Room . . . But Let Us Dance

September 30, 2020

We did not ask for this room or this music; we were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces toward the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty…. We did not ask for this room or this music. But because we are here, let us dance.
— Stephen King 

Stephen King wrote some wisdom

As a young girl, many moons ago, I used to read Stephen King’s books because I loved the thrill of being scared…the joy of not being able to guess what was on the next page, of pulling my feet up into the chair because who know what evil lurks in the darkness. But I was younger then and the world had many lessons to teach me about darkness and evil and what fear really was. 

I still enjoy reading Stephen King’s books, but for different reasons now. It is not the thrill of being afraid any more, no I know what fear looks like. It is not for the not knowing what lurks in the darkness – I know what is there and it is much more real than I want it to be. I enjoy his books for the memories of what they used to mean and the smiles that they bring back to me because for just a few minutes while I’m reading them, I can be that young girl who didn’t know real fear. 

What I didn’t realize is that Stephen King had some very insightful things to say outside of his books. I have been looking at and finding those things that make this storm that we are all facing so bravely and courageously a little bit less fearful for me. Each day I find that I have been using the one thing that got us through last year while we faced our scariest time yet as a married couple – battling cancer. 

Gratitude counts even in the darkness

We end each day, and sometimes each hour, looking for the silver linings – those things that were the overlooked blessings in the day. What is it about this day that I almost missed that made it easier to get through? A couple of days ago, it was the quote at the top, from one of my favorite authors, that made me stop and think about what there is about this whole COVID-19 pandemic and all that it has brought to me that I might have been overlooking. Where in this room, that I didn’t ask to be invited into, have I missed the music? 

We did not ask for this room or this music. We were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces to the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty. We have been given pain to be astounded by joy. We have been given life to deny death. We did not ask for this room or this music. But because we are here, let us dance. 

Stephen King, from the screenplay 11/22/63 

This quote from Stephen King came to me via a daily gratitude reminder that I receive in my email from Gratefulness.org and it initially struck me as an odd quote for this site. What did (a) Stephen King ever write about gratefulness and (b) what did being invited into darkness have to do with being grateful much less dancing?

This intrigued me and made me stop often to go back to it. Most of the daily quotes from this email site I read, give a brief thought to and then delete so that I can move on with my day. This one there was just something about that it has remained in my email and I go back to it often. 

I’m not certain that Stephen King intended the quote to be about our current pandemic (I don’t really know when he penned it), but how appropriate it seems to be to me for where we find ourselves. We did not ask to be invited into this room nor for this music to be played for us in the world today, or for the last several months for that matter, yet here we are – in this room and listening to this music.

Choose gratitude

We can choose to endure it and be grateful for all that is happening that is good (finding the silver linings each moment and day) or we can rail against the darkness. We can beat against the closed door of the room that will not open just because we want it to or we can choose to embrace the quiet and the stillness as gift to see what it holds for us.

We can mutter against the music as not our style or type, or we can choose to kick off our shoes and dance with wild abandon to the sound and the joy that is music because it is, after all, a gift that we can hear it. 

I wanted to know what the dots said so I looked it up for myself. They remind me of some other words that have been ringing true for me during these last several weeks. Words from a different book, one that speaks of times and circumstances that come and go and admonish me to live in them each in turn. Those words start off like this: 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) 

These lovely words begin what is known as the “Seasons”, I learned to know them as the “Times” verses. They remind me that there is a time for everything. I wondered what the Seasons in Ecclesiastes had to say about pandemics and found that they had much to remind me of including social distancing (embracing and not embracing), joy (laughter and sorrow) and even dancing {mourning and dancing). There are a lot of reminders there, but what else is in there regarding storms and finding a reason to face the light in the darkness? Or dancing in the darkness….only time and study will tell me that…what will you tell you? 

Susan Lauman, Certified Spiritual Director

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