Wednesday, September 16, 2015

He Will Not Cut Me!

One of the high points of being a Highandette (see previous post) was getting to perform at a Dallas Cowboy’s game.  Surely you have heard of America’s team—the Dallas Cowboys!!  I could not WAIT to stand in the middle of the field with thousands of people watching from the stands and on TV.  Well, actually it was probably more like hundreds since most people who are at the game leave during half time to get to some food or something to drink or to a bathroom and those at home watching on TV do the same thing!  Regardless….it was going to be a thrill!!

There was an obstacle though…during high school I worked at the local drugstore’s soda fountain….yep, I was officially a soda jerk….and I loved it!!  I got all of the Dr. Pepper and fries and cheeseburgers and milkshakes my heart desired and, besides, many of the Cowboys came to get the same things and my dad was impressed I knew many of them by name.  The obstacle was that I worked every Sunday (yep, those were the pre-Christ-following days) and getting off of work was difficult.  The one saving factor that was on my side was my boss was a HUGE Cowboys fan!  He had season tickets and so decided he would give me the day off!!

One little tidbit of information about the Highlandettes….sure, we had the initial tryouts to ‘make it’ on the team….but that was not enough.  Every week there were tryouts to see if we were up to snuff (another one of those weird things I say but not sure if it’s OK to type).  Each week was the same….Monday we would learn a new routine, Tuesday and Wednesday practice and perfect it, then the dreaded Thursday would arrive.  We would be in groups of five and perform the routine for the director, the officers and the rest of the ‘line’.  Grueling.  Nerve wracking.  Not fair.  I had already ‘made it’ for crying out loud!!

After everyone had ‘tried out’ the director and officers would huddle up, talk about each girl (have I EVER mentioned that I LOATHE being talked about??), decide who, if anyone, would be ‘cut’!  CUT!  That’s the word they used!!  We would all be nervously waiting until they arrived and read ‘the list’.  If your name was read….YES!  You ‘made it’!!  If not, you had to still go to the game, wear your uniform, sit with the group, but when it was time to perform you had to walk the walk of shame up the entire steps in the bleachers with the director in lead to the press box to watch the others perform.  Everyone in the stadium knew you didn’t ‘make it’.  Humiliating to say the least.

It is now Thursday…tryouts for this week is not just for Friday night’s game but also for Sunday’s Cowboy game.  It is a difficult routine filled with a zillion high kicks that ends with us all going down in to the splits.  Spectacular.  Crowd pleasing.  Awesome.
A picture of us at a high school game

I am in my group of five and we are kicking and counting and stepping all in sync to the music when all of a sudden I hit the ground!!  My right leg is up over my head and my left leg leaves the floor and my bottom hits where my foot is supposed to be.  As if it was the most normal, supposed to be movement, I popped back up like I had hit a trampoline and was back in step.  It all happened so fast that many who were watching were not even sure what happened.  The girls, whose shoulders I had my arms on, acted as if nothing happened and we finished the routine.

Good for me! I didn’t stop and cry.  I didn’t panic.  I did what all good performers do….continued.  Surely that would count wouldn’t it?  Surely they wouldn’t ‘cut’ me for that would they?  Tryouts continued.  Deliberations began.  Names were read.  Mine was not.

Tears.  Disappointment.  Embarrassment.  Emotions were rampant.  I was too embarrassed to tell my boss…and, after all, there would be no way he’d be able to pick me out of the line of girls who all looked the same….he’d never know.

Binoculars.  I never considered he’d have binoculars.  When I arrived at work the next day he told me the sad, sad story of how he peered in his binoculars and looked up and down the line for me….nowhere to be seen.  As he took in a panoramic view of the field….he spotted me.  There I was hovering shamefully in the dugout with the director (the walk of shame to the press box was at the high school game…which I had to do that Friday night).  Pitiful.  Shameful.  Embarrassed even more.  Sadly, he did not give me much grace….but much ridicule.  Ridicule I was used to….I have three brothers.

Amazing how I can still recall those feelings and emotions…and interestingly, I think about that event quite a bit.  Every time I ‘fall’ I am grateful that the Lord does not ‘cut’ me from the list.  That my life is not to be a life of ‘performance’ where I have to be ‘perfect’ or else I will be ‘cut’.  Every time I fall I long to bounce back up and keep on keeping on.  Not give up.  Not quit.  Continue.

Did they ‘cut’ me because they were worried I’d do it again and ruin the performance?  Did they cut me because I was not ‘perfect’?  Yes and yes.  The enemy tells me the same thing over and over….”you are ‘cut’ Dana from speaking, from teaching, from joy, from friends, from all of the things God has had you do in the past.  After all….you FELL!”

Thankfully, the Lord knows that even though I sadly have done much, much worse than falling during a performance tryout, that He knows my heart.  That it truly is after Him.  And, yes, I will fall again…hard…often.  And yes, He will never ‘cut’ me because the covenant we have is based on His faithfulness….not my performance.  Thank you Jesus!!

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