Let’s Hold Each Other and Dance

As the anniversary of 9/11 approaches I would like to tell a story that has only an oblique relevance to education but says much about the strengths of humanity.

I went to live in the USA in January of 2001, leaving my grown up daughter behind in Australia. I missed her desperately. I was rocked by the events of 9/11 nine months later. As an assistant principal in my first American school, a school located deep in the middle of a highly militarized part of the country, I found myself being asked to deal with advice to parents and to teachers. I will never lose the image of walking the hallways and discovering a TV set on in every classroom, the teacher’s eyes glued to the screens and the children at their desks and tables, confused and fearful. As hard as it was, my first step was to have all those TV sets turned off. Teachers were in shock and the children did not need to see those images unmediated by a loving parent to hold them close.

As the day progressed more and more parents came to collect their children and take them home. They knew something profound had just happened, that might change their lives forever. They had no idea what might come next.

My daughter’s birthday was at the end of the month and I wanted to buy her something in time to mail it back to Australia. A couple of days after the tragedy of the towers I was in a book store in our local shopping mall. Browsing through the books I came across one with a CD attached. It contained a poem entitled “I Hope You Dance”.

My daughter has dance in her blood. Her father was, among other things, a ballet dancer. I find it impossible to keep my feet still if the photo copier starts to kick out a decent rhythm in the school office. It was inevitable that I would be drawn to this title.

I asked the shop assistant if I might listen to the CD and she put it on the store’s player. As we listened, we both began to weep. I was crying because I was missing my beautiful girl so much. She explained the reasons for her tears. She had just received a phone call from her brother, telling her that he was safe. He worked in the World Trade Building in New York.

As the song played we stood hugging each other in the middle of that store, tears rolling down our faces. Two women who had never met, but had been brought together by circumstances and were giving each other comfort. I don’t know what the other shoppers made of this. Perhaps not too much. All emotions were so high in those days that a couple of weeping women might not have looked much out of place.

I bought the CD and sent it to my girl.

Here are the word to that song, written by Mark Daniel Sanders and Tia Sillers and sung by Lee Ann Womack

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder;
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger;Image
May you never take one single breath for granted;
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed.
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean;
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance;
Never settle for the path of least resistance.
Living might mean taking chances, but they’re worth taking,
Loving might be a mistake, but it’s worth making.
Don’t let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter;
When you come close to selling out, reconsider;
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance,
I hope you dance.

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean;
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance;
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

Dance.

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3 Comments

Filed under Thinking

3 responses to “Let’s Hold Each Other and Dance

  1. philcullen

    Thanks Pat, What a charming story and beautiful poem.

    Really enjoyed it. Phil

  2. Jan Dellarmo Phillips

    Hello Pat,
    Guess I missed some of your posts, however, caught this one and must say it was a good read girl.
    That morning I guess those of us that want to recall where, when time ,etc.
    will remember ; what we want to .However, your post is just great and refresing to read; After calling a dear friend (who worked very close to the spot) at nineish while watching the ‘today’ shoe as a treat on that Tuesday morning (not having to be anywhere that day) and watching live as I talked to my friend in Queens, NY who took the day off that day, waking her up and in formaning of the unbelievable , it happened again while on the phone. NY:C was locked down, her TV, was cut off and she did not know what was happening, nor did many. I did not have to deal with the students (Sp.Ed) that I would have had to, as I retired and was into other things but had taken a day off on that Tuesday morn. Funny thing ,or not after calling my daughter, in Vancouver, Washington (state), sister in law (I had not talked to in several years, my only brother’s estranged wife, (Long Island) to check on my two nephews (NYPD -NYFD QUEENS) and their sister ,all adults. Learning they were called, but not at the scene as yet, and the daughter having just been married that past Friday (that is a whole different story) I was told that I would be ‘informed’ as soon as all was cleared, etc. and able to let my brother know he did not loose any of his children (he lived in Florida, than until his early death 6 Jan.2006). I ,perhaps, during all of this turning on a CD of music, not dance music however, four seasons; was the most beautiful thing I felt I needed.
    You, as far as I am concerned were correct in telling the school to ‘turn off’ the TV’s or radios ,etc. young minds do not need to see or hear this truma ,they need to lear to understand the ;why ‘s of these needless tradities.
    If you were where I think you were than, those families knew well what was coming and those that knew the than ‘stupidity’ of the new administration were also very ,very concerned of our nations status and furture……time has told us……..sadly.
    Dancing , music is the best thing to pick up ones woes ; history tells and shows us that , just look at all the music ,popular or not current or not ; ‘give those troops a hot tune to march too’ ,etc.
    Pat , I miss you are you coming back to this side of the earth soon…….?
    Please forgive the long way around to express how I enjoyed your current post (for me ; read Sept. 16 , 2013 EST ,States.
    🙂 JDP

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