As a large organization, LETU makes a significant economic impact in East Texas. However, I believe an even bigger impact is made by the servant leadership of our staff and students. Take Melanie Roudkovski, Pat Mays and Jeninne McNeill for example. They serve on the board of directors of East Texas CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. CASA volunteers are adults in the community who are trained to be advocates in court for abused and neglected children facing foster care placements. For more information on East Texas CASA, see their website: www.easttexascasa.org.
With respect for the sacrifices Melanie, Pat and Jeninne were making at CASA, I had to say 'yes' when they invited me to be a 'celebrity dancer' in an upcoming fundraiser. This has required me to step outside my comfort zone and learn something about ballroom dance.
Here are a few lessons I've learned from ballroom dance:
- Dancers keep their eyes in a window as they move around the floor. No, real ballroom dancers don't get lost in the eyes of their partners. Instead, they are fixed on a window over their partner's shoulder that allows them to move without bumping into others.
- While the feet and even the arms may be moving quickly, the core of the body remains steady and strong.
- The audience wants to see a big smile even more than fancy footwork.
Perhaps I shouldn't be searching for life lessons in this new experience for me, but the above does seem to ring true of the dance floor as well.
We are all more resilient when we keep our eyes looking ahead rather than at the ground below us. We can't afford to stop thinking about where we are going. Especially when things are moving quickly around us, we need a stable center, a core of values that we know to be true. This is one of the most wonderful parts of our Christian walk: the knowledge that real truth exists and that our Christ holds all things together. Finally, I've been reminded that a smile goes a long way in reaching out to those around us.
The CASA event Saturday night is a sellout, which means much money is being raised to support abused and neglected children in East Texas. I will really need to smile BIG, because my footwork will be far from fanciful.