Sep 10, 2020 filed under Faith, Joy.

Dance of woman in red blouse

God has given each of us unique gifts—ways to receive and live out his love that only we can do. A favorite “post from the past” invites you to celebrate the one-of-a-kind genius that is you.

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One of the challenges of the virtuous life is dodging the doubts that creep into our thoughts. A speaker I heard yesterday named some of them: “You’re no good.” “If people really knew the truth about you, they wouldn’t want to be with you.” And the ever-present, “You can’t do that.”

When I was eight, I came to love Beethoven’s sixth symphony, the Pastoral, because it told a story plain as day without paint or words—using only musical instruments. I told my funny and endlessly creative grandfather that I wanted to be a composer when I grew up. “Don’t bother,” he said, “all the good songs have already been written.”

Fast forward to now. The doubt that visits me most is, “You’re not as good at this as other people, so why even try.” Writing and giving talks gives me joy because I get to share the treasures I have found in how the saints pursued the virtuous life. I have found solid ground, clarity, peace, and freedom in learning to think and behave like them—with hope instead of fear and love instead of blame.

But, still, there are tons of people more qualified to communicate that than I.

L’Engle to the rescue
In her book A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007) tells how her husband, after reading something she wrote, commented: “It’s been said better before.”

Gulp. How to recover from that?!

Her reply to herself (and us) is:
“Of course. It’s all been said better before. The thing is, it has to be said by me….We each have to say it, to say it in our own way.”

These days, in what Pope Benedict XVI calls “the tyranny of relativism,” people talk about my truth and your truth. As if existence had more than one ultimate meaning. There is only one truth, Jesus Christ, whom each of us, created in his image, “tells” in our unique way. This frees us to boldly say and do true things that have been “said better” and “done better” before, with everything we bring to it—and everything we lack.

Your dance
The choreographer Martha Graham (1894-1991) wrote, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.

“It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly…. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Our dance is to live out what has been said and thought and done before in the way that only we can do—while remembering that it is not our words and actions that are the core of the dance, but rather who we are. “Who we are” is the unique thing that we bring to every situation—and it would be sad to listen to our doubts and fail to nourish that core however we can. How sad it would be to miss out on our own dance!

Even in suffering
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity described how we live out Christ’s sufferings each in a unique way. “It’s so simple,” she wrote. “He is always with us. Be always with him, through all your actions, in your sufferings, when your body is broken, remain under his gaze, see him present, living in your soul.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) exhorted us to “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Nonsense, as in doubts and regrets.

High spirits
The key is in the last line: “with too high a spirit.” The high spirit that overcomes the regrets of yesterday, doubts of today, and fears of tomorrow is the Holy Spirit, co-eternal with the Father and the Son, for whom there is no yesterday or tomorrow, but only the eternal, creative now.

Scroll down and share one way you could dance your dance (despite the doubts)!

Love always,


19 Responses to “Your Dance”

  1. Linda Hartzell

    I love to sing having been taught and encouraged early on by my father.
    Each song (be it a church hymn or a Beatles tune) uses the same notes, key signature, and words by all who sing it. But it is my voice, my intonation, my phrasing that allows me to claim that hymn or song as mine for the moment. Perfect each time? Never. Joy filled? Always.

    “How great Thou art” :-0
    “Let it be” :-0

    • Suzanne Landis

      I, too, was encouraged to sing by my father when we would sing together in the car. Now I mostly sing in the shower. It brings joy wherever you or I can sing.

  2. Jackie Foxwell

    My passion has always been teaching and by the Grace of God I now teach 7th and 8th grade religious education. With the help of the Holy spirit guidance we make it thru the year. I usually have 10 to 12 disciples who attend every Sunday class and go on to be Confirmed and for me that is a win for God who gave me this opportunity to use his gifts.

    • Rose Folsom

      I love how you call your middle-schoolers “disciples.” I imagine that leaves them with the expectation that they have something glorious and “grown up” to live up to. God bless you.

  3. Rose Folsom

    Always a joy to read your missive and see your pics!
    Rose, thank you for your prayers.
    Good morning ️ Rose!

    We can be so rude at times without even meaning to be. Wow, L’Engle’s husband hits the nail right on the head. Oouch!

    For many years I’ve learned to say something good about a person or don’t say anything at all.
    Praise, glory, & thanks to God!

    Thank you Rose for this inspirational article you wrote! It gives me hope ! God bless you abundantly!

  4. Liz Tomaszeski

    My dance is teaching people with disabilities. I enjoy putting together a personalized curriculum geared towards using their strengths. I am overjoyed when someone learns how to make the sign of the cross. Accompanying someone with a disability on their Faith journey is a joyful experience.

    • Rose Folsom

      What a beautiful way to get used to looking past people’s weaknesses to focus on their strengths! We can apply this to ourselves as well :)

  5. Diane Upham

    Wow, triple Wow! You have truly expressed beautifully and completely the gift our loving God gives us to
    become His amazing child!! As a faithful steward of His word we must discourage doubt and pessimism as best we can and bring Hope always to those that are hurting.

    Thank you Rose for another powerful message!

  6. Marcela Pasetti

    Beautiful piece, Rose. How much we need all these reminders. I like the part that says we need to start the day fresh; letting go any anxiety about the the past or worry about future. I find joy and I am the best version of myself when I get to sit and talk to my students, and guide them in their projects and help them shape their career. Through Him, with Him and in Him, we can do it all. Thank you, Rose, for your ministry!

  7. Tom Roberts

    I don’t have the exact quote because a friend of mine sold the book for money to buy crack, but Harry Truman said when the presidency was thrust upon him “There were a million men better qualified than me but the job was mine to do and I had to do it.” So this little failed haberdasher dreamed up the *Marshall Plan which saved post-WWII Europe. As a young man he thought of joining the Ku Klux Klan yet in 1947 he integrated the armed forces much to his political peril.

    As I remember attempts were made to dissuade Werner Heisenberg and Albert Einstein from studying physics because all the discoveries had been made. At most they could add a fifth decimal place of precision.

    Let’s remember that the biggest discovery in geology, continental drift, was made by a meteorologist who was ridiculed by geologists who were convinced the earth was one solid piece that “rings like a bell” during an earthquake. They relied on “consensus gentium” the argument that says “It’s true because everybody says so.” That very argument is an invitation to investigate further because it’s usually an argument made in the absence of evidence.

    For those of us who feel inadequate, not good enough but have an idea and a passion we can start asking questions from a different viewpoint, pretty well assured that nobody’s looking there anyway. I suspect every Saint began his/her journey in this manner.

    *Truman called it The Marshall Plan because he knew if his name was on it, the bill would never make it through Congress.

  8. Suzanne Landis

    I’ve learned much about cooking this summer. I’ve tried new foods and many new recipes. It’s been a challenge and some attempts were successful, others not so much. No matter what, I was involved in a life sustaining activity shared by Mother Mary, St. Martha and even Jesus himself.

    • Rose Folsom

      Cookin’ with the Blessed Mother — love your take on something we don’t always appreciate as a ministry, or a “dance.”

  9. Joyce Miles

    Beautiful message.
    I Love to sing and praise God it brings joy to my soul.I read a scripture everyday to start my day which helps me to get through my work week.Quotes and scripture is excellent medicine.

  10. Colleen

    I loved your piece Rose. Very encouraging! I love to create photo albums of my aunts and uncles – ones I personally knew but who have since died – to keep them alive in my mind and my kids’ minds. Many times I wonder who will care about these folks – but your piece encourages Me to continue to put my spin on why these folks mattered to me. I also like to create my Faithbook – to tangibly express God’s work in my life – and often say that the book will end up in a yard sale somewhere – and I believe that someone who picks it up might get to know God From my perspective . I guess that is worth it!

  11. Karen

    I particularly liked the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. Previously, when I was beginning my presentation to my former garden club, I would always start with an inspirational quote and often it was Emerson. His thoughts are full of wisdom and good common sense. Thank you Rose. Karen