72: The Dance Encounter that Changed My Life

72: The Dance Encounter that Changed My Life

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

The Dance Encounter that Changed My Life

Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another.

~Author Unknown

“Oh, Lord, I’m so tired of being lonely!” I deliberated about another depressing singles dance. I was closer to Medicare than college age, yet something in my spirit nudged me to persist, to never give up on finding true love.

I had been divorced for seven years and the empty nest was looming. I dreaded being alone. Girlfriends from church had been praying for a soul mate to arrive in my life for years, yet I didn’t expect God to deliver Mr. Wonderful to my doorstep. I needed to take action, so I forced myself out the door.

Even though the dance felt a bit like entering the movie set of Revenge of the Nerds, my policy was to accept any dance requests, out of courtesy and kindness, unless they were truly creepy. Soon a clean-cut gentleman with lots of mileage approached.

“Let me give this old chap a thrill,” I charitably thought, being a ballroom dance teacher and priding myself on the ability to follow anyone, regardless of how inept their dancing might be.

Within seconds, it was apparent that this geezer could really cut a rug! He moved with grace and fluidity and his dance frame was impeccable. Gliding around the floor with this stranger was sheer delight.

“You’re so smooth,” I swooned as he twirled me out.

“I used to be a Fred Astaire dance instructor,” he modestly confided.

Exuberant and now totally in my element, my hustle moves exploded with a style and grace reminiscent of my Saturday Night Fever disco days growing up in Brooklyn. As I scanned the tables of admirers, I caught the attention of a handsome man with scintillating blue eyes and biceps to die for. Not to mention, he had a gorgeous smile.

Upon capturing his gaze, I accentuated my movements even more, coquettishly tilting my head back and swirling my arm upwards, wrist arched delicately with feminine flair. The flirting continued as I was led seamlessly from one dance move to another.

Apparently, this antiquated ballroom teacher was also a black belt in karate. After swinging me out in a double turn, he assumed a side-by-side position and executed a perfect side kick that would have stunned Bruce Lee. Now, we were really putting on a show, with disco moves and martial arts combined into one! I glanced at the handsome admirer, who could barely contain his laughter. Reveling in the attention, I continued flirting with the hunk for several more minutes.

Finally, our performance was over and I was back at my table. My heart fluttered in anticipation of the potential suitor. Thankfully, the good-looking heartthrob made a beeline in my direction.

“That was quite a performance with ‘Miracle on Ice,’ ” he joked. He introduced himself as Joe.

Just as the humorous banter with Joe hit a high note, I discovered he was a forty-nine-year-old bachelor. My heart sank as I waited to hear that he still lived in his mother’s basement. But I was pleasantly surprised that Joe was a school social worker. Also, he was a professional counselor who owned a condo. Could it be that he was as much a people person as I was, finding joy in teaching, inspiring and counseling others? I felt an immediate kinship, and we danced and chatted the night away.

The next day I received a call from a dorky guy named Harvey in desperate need of dance instruction. A few minutes into the conversation, I realized it was Joe, playfully honing his acting skills. Thoroughly amused, I prepared to dazzle him with my culinary skills, using tried-and-true recipes from my grandmother’s Italian kitchen. He was smitten, but I was even more flabbergasted when he reciprocated and cooked a scrumptious dinner of roasted chicken and potatoes.

Astounded that he had more cooking apparatus than I did, I perused the shelves of his kitchen to discover every conceivable food processor, blender and other contraptions. Joe demonstrated one unfamiliar gadget, the apple corer, by creating a delicious apple pie. When Mom, the quintessential baker, complimented his pie crust, I knew he was a keeper. Was it possible that this Irish bachelor enjoyed cooking and entertaining as much as I did?

Several months later, an acrostic poem with my named showed up in which Joe captured my very essence. Yes, we completely understood each other.

At last, I found my soul mate! On a beautiful summer day four years after that momentous dance, I married my Prince Charming. The fifty-three-year-old bachelor gave me his heart, and he was definitely worth waiting for. How grateful I was that I never stopped believing and trusting in a second chance at love.

Nestled between my two grown sons as I glided down the aisle, I noticed tears of joy from my praying girlfriends. Our hearts marveled at the goodness and faithfulness of God, providing the perfect man in His perfect timing. It all started with “Miracle on Ice,” and now my own fairytale miracle had finally come true.

~Leslie Tierney

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