4: Humdrum No More

4: Humdrum No More

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteering & Giving Back

Humdrum No More

A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him.

~Pablo Neruda

Have you ever been busy but unfulfilled? I have. My daily life revolved around raising my youngest daughter, who I had just before my forty-fifth birthday. I juggled the usual home and gardening chores, grocery shopping, animal care and church activities. Throw in a retired husband and a father who came to live with us and you have a smorgasbord of chaos. The weight of the world rested on my shoulders.

But then Janette walked into my life. Well, actually, she danced into my life. I met her at our community clubhouse, where she facilitated a ballet class. The corners of her eyes crinkled and her eyes twinkled when she approached me about joining the class, which I did reluctantly. When the eight of us got together for our first class, the creaks, groans and exasperated wails filled the small room.

“Oh my gosh. Do what with my toes?” moaned Sally.

“You’ve got to be kidding. You want me to put my tree-sized leg on top of that bar?” chimed in Betty.

“I may need to purchase Depends for the next class.” Alice held her legs together, ready to explode with laughter.

When Janette suggested after the class that I should join her dance troupe, I knew God surely intended this whole idea as a joke. She went on to explain that her troupe consisted of three other ladies who entertained with song and dance at convalescent and assisted living homes. She said. “It is so rewarding to bring a little joy into the lives of these people who seldom have visitors. You have lots of talent and catch on to the routines fast.” With a limp hand wave, I promised her I’d think about it.

I left the clubhouse and sat in my car. I thought back to my younger years when I dreamed of becoming a famous dancer and singer. I had attended dance classes from first grade through high school. All I ever thought of as I paraded and belted out songs around the house was that Fred Astaire needed me. I threw my head back with a sigh and said, “God, you really do have a sense of humor.” My humdrum routine life was about to become a lot more joyful.

We were known as Triple T, even though eventually there were five of us. I began to feel a new purpose in my life. The long-lost love of song and dance made it back into my life just as the gray hair started to come in at my temples. My life was no longer humdrum.

I organized my chores and my life so that I could practice with Triple T three times a week. The music uplifted my spirit and I enjoyed the fellowship of women who enjoyed my same passion.

The biggest blessings of all came from the audience we entertained. I rejoiced when I watched a wheelchair-bound woman tap her toe to an old favorite, and I loved hearing the laughter of a resident who hadn’t spoken in months. When we directed sing-alongs, some of the strongest voices came from the frailest residents.

Yes, we renewed the hearts of our audience, but truth be told… it was my heart that was renewed. I was transformed. And using my long-lost passion to bring others joy and fellowship allowed me to offer my family more of myself too.

~Alice Klies

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