An Unexpected Gift of Grace

I have broken my wrist. Left one, thank God. It happened when I fell hard on the wooden floor in my lyrical dance class last night. Late night in the ER. Tomorrow an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to get the full scoop. Gift of Grace you ask? Indeed.

Many of you have heard me quote Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” And, we also know that sometimes it’s so easy to say, “Really?! Even this?! Excuse me?!” But, yes, even this, it’s true.

The back story will reveal why. When I first walked over to Allegro Dance Academy, just across the parking lot, I was showing up to take the summer Lyrical Dance class for adults. I was excited beyond belief. My husband had been gentle teasing me (with his sweet smile) about spending a week trying to decide what to wear! It was like I was in high school or something. “Will I fit in? Will I be able to keep up? Will I be the only one over 40?” One day I came out with my new dance pants and shirt on and, with arms raised like a cheerleader, asked, “How do I look?” to which he replied with that sweet smile, “40ish.” I mean, really, how cool is that!

But: Class cancelled. Low enrollment. I would have to wait for fall. But what did happen that day was that I had a long, wonderful, conversation with the owner of Allegro Dance, Jen, whom, it felt very clear to me, was someone who, though she had a very different background full of dance, totally resonated with what I was about. Heaven. I just knew I was in the right place.

Finally, the day of the first class arrived. Ready an hour early – there’s my husband’s sweet smile again – and then, out the door I went with my full body pulsing some combination of, “What the heck am I doing?” and, “Oh my God, I can’t wait!” Well, yes, it did look like I was the only one over 40 but most of the other women were middle aged and of varying shapes and sizes. But what I discovered in that first class was that lyrical dance was a combination of ballet, modern and jazz. The ballet I knew but not the modern and jazz. I also discovered that, because all the women in the class had been doing lyrical dance for a while, things went very fast – at least for me. So, after the first class, I asked my teacher, Christine (wonderful teacher!), briefly about private lessons and, the next day, decided to send an email to both her and Jen explaining what it was I was looking for and why. In part, the email read:

“I am looking to learn modern and jazz techniques, to integrate with my knowledge of ballet to, eventually, create my own a kind of liturgical dance language that can be used for both personal as well as spiritual exploration. Eventually, I would like to create a sacred dance ensemble.”

Okay, I confess it made me chuckle a bit thinking how this might be received. After all, this a dance academy, not a church or related spiritual organization. As it turned out, my teacher, Christine, was not available during the day. And, I could imagine most of the other teachers, from their bios, scattering for cover exclaiming, “What?? Not me!” And it did appear that no match was going to surface until one of the teachers did email me to set something up. “Probably, the one with the least seniority,” I mused. I had secretly hoped Jen would offer as I had read from her bio that she had, years ago, co-founded and was the choreographer for the Holy Cross Dance Ensemble. But I just knew she had her hands full with running the place.

And so, last night came and somewhere between the chaines and a jazz move down I went before I even knew what had happened. Seeing my deformed wrist, even in shock, I knew it had taken the fall (no pun intended). So, lying in emergency with my arm suspended, fingers in suction cups, wrist numbed (thank God), and watching the doctor massaging it back into its normal form, I began to let the full gravity of what had just happened seep in. And, it made my heart stop – not for what had happened – but for what hadn’t. A 69-year-old, with a hip replacement falls hard on the floor…if I had come down on my hip replacement side, I would have been put completely out of commission for many months – no teaching, nothing. And I could have injured my other hip, my back, my head. No doubt, it could have been devastating. So, to walk away (literally) with only a broken wrist, on my left side, began to feel, to me, like nothing short of a gift of Grace.

But there was more Grace to come. The next morning I had a long talk with Jen. I told her I wanted to continue my contract with Allegro but that, on my return, wanted to concentrate on private lessons, reiterating some of what I had put in my email, before returning to a class. And, without skipping a beat, she offered a day and time she would be willing to work with me. Suddenly, my heart just leaped! As many of you have often heard me say…We are all given to one another in the most perfect way and time. How joyous it is to imagine all the ways in which we will gift one another.

The whys and wherefores of Grace are way beyond my understanding. I just know that, today, instead of feeling discouraged that all that joy I had felt from just imagining returning to dance was evaporating in the wind like some old woman’s dusty dream, I am feeling like a dancer, who’s future is full of imagining and possibility.

In the meantime, I am saying my prayers with my prayer rope waking and sleeping and sending all my love into my wrist with unbound gratitude. I am saying to it, “Just imagine all the beautiful movements we will do together in honor of our human journey and in praise of our God. And you, my beautiful wrist, will have so much to share as we, together, peel away the deeper lessons of this journey over time. I love you. And as we heal, let’s remember that sweet joy that sent us skipping across the parking lot, for we, not in spite of, but because of, this fall, will soon move into the ever deepening caverns of the heart to reveal the treasures there yet unknown…for we, you and I together…my most beautiful wrist…

are dancers.”



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14 responses to “An Unexpected Gift of Grace

  1. Deborah

    Oh, Stephanie. Please accept my heart felt wishes for your speedy healing. Honestly, who else but you would be joyous on this occasion. ♥️🌹

  2. Nancy Walker

    DEAR Stephanie, Yet again, you remind us that blessings are unconditional. Thank you for your inspiring wisdom, dear friend. May your heart continue to dance as your wrist … (dare I say it?) … takes a break. Love all around you!

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      My dearest Nancy…I love your humor!!! Yes, my heart is still dancing…in no small part because of you in my life…I so appreciate you!!!

  3. Julie

    Yes, my sweet teacher of life, heal quickly and dance to your hearts content.

  4. Dear Stephanie you always have such a positive outlook on everything! Thank you for being a wonderful role model for all of us. And thank you for helping us hold all of life… the joy and the muck. Love you!

  5. Ahjan

    I hear your heart joyously leaping like those stories of dance class in Hawaii!

    Your story can land in any of us in so many different ways.
    I could potentially hear my own little dark force sitting on my shoulder saying, “see, I told you you were too old, too heavy, too___” My continuous lesson, “who am I to ___, who am I not to?” sheds a light on my journey still. Thanks for sharing ! And heal up! Grace be with you!

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      Thank you dearest Ahjan…how wonderful you remembered my dance class in Hawaii…:) So true, “Who am I not too?” Love you!

  6. Melissa

    Stephanie, I am so sorry that your return to dance has been delayed a bit further. Not the way I’m sure you expected it to go but it most definitely was a blessing I disguise. I’m sure your hip is thanking your wrist. Keep the healing going and get back to the studio as soon as you can.


    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      Hi Melissa, I love your “I’m sure your hip is thanking your wrist.” I can imagine so! Thank you for joining the conversation…!

  7. Dearest Stephanie,
    Thank you for sharing the joy of grace and gratitude in times of challenge. You are an inspiration to me. Having broken my wrist I know the journey and you will be back dancing soon. Prayers are winging you way, and kisses!
    Love, Carol

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      Thank you, dear Carol, for all your kind words, prayers and kisses:) You are very dear to me:) Love you:)

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