Let’s Dance

A dark-haired beauty in a Spanish flamenco dress as red as the rose clutched between her teeth stands mid-stage, arms looped one over her head, the other at her hip. “Bailen, mis niños,” she says.

“Who is this?” Hope says in a voice just low enough to be missed by our Substitute Teacher.

“I don’t care,” Irreverent Student says as he stands. “She’s not my teacher.”

“Oh, how good,” Substitute Teacher says in her broken English. “Come, dear boy. I need a lead.” She floats her arm toward him, expecting him to take her hand.

He blushes. “Um, no ma’am. I’m not a dancer.” I’m impressed that he just didn’t walk out without a word of explanation.

Vamos, mi amor.” Her tap shoes clatter rhythmically in a tap-tap-click with each step down the marble steps. “Oh, maybe you don’t understand, my love.”

“This is not a dance class,” Irreverent puts his hands behind his back, avoiding her reach.

“But it is, my love,” she drops her head back and lets out a belly-jiggling laugh. “It is most definitely a dance class. Is this not a class on spiritual enlighten—”

She stops mid-word before turning to scan the room.

I don’t avert my gaze in time.

“You, my dear. Niña linda.” She floats her arm toward me. “Please, do tell me. What is this class?”

“Um,” I stutter for a few moments, trying to remember the class description from the school bulletin, but I can’t remember anything about it. Instead, I run through the lessons we’ve learned so far. “This is a class where we learn how to live life in order to reach our final goal.”

“And what is this final goal?”

“Well, many of us call it Heaven. Teacher calls it Home.”

Exactamente!” she screeches. “That is what I say, and to get Home, you have to learn to dance.”

Maestra,” Clever Clyde surprises us. “Una pregunta, por favor – One question, please,” he translates for us. “Where is our Teacher?”

She back-slashes the air as if this question is unimportant. “That is nothing. He has let me take over this lesson. That is all you need to know.”

I have visions of our teacher bound-and-gagged in some supply closet somewhere when, in a flash of light, he appears on stage dressed in black pants and a purple flamenco shirt with layers of purple and blue on the sleeves. He reaches an arm toward the Substitute Teacher and, with a chuckle, takes her hand and helps her back on stage.

“I suppose I should have introduced you as more than Substitute Teacher, but what need have they to learn our names?” He swings his arms around himself in classic Flamenco style. “I mean, if they can’t dance …”

The rest of his statement is lost in the music blaring rhythmic plucks of an acoustic Flamenco guitar. Then, Substitute Teacher’s feet start pounding out a new beat, her fingers clicking her bright red castanets.

Teacher raises his arms over his head and meets her tapping feet with his own.

This is so passionate.

When the dance is over and both teachers are winded and sweaty, they sit on the steps to address us.

“What was the lesson, dear students?” Teacher asks.

After much silence and occasional shuffling of feet, “That we should dance?” I say.

Substitute Teacher claps delicately as she approaches me, tempting me with a blood red rose. “And what does that mean?”  

“I don’t know, ma’am. Maybe that we shouldn’t sit it out in life?” And suddenly, I understand. “That we came here to do something, not to just stand around the dance floor and watch.”

Exactamente,” she cheers, handing me the rose then turning to Teacher. “Good job, Sebastian. These students are learning.”

Our Teacher’s brilliant blue eyes find me, “Good, my dear. You get an A-plus.”

“In summary,” Substitute Teacher dances back on-stage. “When you step out and play this game we call life, you win. You can’t win if you don’t dance!”

She makes one swift twirl and disappears, replaced by a brilliant red dragonfly. She meets up with Teacher’s blue-and-green dragonfly and both fly out of sight through the garden.

 

Class dismissed, dear friends. Now just go out and dance.

The Dragonfly’s Student

 

The Roadblock

The question came quite innocently.

“Why are you The Dragonfly’s Student?”

Have I not been clear? Have I not explained what my teacher does? Can my readers see the transformation?

Maybe not. Teacher is not usually clear in his lessons.

It was a summer day, or maybe it was autumn. It was my life before – my life as a frustrated schoolteacher. The windows to my classroom were open when I noticed a dragonfly had entered.

He seemed to be looking for his way back out. When I approached to help, he dropped into my hands. I carried him to the window and released him.

That was the first time I saw my teacher.

Since that day, everything has changed. Suddenly, I’m hearing Spirit more and feeling more focused. If I have questions, Teacher comes to me and answers them, in his own, inimitable way. If he wants to talk, he calls to me and I come.

And if he has a lesson, he brings me to the classroom.

Today, he has brought me once more.

 

“There are times when things don’t go the way we planned them,” he says. “There are times when the road we walk is blocked.”

“What road are you talking about, Teacher?” Clever Clyde asks. During the last few classes, I’ve realized how truly clever he is. Like an investigative reporter, he has been able to get more from our teacher than even Irreverent Student has with all of his shrewd comments. “Are you talking about the road to the Dairy Queen or the road we mapped out for ourselves? The road back home?”

“Clever,” Teacher nods, cupping his chin with a Bedazzled purple glove. “Trying to clear the muck of my lessons? Fine. Yes, I mean the road back home. Man, you’re taking the fun out of things.”

“What do you mean the road home?” Hope says, her voice now no more than a timid squeak. “Why do we need to go home? I thought our eternal goal is Heaven.”

“Heaven is home, my dear.”

Teacher nods and transforms the classroom into a primary school playground, his stage is a slide the starts past the clouds and over the rainbow.

Gripping the sides of the ladder, Teacher makes steady progress up the steps. “When we are born into this life, we meet with a committee of friends. We tell them what we want to accomplish with this upcoming life. Then, once the story of our new life has been mapped out, we start the casting call.”

Teacher stops about four feet above us and flicks his hand in Irreverent’s general direction. A couch appears behind him and he falls into the deep, blue cushions.

“No, there is no casting couch.” He chuckles at his own pun. “Everyone who volunteers finds a part in the cast.” He holds an old-fashioned megaphone to his lips. “The cast is made up of your friends, do you understand?”

My classmates and I are speechless at this Hollywood-like revelation of our lives.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” Teacher continues. “You must understand that some of them were cast to play your family, some your friends, and some play the antagonist in this movie that is to become your life. Sometimes, a bad guy will always be a bad guy. He (or she) may never be the soulmate you dream about.” He returns to his climb, mumbling to himself, “That soulmate thing is such a misnomer. Everyone’s a soul mate—

He hooks his leg through the rungs of the ladder and leans back. “Always go on with your road map. There are some amazing things coming up just around the corner. Maybe that love will come back to you later in this life, or maybe not until the next. Just have faith that the road will continue and the roadblocks will clear.”

“Why are you telling us this, Teacher?” Clyde approaches the slide and calls up to our disappearing teacher. “Are you saying that even God is blocked sometimes?”

“Really,” Irreverent pipes up, “’Cause if this guy’s saying God makes mistakes, then why the heck are we here? If our eternal road map can change at the drop of a hat, then why the hell does anything matter?”

A purple sequined top hat drops through a cloud and onto Irreverent’s head. He squirms to pull himself out of it while it speaks to us in Teacher’s voice, its bright blue lips floating just under the brim. “I never said God made mistakes. I said sometimes the road is blocked.”

Teacher’s voice booms down to us from above pink, fluffy clouds.  “Haven’t you ever taken a wrong turn when searching for an address? Sometimes a turn that feels wrong takes you to remarkable places you never expected.”

A cow bell clangs deeply and the clouds part enough to allow us to see what caused the sound. High above the tallest treetops, a bell floats alongside the top of the slide. Teacher waves his gloved hand toward us, the sequins catching a glint of the sun. He settles himself between the edges of the slide, crosses himself and lets go. His screams of glee follow him down until the slightly sloped slide launches him into a deep pile of feathers. He giggles, finally taking a solid breath before continuing the lesson.

“And, sometimes, the Big Guy clears the roadblocks in the most amazing way.” He turns to me. “One day he may open a window and a dragonfly flies in.”

 

Until next time, dear friends.

The Dragonfly’s Student

Making Decisions

“We all have questions about how we will die,” Teacher says. “Some go into life head-first, not afraid of the end. Others, however, live in fear, afraid of taking a step.”

Good Student, Hope, shoots her hand into the air. When he acknowledges her, “But what if we make a wrong choice? What if the step we take is going the wrong way?”

“Wrong choice? I don’t think you understand, my dear.”

She shakes her head, as if trying to get through the cobwebs.

“The only wrong choice is the one not made. You are on this plane of existence to make decisions. Taking a stand and making a choice. Not taking sides is like …” His voice wanders as he searches for something in his desk.

Then, “Got it!”

He dives his hand into the deep side drawer and pulls out a flat-topped, wide-brimmed blue bullfighter hat with purple tassles hanging off the brim. “Toro!” he declares.

He twirls on his stage and changes his clothes. Suddenly, he’s a flamboyant purple and blue matador de toros – a killer of bulls.

“Let’s say you’re in the ring, the angry-as-##ck bull pounding the ground and imagining ways to best gore you. Where do you go when he starts running?”

He leans over the desk of our newest student, Clyde.

“Tell me, young man, where do you go?”

“Um …. the other way?” he squeaks.

“A-ha,” Teacher says, turning from him, his hand caressing the non-existent beard on his clean-shaven chin. “So you choose to run away. That’s a choice.”

“Get a clue, Clyde,” says our ever-faithful Irreverent Student, “you run from a bull he’ll gore you in the ass. Clueless.”

“Now, Irreverent, do not judge. Your classmate Clyde has made a decision. What would you have done?”

“I wouldn’t have been there.”

“Not an option. What would you have done?”

“This is stupid.” Irreverent rotates in his seat, as if threatening to leave.

“Alright then. So while Clever Clyde over here runs for his life, you have decided to not decide. That’s a pretty easy decision for our friend, the bull, isn’t it?”

“That’s not fair,” Irreverent collapses deeper into his seat.

“What if we decide to stab the bull as it passes by us?” I ask, hoping for an option to standing still.

“Yeah, that’s what I’d do,” Irreverent perks up. “What Writer said.”

“That is one option also.” He walks away from my classmate, “But that was not your choice. That was hers. You have only decided to copy her.”

Speaking out in the defense of classmates who have chosen to follow others’ examples, “But isn’t that a healthy decision? One made on prior knowledge?”

“Trust you to find a loophole, dear Writer,” Teacher smiles, “but please understand that slow, thoughtful decisions sometimes come too late to make a difference. What if you decide to stab the bull after he’s gored you?”

He turns to the classroom.

“Please understand, dear students, this life is one of decisions. Every choice you make is the right choice for you at that time. Do not second-guess yourself. Do not doubt yourself.”

He makes a swoop of his arm, as if he’s ready to end the lesson, but the dragonfly continues to speak as the voice of our teacher booms from everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

“Have faith in your choices. Own them and accept them as your own. And believe that everything will work out for the best.”

The dragonfly alights on the edge of my desk.

“In the end, all will be as it should be. Your focus is your destiny, so focus wisely. That is the lesson I leave you with today.”

My classmates leave the room, believing class is over, but “We’re not done, are we, Teacher?”

I extend my index finger, onto which the dragonfly settles. His eyes, wide and clear, lock into mine, pulling me into their blue depths.

“As you make decisions, dear Writer, please understand one thing. Every choice you make is not made alone. You have an army of friends ready to follow you into the most difficult situations. We will carry you through the eye of the storm.”

“What friends, Teacher?”

“Friends you don’t remember.”

“And you?”

“And me.”

Class dismissed, dear friends.

The Dragonfly’s Student

It Is What It Is

“It is what it is,” Teacher says, stepping back from his creation, a structure made up of boxes and balls of varying sizes, a handful of flowers tossed in for good measure.

“But what is it?” Irreverent Student says what we’re all thinking.

“Oh, my. You don’t see it? Goodness.” He strolls around his stage, a hand draped over his chin, his other hand cradling an elbow. “You don’t? None of you?”

He skips down the steps, strolling around the seats in this classroom.

Slipping my sweaty palms under my legs, I try to avert my eyes.

“None of you, really?”

He approaches Hope, the model student, and my mood brightens. My joy doesn’t last.

She shakes her head. Teacher moves on to other classmates, who echo Irreverent and Hope until he has nowhere else to turn. “You, Writer. What do you see?”

What do I see? I consider backing out of this like my classmates. He knows I won’t.

“Um, I see …,” I glance toward Teacher before approaching the concoction on his stage. “I see what my classmates see, sir, but I also see more.”

I pick up one of the random flowers. “I see the beauty of this purple daisy. It’s more than just the flower. When I set it down on this cube, its lilac-tinted aura expands over this box. Because of this, what I see here is simply … beautiful.”

Looking past my classmates to our teacher standing at the back of the classroom, I wait.

“Perfect,” he says. “You may be seated.”

Great, I’m off the hook, but I’m still lost.

“This creation of mine is what it is, and to each of us it represents something else. Let us say this structure is your life.”

Irreverent injects himself into the discussion again, “That thing looks like one big piece of crap that’s just gonna come crashing down.”

Nodding, Teacher agrees. “Yup, I see where you might see that.” He pulls one red rubber ball from a corner of his structure and half of his construction clatters to the stage then down the steps to land next to our seats. “Oh, my goodness,” he says. “I guess that’s that.”

“What good came from that, sir?” Hope asks. “Your piece of work is ruined.”

Teacher turns to me. “Writer, is it ruined? Is that indigo aura still there?”

Unfocusing my gaze, I look for the aura that surrounds everything that lives. Past Teacher’s solidly purple and blue aura I focus on what remains of the structure. “Yes, sir. The indigo aura is still there.” Something catches my attention.

“In fact, sir, the indigo seems to cover more of the, um, building, than before.”

He seems amazed by that fact, then I realize I’m just playing into his plan.

“My children, let’s assume this structure is our lives – the boxes and balls are a hodge-podge of lessons and experiences, some more stable than others, the flowers are memories.”

He tugs at a small box. Nothing falls when he walks away with it in his hand.

“Sometimes, experiences destroy us while we take other experiences in stride, knowing we are stronger. What you need to realize is that there’s no going back. This structure will never again be what it was at the beginning of this class.”

He twirls his hands and a purple flower appears in his fingers. He sniffs at it. “Sweet,” he says as he hops off the stage and approaches me.  “What you see, therefore, is what you get, dear ones. If you expect to live a hard life, that is what you will get. It’s called the Law of Attraction. However, if what you expect is the sweet perfume of the lilac, that is what life will bring your way.”

He bows and hands the flower to me.

“Thank you for your participation, dear Writer,” he says.

“Hey, not fair,” Irreverent Student screeches. “I participated!”

Teacher smiles, nodding. “Yes, you did, dear Irreverent, but, what you don’t understand is that, even though you participated, your expectations remain the same.”

He holds open the door to the garden.

“If what you expect from life is crap, as you say, then ….” With a flourish of his arms, the tall man in the blue baseball cap disappears, replaced by a glorious blue and purple dragonfly.

“It is what it is,” Teacher says.

 

Class dismissed.

 

Until next class, dear friends.

 

Sincerely,

      The Dragonfly’s Student