Sunday, May 22, 2011

Free From Judgement

As we are all still hanging around, and you are sitting there, reading my blog, we can only assume that the end of the world predicted for 6pm on May 21 did not occur.  Either that, or all of us are left behind and will be in for a hell of a bad time between now and October.  I guess we will have to wait and see.  As of now, I am assuming the Rapture did not occur, and we are all still stuck here on this planet, for better or for worse.
Our band banquet was last night, scheduled to begin one hour after the predetermined 6pm.  Despite the warnings, all the preparations went ahead: people bought tickets, asked dates, purchased dresses, did hair, and took time to look nice.  Our students trickled in, dressed to impress, ready to have a good time.
One student in particular had an amazingly good time on the dance floor.  Amongst the throng of uncomfortable boys unsure of their dancing skills, and the girls concerned with how they might appear to others, this particular girl said to hell with everyone else, I am having a good time.  She danced by herself.  She danced with boys.  She danced with girls.  She danced on the dance floor and off.  She danced while walking back and forth.  She shook what the good lord gave her (in an appropriate manner, of course).  She did all this while having no concern for the rest of our opinions.
Not our students.
It was impossible not to notice her enthusiasm.  While most of the kids danced at some point, and many of the kids danced the whole time, they were particularly reserved, taking no risks with their dance moves (risk defined as looking silly).  If they did dance silly, they made sure everyone in the area knew that silly was their intent, desperately determined to preserve their teenage self worth.  Not this student.  She took risks, pulling off dance moves others wouldn’t dare try.  I won’t say she looked good the entire time - some risks don’t pay off - but she did not care.
Not a political statement.  He is laughing.  
As we noticed, adults and students alike, there were quite a few giggles, laughs, and guffaws.  I will not pretend that I did not laugh - it was surprising to see someone so into what they were doing and not interested in what anyone else thought.  Some students imitated her, not out of an attempt to flatter, but to get a laugh from friends.  She kept on going, unreserved and unabashed.  
At the end of the evening, as the kids were gathering up their belongings and heading to the front, she stopped me as I passed by, apologizing for being so crazy on the dance floor.  I told her we were just glad she was having so much fun.  She smiled and left.  I felt bad for laughing.
It is a rare person who can stand up in front of a group and let it all hang out.  So many of us are concerned with self image, we refuse to let ourself out.  When we have an opportunity to do so, and have fun in the process, we hedge our bets, preferring safe conservatism instead of risk.  She was not that kind of person, refusing to conform to the opinions of others, throwing it in our faces with her enthusiasm and good time.  The fact that she had noticed our laughter and continued to dance, despite our judgement, is impressive.  She was free from judgement, despite its presence in the room.
As the world did not end yesterday, perhaps we have an opportunity.  While I know many people mocked the entire episode, myself included, what if the world had ended.  Regardless of your belief system, would you have been satisfied with your life and how you lived it?  If the instant after the world ended you and I were able to sit and converse about our existence, how much would we be able to talk about the things we were proud of?  Would we talk about the things we should have done differently?  Would we celebrate all the things we did right?  How would we judge ourselves?
While we are free from eternal divine judgement for the moment, I think it would be wise to consider how we would judge ourselves given the opportunity.  We should take a look at our actions and our thoughts, purge those which don’t belong and reward those which do.  Regardless of the eternal aspect, do this and you might guarantee at least a better existence during the time left here on the Earth.
Last night, my student was free from the judgement of others, as so few of us allow ourselves to be.  She was not concerned with what others thought, preferring to have a good time finding comfort in her own skin, satisfied with who she is.  The rest of us could certainly take a lesson.

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