The atmosphere exploded with music and laughter.
Dancing lights mimicked the forms of my classmates who effortlessly defined fun
while I clung safely to the edge of the room.
There was an ache in my heart.
A fear that I was missing out on something, yet my timidity trumped curiosity every time.
At a dance, at a party, in any room with more than a handful of people the “wallflower” in me came out.
Was this my destiny? Did wallflowers ever get to dance in real life?
Fast forward twenty years.
She sat in the center my living room floor, yet deep inside she was clinging to the edge of the room.
The night was filled with laughter, but not one smile escaped from her.
It hadn’t been that long ago, my teeth chattering loudly, I edged away from the wall.
(This was brought to my attention by a well-meaning friend to commend my progress).
It was scary and very public, but it wasn’t about me.
We were doing a news interview to invite teen girls to an upcoming conference.
That’s when I realized passion for them trumped getting in front of a camera.
“Rock, paper, scissors”
I had read that your calling is defined by what you are passionate about.
But, my passion was calling me out to the center of the dance floor.
Was it scary? Of course!
Did I look foolish? Sometimes.
But, as I ventured out more and more,
For the first time in my life,
I didn’t feel like I was missing out.
I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.
I had eased away from the wall to coax other wallflowers to the dance floor too.
Wallflowers hide in the dark. They will never bloom unless they come into the light.
I invited her into the conversation by asking her about her dreams and goals.
With a timid fear in her eyes she hesitantly and vulnerably shared with the other girls in the room.
And then she laughed.
A nervous laugh, but a laugh.
And the whole room erupted in joyous noise.
Tears sprang to my eyes.
Tears of joy.
Tears of knowing.
Tears of hope.
Are you clinging safely to the edge of the room in your life right now?
Is there something, someplace you are aching to step out into,
but you are afraid?
I’ll be honest, it is scary on the dance floor.
People stare. Some may judge and talk behind your back.
You may get rejected,
You may look foolish, or you might look great!
Or, you just may find your passion and a whole room full of people that embrace you for exactly who you are.
As a reformed wallflower myself, let me just extend my hand to you –
and welcome you onto the dance floor where your greatest adventure awaits.