Everything in me wanted to tell little sister that she simply couldn’t come. This dance class was for big girls, and she didn’t belong there.
It wasn’t a lie, right?
But it wasn’t the Truth, either.
With each step I took—as nanoseconds raced, and time would not slow down, and the end of the hallway was nearing—the question became louder:
Why can’t little sister go to big sister’s class?
What was the real problem here?
I approached the end of the hallway. To my left, big sister sitting on her bed in tears, her angry, hurt eyes piercing into me. To my right, little sister curled on her floor, big eyes pleading with me. I stood in the middle of the hallway, and opened my mouth to them both.
“Look. We are always in the middle, okay? We are always better than some and worse than others. We’ll always do something better than someone else, and worse than someone else. There will always be someone to look up to, and there will always be someone to help along the way. That’s the way it works, that’s the way it is, and that will never change.
“Big sister, you don’t think little sister wishes that she could crack a home run the way you do, or that she could color the way you do? Create art on her walls like yours? Someday, maybe, but she looks at the way you color …”
“And the way you paint …” pipes in little sister, whimper-like from her bedroom.
“Better than some, worse than others, we are all in the middle, and we will all always be. So, should she stop coloring then? Because someone—you—are better at it?”
“Big sister, you aren’t in that dance class to beat out anyone. You are in there for you. To do what you do, and improve where you need, and enjoy what you are doing. Are you better than some, worse than others? Yep. And if all that you can see is that someone is better at something than you, then you will always feel …
“You see little sister achieving at something, and that hurts you? That takes something away from you? Okay, I’m your Mom, I recognize your hurt—but here’s where I’ve gotta stop you, I’ve got to teach you, both of you.
“If you go around feeling outshined
by somebody doing something better than you,
then You. Will. Never. Shine.
You will never be able to see your own light,
because you’ll always sulk in someone else’s shadow.
“You see? You will miss out on growing and being able to see all of the journey, not just yours but all of the people around you trying to be the best that they can be. Better than some, worse than others, and growing … Little sister, you are better than some and worse than others, and growing, right?”
“Big sister, you are better than some and worse than others, and growing, right?” When I asked her, and locked eyes with her, I could see … that … she … was … growing—I didn’t give her a chance to respond.
“Now. You two are sisters, bound together by our family and God. I’m getting in the van. Who’s going to dance class tonight?”
And I suppose I’ll never know exactly what took place between the two of them after that. Me? I spun around, and high-tailed it straight to the van. (Just breathe ...)
They came out of the house—together—and the three of us went to big sister’s dance class.
And, oh, did they shine that night! It was a soul-stretching kind of night, and a dance class of high fives and giggles between sisters, growing ... and learning.
P.S. Not many responded when I asked, “What would you have done?” Can’t blame you—agreed—it was a long walk down a short hallway of Life, no doubt. But one wise mama of sisters who I’m blessed to know offered this on FB, I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did: “Not sure. My girls still fight. Sarah broke Crystal’s nose once. They are still also the best of friends.”
P.S.S. Because life is stranger than fiction, and more Brutiful (right, Glennon? Life is both beautiful and brutal, Brutiful?), something else happened at that dance class that night where my sisters danced from their hearts, together. Something … weighty.
Keep your eyes open for JEN’S ZEN ~ “Weighty”.