Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Gifts

Strained calf was the verdict. A pain in the middle of my left lower leg hadn’t gone away for a week. “Things like this take a long time to heal,” the doctor said sympathetically. “What do you mean by ‘a long time’?” my voice shook. “3 to 6 months,” she paused to check for my reaction; I had already told her my plan. “3 months if you avoid aggravating activities.” The doctor really meant dancing.

“Not now…” I thought bitterly. No ballroom dancing for 3 months? Not now because I was to compete at the Yuletide Ball Championships in less than 3 weeks—my first event in such a scale. Also not now because I was starting a new showcase routine right after the competition. Of all dances, it was set to be a Jive.

Moreover, not now because this was very special time of the year. From the end of the year into the first days of the New Year, I felt a sense of magic. It was the time to clean up the surroundings and personal life, finish up undone works, neatly put things away, reflect, and send my gratitude. It was the time to make the room for the yet-to-come. When the last minute of the year ticks away, suddenly the world changes. A new year with no stains. A big, open book for me to write anything in. Freshness. Possibilities. But how would I find a magic if ballroom dance was taken away from me?

I left the doctor’s office with a heavy heart. Christmas songs played merrily outside. The New Year excited me, but Christmas was quite a different story. Living far away from my home country, this was one time in the year I felt awkward and alone. My heart sank heavier. Why now…?

Yet giving up was not my nature. No dancing for 3 months was simply unthinkable.

There must be another way. So I turned to my dance friends. With all trainings and experiences they had, somebody must have an answer for me. Some of them taught, performed, or competed extensively. They couldn’t just drop their dance. They must know what I could do, too.

In no time their concerns and supports poured upon me. They offered me advices and wisdom. They handed me remedies and names of doctors. They guided me in ways to continue my learning even if I was off the foot.

As their positive insights and well wishes lifted up my spirit, I felt less pain in my calf. I understood that the physical mechanism of my body had to take its own course to heal, but I also believed much of the ability to heal came from my mind. I diligently took care of my leg but was also determined to stay hopeful about the situation.

After all, 4 days of resting was all I needed before I was well enough to put my dance shoes back on. Was I misdiagnosed? Did the mind really heal the body? Or was it a magic of this special season?

Being able to dance again sure was a great gift, but there were much more. Before my injury, I was getting a pre-competition anxiety. I craved to dance with calmness of still water, but so many teachings from my instructor and coaches overwhelmed my head like rapping waves. It was so a delightful change that I was too happy to think too much when the leg pain went away. I was simply enjoying dancing, and it was such a sweet feeling.

Another gift was being reminded how much I have been blessed with truly caring and giving friends. So much love surrounds me, yet I was feeling alone in this time of togetherness. How blind I was. How easy to loose the sight of treasures in my own hands. Now the Holiday sparkles smile at me, and I feel warm and cozy inside.

They say everything happens for reasons. My strained-calf scare turned out to be gifts of pure joy of dancing and loving friends who are so much of my life in America. Yes, I do believe in magic!


  1. And, after all, my Christmas this year turned out to be one of the best in many, many years. I was over at my dear friends, whom I met through dancing. Their house gleamed with candle lights and Christmas ornaments. The wife-and-husband team executed a gorgeous feast. With another guest, we played games, chatted endlessly, laughed uncontrollably, and shared some histories of our lives. The boys sang while doing the dishes. The girls settled with furry companions and a TV show set in Provence.... Time flew by. It was so special yet really comfortable and relaxing. I let out a deep sigh and snuggled into an warm embrace of the good world. Merry Christmas!

  2. Xmas Magis is on us! Congratulations on your fast recovery and remember... when dancing Waltz follow Santa example go down the chimney then out of the door.:-)(I got that from one of my dance coaches, Mr. Frank Regan)