Ballet, Imagination, and Mythology

7 10 2008

I remember another thing about Anna that was a sign of her devotion to her Lord.  That is not the right phrase.  It is the sense that Anna existed in a different world—one very much closer to our Lord than we normally are in this world.  The thing I recall about Anna is her ballet practice.  She loved to dance and would do so with freedom and a spirit difficult to describe.  She was not the best dancer.  She seemed to have difficulty getting all of her limbs to do the things she had in her head.

 

But when I watched her I could always see those things going on in her head.  In one case in particular, there was an arm movement exercise the students did in which they made a circle with their arms, touching their fingers together in front of them.  They practiced moving their arms over their heads and then bringing them down to a lower position.  Whenever she brought her hands down to that final position, Anna would cock her head at an odd angle.  None of the other girls did that move, so I knew Anna was doing something on her own.  When she came to the side after practice I said to her, “Anna, you’re thinking of something when you bring your arms down and turn your head to the side, aren’t you?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“You’re thinking about holding a baby, aren’t you?”

 

“When I bring my arms down I just can’t help thinking what it is like to hold a little baby in my arms.”

 

Anna holding a baby during ballet practice was so typical of her life in two worlds.  When Anna began talking she used two different languages.  She used English with us and the language of Animal Planet when she was by herself.  One time she tried to teach us how to speak and write Animal Planet but she gave up because we weren’t very good students.  Her imagination has always been very fertile.  I think when she turned to the world of faith in Christ it became natural for her to believe.  It was similar to what C.S. Lewis said about Christianity being a true myth.  Anna knew well the world of myth.  In the Bible she discovered the true foundation of all myth—the real story of the creator and his dealing with the world.


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