Unexpectedly profound advice courtesy of Ramon, the connection between love and dancing bind together different aspects of Shane and Oliver's relationship, tying them to something much bigger and from which we can learn a lot.
From the very beginning, dancing has been a feature of Shane and Oliver's relationship. They took to it without hesitation, and it's this effortless nature that seemed first to make Shane an attractive choice when Oliver was in need of a partner.
At their first formal lesson at the end of Soulmates, a hesitant Shane's concerns are eased by Oliver's encouragement, "Don't look down." But why does it matter?
When dancing, if one or both partners look down, they are more than likely focused on their feet---where they are, and what they should be doing next. This usually result in stepping on toes, poor posture and looking insecure or lacking confidence. Worse, one forgets to let the music tell them where to go. One loses sight of the dance as a whole, rigidly focusing on precise, measure steps which elude the dancer more and more as they attempt to focus harder and harder. And what usually prompts a dancer to look down? Fear---plain and simple.
This behavior is particularly troublesome in ballroom dance for the man, who traditionally leads. When he looks down, focused on the minutiae of a dance and it's steps, it draws his partner in the same direction, and trips them both up in a profound way.
What does this have to do with love? It's pretty simple, and it was actually something Martha shared in the comments of the One In A Million music post that brought the concept into focus.
If you listen carefully, and are familiar with the song, as Shane and Oliver are discussing dancing and lessons just before Michael and Sophia's performance, "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" can be heard playing in the background---in particular the section that includes the lyrics, "Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." Clearly, had Oliver taken his concerns to God in prayer when he stepped away for a time, perhaps he could have found the peace he needed to "remember the steps." In a way, Ramon's words, "Dancing is like love...don't look down," is Oliver's subtle reminder to do this.
It reminded me of how easy it is to have something not go our way, throw us off, or cause us to worry, taking our eyes off of God at the exact moment we should "look up" to him for help, to restore "love...power and...a sound mind." Millions of little chances to choose one path over the other occur every day, one usually leading to decisively more strife than if we had just taken it to God the moment it occurred.
Oliver and Shane's evening at Montaldo's, and what transpired in the days after, vividly demonstrate the consequences---the "needless pain we bear"---when we forgot one important piece of advice: "Don't look down." But when we choose love and a sound mind, "looking up" to God for help, it doesn't take long before we get our rhythm back.
Always Looking Up,