Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly
Summer 2017 "COUNTER CULTURAL CHRISTIAN"
Here, I Stand
I can still see the hopeful mothers, sitting in the sun porch off the living room of the two-family house where I took ballet, tap, and acrobatics. “Young ladies, for the final part of today’s dance recital, please demonstrate to your guests an acrobatic routine, the spider or a headstand. You decide.”
I thought my dance instructor meant that.
The spider was very showy and popular with the rest of girls. It didn’t come as a surprise that my classmates chose to do the spider. But as the tallest girl in the class and the last one to perform that day, I decided to do something different. “I’ll do a headstand.”
It wasn’t hard to miss the disapproving expression on my teacher’s face. She asked if I didn’t want to do the spider like the other girls. Even with two clues that the option was not really mine, I politely replied I would like to do the headstand.
As I got into position, my teacher, who had helped to spot those who had done the spider, stepped too far away to spot me. That seemed odd.
She signaled me to begin. I made several, unsuccessful attempts, my legs crashing hard to the wooden floorboards. I heard a few mothers gasp, but instead of feeling embarrassed by their reactions, as I normally would, I pressed on.
Ultimately, the instructor helped spot me, the headstand finally stood, and the recital mercifully came to an end.
As we walked home, I explained to my mother (using the words of an 8-year-old, not these) how empowering it felt to do my best — even if it did appear to others I had fallen short. It felt so grown up to stick with the headstand decision and not to give in to the pressures to recant.
A few years later I learned about another individual who would not recant. That Christmas, my church gave us Sunday School students a book, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther. I adored the title, but the book was too hard for me to read.
It sits on my living room bookshelf, still unread. Not for long! This summer, I’m eager for the one who stood on her head finally to the meet the one who stood his ground.
Nancy Graf Peters, Editor-in-Chief