My son was six years old when this song by Brandi Carlile came out. I am a huge Carlile fan, and was singing it at home one day, to my little adorable audience of one. I got to the lyric, “You can dance in a hurricane, but only if you’re standing in the eye.” My son looked at me, very seriously (as he usually is) and said, “Mommy. That would still be really dangerous.”
He wasn’t wrong. I mean, sure. If you have to be in close proximity to a hurricane, the eye is the safest place to be (though I doubt you’d feel like dancing). But if you had a choice, you’re probably going to choose a location as far away from the eye of a hurricane as you possibly can.
So, I looked at him and said, “You’re right. It still would be dangerous. It’s just a song, though.”
It isn’t just a song, though. It’s truth that a six-year old can’t grasp. The truth that sometimes you can’t even fathom the destruction around you because you are in the most optimal position to be aware but not affected by it. Because some destruction can spare you while you look on, and you are able to deny its power until the storm passes and you no longer have a boundary. There’s no more eye–just destruction around the little tiny island of safety where you once stood. And now you can see it. You can see all of it. And you wonder how you could have been so blind to it.
If he had been older, I would have explained it to my six-year old. But he wasn’t. He wouldn’t understand the end of the song, the last lyrics:
I am a sturdy soul
And there ain’t no shame
In lying down in the bed you made
Can you fight the urge to run for another day?
You might make it further if you learn to stay
Life is hard. There are storms everywhere, eyes in which to stand, and winds in which to lose yourself. There are momentary respites from the storms and plenty of opportunities for relief and rebuilding. But sometimes, in that eye, before the coming sorrow, it’s okay to dance. Just for a few seconds, before you assess the damage.