About a week ago, on February 17th, we had the Wanhat dance at school. It was a performance of the dances that we had learned in dancing class over the past term. The dance is a tradition in Finnish high schools, going back to the 60s at least. (My host parents took part in it when they were young) It is somewhat similar to the Prom in the US, although this has more of a formal emphasis and isn’t so much a party. I have some pictures, courtesy of my host father:
Additional pictures can be found on the school’s Facebook page: https://tinyurl.com/Wanhat2017
There were about 120 couples in total. In Finnish, our dances were: Teinipoloneesi, Pas D’Espagne, Do-Sa-Do Mixer, Valse Mignon, Tango Jealousie, La Chaconne, Jiffy Mixer, Fireman’s Dance, Kahden Kiven Matka, Salty Dog Rag, Wienervalssi, and a dance created by the students. My favorite was the tango, although I liked all of them. I find formal dancing very enjoyable. I’m very happy I was able to take part in this performance. I think I shall remember it well.
I believe some people are working on making a video of the performance, although I do not know when it will be finished. If or when it is, I will put it up on the blog.
After the excitement from the dance, we had a couple days break with the weekend, then started back into school normally. Wednesday I became sick, and decided to stay home. I’ve been here since then. I’m in good spirits though; sickness doesn’t usually get me down.
I’ve had time to think as I’ve been home here.
For context, in the past years and months I have come to know those things of reality which carry weight, those things which parents protect their children from: the horror of war, the void of depression, the terrible, unspeakable sins people commit, the greater passage of time and our meaning in it, and so on. I feel them pressing down on me whenever I am at a large gathering of people, and in the greatest communal moments of life. I also feel them in the moments of peace, when everyone is resting. They make me value and wish to protect the good things in the world more.
Through various experiences and relationships, I have come to see that every thing that people look for pleasure or satisfaction in, in this world, is broken. People, parties, events, experiences, activities, food, relationships; it’s all cracked, like a mirror hit with a hammer. I have known this to an extent for a long time, but in the past week, the last things on Earth which I still believed to be capable of satisfying me were shown to be broken. I saw that there was nothing left in the world that I could hope to be satisfied by. The world seemed empty and dark, black and formless. For a tiny moment, I considered wanting to be in heaven. It seemed as though there was nothing to live for, all the good things were no longer perfect.
The feeling only lasted for a moment, then it was gone. I feel as though God wants me to keep on doing things here, for him. He has given me some spark in my heart which keeps me from depression. I need not despair because the world cannot satisfy me; God is my strength and my satisfaction.
So, I continue on in this world. I am happy to take small moments of joy, small reflections in the pieces of the cracked mirror, such as they are found, but I know that this world has nothing for me. I am only visiting here for a time; my final destination is heaven, my true home.