Dancing in a Broken World


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.


3 thoughts on “Dancing in a Broken World

  1. Don Kuiper

    Thanks for the photos of the dance and your post about the broken world. A quick thought of mine was to change the title to “Dancing in a Broken World”. Yes, we do live in a very “broken” world, but we are also all out on the dance floor of this world. So, dance! We must do what we feel God is calling us to do. We must also love the LORD, our God, with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. That is the hard part.

    Ugh…very heavy, and not meant to be critical.

    So, you reminded me of a date I had in high school (1965) with our foreign exchange student from France. We went to a theater production put on by the school. I can’t remember anything about the play, but I do remember her name (Odile), and that she was not tall. Your picture with Lucie reminded me of that long-ago event.

    Keep up on the Finnish and write more often. Don


    1. You’re welcome 🙂

      I like your idea! I’ve updated it.

      Indeed, we must. To continue the allegory, one could say that following the choreography results in a more beautiful presentation; and if you dance with someone, it’s easier and more beautiful if you both follow the steps.

      Hm, very interesting.

      Will do. Thinking of topics can be difficult for me; I like to write meaningful or purposeful things, and it’s not too often I come across something that meets that criteria. I’ll see if I can think of anything interesting or meaningful to share that I may not have noticed so far.

      Have a good day!


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