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The time that Jill and I stopped traffic at West Town Mall.

February 15, 2017

1a1My wife Jill and I were walking through West Town Mall in the winter of the early 1990s with a lot of things weighing heavily on our minds.  I was changing careers, our house needed to be sold, and Jill’s fibromyalgia was escalating in alarming rapidity.   I did a lot of worrying; our future seemed uncertain and even tenuous, especially in the area of finances.  We sought the Lord’s directional signal but had not had any green light that was clear enough to follow with settled assurance.  Finally, we took a one-day break.  Exhausted, we walked through the mall, not intending to buy anything, really – we just needed to escape a fit of cabin fever, get out of the house and clear our heads.

We were silent most of the walk through Sears and the pet store.  My mind began to relax as we passed through the crowded hallways.  We took a collective breath as we were strolling past Barney’s coffee shop and Yankee Candle, and we didn’t even chat at that point; we knew each other’s thoughts.  God was going to take care of us – He always had, and no matter what lay ahead, we would be okay.

We walked through the Food Court and looked to the left.  A small piano and organ company had set up shop at that time, and they had some sort of a jukebox apparatus that filtered music out into the mall’s walkway.

I started and met Jill’s eyes.  She broke into a wide smile.  The strains of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” caught our ears – our song!

Jill looked at me as I stopped in the middle of the mall traffic and took her hands.

She never argued as I took her close.

And slowly danced with her.

The funny thing is, I don’t even know how to dance.  But I tried.

The foot traffic stopped.  We didn’t care.

As I slowly swung her around I caught a glimpse of a young African American couple moving near us.  The twenty-something young man gathered his wife into his arms and joined us, quietly dancing nearby.

An elderly man did the same, taking his delighted wife’s hand and moving onto the “dance floor.”  Before the third stanza, there were five couples all slow-dancing in the hallway of the mall.  The foot traffic slowed, and many stopped to watch.  Nobody said anything.  Perhaps we were all quietly lost alone in our own moments there, each couple.  I was actually quite surprised that the onlookers remained silent as we all danced.

As we finished, the shopping crowd politely applauded as each couple smiled to the other dance couples nearby.

And we then smiled to our partner.

And then we slowly melted back into the crowd.

And Jill and I held hands the rest of the afternoon.  Nothing else needed to be said.

Except that I knew I loved her even more than ever.

 

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