There is something about beauty that is inviting and inspiring. I can find it in just about anything…except maybe ugly possums with their beady little eyes and razor sharp teeth.
Beauty can open up a soul and send it soaring into the heavens.
I feel that way about ballerinas. Such beauty in their graceful movements.
I’ve never been to a ballet, but I remember watching the Miss America pageant of 1995 where I caught a glimpse of beauty as Heather Whitestone danced a ballet recital for the talent portion of the competition to the song Via Dolorosa. As she twirled in rapid succession, tears streamed down my face. I was enraptured by the beauty.
If you were not around to watch the pageant, you might not appreciate the beauty unfolding in this scene. You see, Heather Whitestone was profoundly deaf at that time. She had 120 decibel hearing loss in her right ear and 90 decibel hearing loss in her left. She was deathly ill at 18 months old. The antibiotics the doctors gave her left her with the terrible side effect of hearing loss. She wore a hearing aide which helps with the sounds of high tone and pitch. With it she can hear sirens, thunder, music, and the telephone. But she still can’t listen to talk radio and she depends on closed-captioning for watching television. Reading lips is something she also learned to do to help her to have conversations with those not hearing impaired. The hearing aid open the door for her to ballet. She can vaguely hear the music with the help of the hearing aid, but what also helps her as she dances is the vibration of sound. Without the hearing aid, she hears nothing.
I remember hearing about this woman before the Miss America pageant and felt compelled to watch it though I hardly ever watched the pageant before. At the close of ceremony when the winner was announced to be Heather her fellow contestant had to turn and point to her and mouth, “YOU WON!” Heather’s jaw dropped in surprise as she was hugged by the other ladies and the former Miss America pinned the crown on her head. It has got to be the most memorable moment of all the Miss America pageants!
I bought Heather’s book, Surprised by Joy, years later after she won Miss America. In it she encourages everyone to trust God with their dreams. She speaks a little about her own personal testimony dealing with her deafness and how God brought to pass many dreams for her. One of those dreams included being able to dance before millions.
I can’t imagine living life in total silence. Even silence for the hearing is not all that silent. As I sit here typing, I hear the tapping of my fingers against the keyboard, the low hum of my laptop, and outside the motor of a car passing by. For Heather, even with her hearing aid, she would not be able to pick up those sounds.
Which is why what Heather was able to do on that day in 1995 in her pointe shoes was truly breathtaking! She gives all the praises to God for giving her the ability to reach her dreams to dance before millions, though she was never able to become a professional ballerina. Her inspiring beauty outside and inside challenges me to pursue all the dreams God plants in my heart.
My friend, may you also be inspired to pursue the dreams God has for you! He will be your strength to enable you to run after those dreams in your heart. Open your heart to Him and allow Him to surprise you.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19
Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5
Click here to take you to the youtube video of Heather’s ballet performance.
Click here if you would like to view the announcement of the Miss America 1995 winner, and grab some tissues! 😉
You are reading a series from Coffee for Your Heart as inspired by Holley Gerth. If you would like to participate along with Holley to pour out love and encouragement to others, please visit her site at http://holleygerth.com/coffee-for-your-heart-love/