Yesterday I found a picture of Ben and Shalene Ermis from the US National Championships (at which they won their 2nd Smooth title and won the 9-dance competition!). I love to see pictures of the pair, as well as to watch them teach and dance. You can see their love and passion for dance, and for each other, in pretty much every move. Just from brief observations I learn quite a bit. I don't watch their lessons for very long because, in my mind, that would be stealing. (I'm not paying for that time, and I shouldn't try to pick up on what they are teaching at that given moment.) But every now and then, I hear or see something that catches my attention, and I watch for a moment.
I looked at that photo for a while and thought, Wow... I've been at the studio almost a year now, and I've never spoke to Shalene more than just a brief greeting in passing or an apology when there is a collision on the dance floor. I wonder if she even notices me.
Anyway, Todd starts off my recent lesson by telling me how many people have been coming up to him and telling him how great they think my hair looks. They love the color and think it is really becoming. I say thanks and we get to work.
About 15 minutes in, Shalene comes and says, "May I interrupt, Todd?"
I'm thinking it is something business related, what with the competition coming up and all.
She looks me straight in the eye and says, "I wanted to tell you that I see how great you are doing. You are looking SO GOOD. I can see how your waist is slimming up and how your dancing has improved so much over the last few weeks. You look amazing. Truly amazing. You must feel so much better. I am so happy for you." This was said with typical Shalene enthusiasm and passion.
I thought I was going to cry and in my head I said, Thank You, God, for hearing me! and to her I said, "Thanks" and gave her a big hug. Shalene's been watching me... and my dancing is actually watchable! *jumps up and down*
Todd said that the unsolicited compliments are such a boost: encouragement to me as the student and to him as the teacher (his peers are recognizing that he's doing something right). He said, "You work and work, and you wonder if anyone is noticing and then something like that happens... it really helps people see the benefits. It feels good for me. I can't imagine how you must feel."
There are times when I pray, I feel as though it is into a void. I don't see any fruit (that is one of the challenges to those called to prayer ministry: we pray and pray and may never see the result of that prayer on this side of heaven). God seems so distant and silent. I begin to wonder if He's listening at all. And then... *boom* something I desperately needed to hear from someone I respect and admire, is His answer to me.
God isn't only listening - He's answering. It may not seem like much of anything to you, but it means the world to me.