I just wrote an article for my parish, St. John the Evangelist, in downtown Indianapolis, giving my reflections on hosting a summer Zumba class for the parishioners there, but really, the general public as well.
After having a hell of a time finding anyone who would give me space, I was graciously given the parking lot of St. John's and had a blast leading Zumba for the last three months! What was verified about my faith journey was a complete surprise in front of a Zumba class, proving once again that God really isn't limited by anything.
Here's my little spiel..for what it's worth.
An Unexpected Unity in An Unlikely Place
St. Josemaria Escriva said, "Gluttony is the forerunner of impurity." Two years ago, this statement both shocked and convicted me a little and I started changing my eating and exercising habits almost immediately. Joining the local YMCA, I found Zumba fitness--this hyped-up, loud, dance party that the instructors claimed was exercise. Mixing many different movements of Latin dance and hip hop, simple, repetitive choreography was matched with popular songs and beats to make one amazing exercise routine.
After about a year of staying committed to going to Zumba classes and losing twenty pounds, I decided to take the plunge into becoming an instructor myself--something I NEVER dreamed for myself.
Through Fr. Rick and the St. John community's gratuitous support, I have been able to offer Zumba classes in the parking lot to our parishioners every Tuesday night this summer. We sweat. We got frustrated when we couldn't remember the moves. We may have almost passed out in the July heat. But most importantly, I discovered an unexpected unity from simply doing this task together. Even when it was difficult and we were tired, we danced together, holding each other accountable by simply not giving up.
And isn't that our call as a community of Christians? We stay together even when we don't like it, aren't enjoying the task at hand, or feel like giving up because we trust in the authority of the Catholic Church. We see the deeper joy of its members and want that for ourselves. So, we keep on.
In my interactions with the varying ages, races, and/or religions of those who participated in Zumba class this summer, I learned that the human heart longs for a place that promises fulfillment--with a community to take along on the journey.
It's a pretty amazing lesson for something as simple as an exercise class. But, thankfully, we've been graced to acknowledge Christ in the every day routine. He truly never abandons us and is offering us real, rich happiness, no matter the size of the event.