The Dude and the Dancer

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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I had been a highly partisan spectator for three days, watching my daughter play volleyball in Tampa, Florida. Her team was heading for the finals on Sunday. Sadly, I had to catch the last flight back to Houston on Saturday night.

I had two hours to kill before my flight. I drove toward the bay and parked at the end of the road at the edge of the dunes with a good view of the water. My mission was to watch the sunset. I sat on my rental car anticipating a great show. I was still in the spectator mode.

My solitude was disrupted by a guy in a truck. He parked next to me. He had 2x4s in the back of his truck. I tried to ignore him, but he addressed me with the universal greeting, “Hey, dude.”

I replied, “Yes, dude?”

He told me that a family was stuck in the bay. The boat was aground. He was going to take his 2x4s and pry the boat free. Otherwise, the boat would be stuck all night until the next high tide. I was barely paying attention. Then he said, “Dude, I need your help.”

I guess I had nothing better to do. I shifted from the spectator mode. I took off my shoes, grabbed some lumber, and followed the dude. We ran across the dunes and into the bay where the boat was stuck. We began to pry. It was not easy. One hour and twenty-eight minutes later, my hands were bloody, the rest of me was sandy, salty, and sweaty, and the boat was free. I missed the sunset, and I was about to miss my plane.

They never even had a chance to thank me. When I realized the time, I dropped my board, ran back through the water and across the dunes, sped to the airport, returned the car, cleared security, and ran to the gate. I was the last guy in line to board the plane and the most odiferous. I found an empty row near the back and settled in.

Moments later, another passenger boarded. She walked past two dozen open seats, and stopped at my row. “Is anybody sitting here?” She was pointing to the empty seat next to me. My solitude was disrupted again. She sat down before I had a chance to answer. She was young, probably not much older than my oldest daughter.

I was looking out the window, at nothing. She touched my arm, and said, “You have nice muscles.” I was a bit disconcerted, but I had to respect her appreciation for steroid free middle-aged muscularity. She kept talking. She asked me a few questions (“Are you a Marine or something?” – a question apparently inspired by my homemade haircut), and then she turned to her own story.

She told me that she was a “dancer” in a local gentleman’s club; that the money was good, but the lifestyle was killing her; that she was running from an abusive boyfriend; that she had been molested at 13; that she wanted to make a fresh start, but was stuck. Now she had my full attention.

I told her about the boat, the dude, and the lumber. I told her that she was the boat, created for the freedom of deep water but stuck in the mud. I pulled a Bible from my back pocket, and showed her some verses about Jesus and his lumber, the Cross. She asked me if Jesus could forgive her, give her a fresh start. I showed her 2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

We kept talking. Finally, as the plane approached Houston, we prayed. She trusted Jesus as her Savior. I thanked God for using the “dude” and the “dancer” to disrupt my solitude, for calling me out of the spectator mode, for giving me the privilege of participating in His relentless Kingdom.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18).