Guided by an eye

A number of new, would-be Scottish Country Dancers have joined the class recently.  Will they keep coming?  Only time will tell.  Sometimes I think people are misled by the name and are expecting a sort of barn dance with Scottish music.  But proper Scottish Country Dancing is rather different, far more precise and disciplined with specific steps and figures to be learned.  Indeed, it is thought that the ‘country’ in the name is actually a corruption of ‘contre’, the French for ‘opposite’, and this particular style of dancing has its origins in dances of the French court.  Dancers stand opposite their partners to begin, and for much of the time will be at opposite sides or ends of the set.

So how can a new dancer make progress when they are on their own so much?  Well, if other things – such as a sense of rhythm or spatial awareness – are equal, those who make the most progress most easily are those who heed the teacher’s advice to keep their eye on their more experienced partner.  That way, they can be guided by a nod, a glance, a hand signal.  Sadly, sometimes it seems as though new dancers feel that that is an admission of defeat, or some sort of failure on their part, or they can manage quite well on their own, and so they dance, eyes down, locked stubbornly in their own little bubble – and then they go astray when they really need not have done.  And how frustrating for the partner who could and would have helped!

More experienced dancers are only too glad to make eye contact; they know full well how easy it is to go wrong, and how many times they have been saved by a smile or a gesture.  And, of course, that way they share the joy of a dance well danced!

We can be stubbornly locked in our own little bubble too.  But that is not the way the Lord would have us live.  He promises us:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.  Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.  (Psalm 32:8-9)

And how does that happen?  The Psalmist has the answer:

Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word.  Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law… (Psalm 119:17-18)

And then we can share His joy!


How blest is life if lived for Thee,

My loving Saviour and my Lord;

No pleasures that the world can give

Such perfect gladness can afford.


To know I am Thy ransomed child.

Bought by Thine own most precious blood,

And from Thy loving hand to take

With grateful heart each gift of good;


All day to walk beneath Thy smile,

Watching Thine eye to guide me still,

To rest at night beneath Thy care,

Guarded by Thee from every ill;


To feel that though I journey on

By stony paths and rugged ways,

Thy blessèd feet have gone before,

And strength is given for weary days.


Such love shall ever make me glad,

Strong in Thy strength to work or rest,

Until I see Thee face to face,

And in Thy light am fully blest.


Prust’s Supplementary Hymn Book, 1869