The music pulsates in my ears before I reach the door, the bass muffled. I enter the auditorium and find myself enveloped by black with swirls of magenta, electric orange, lime green, and neon yellow—an After Dark computer screen saver come alive on the outskirts of Memphis.
Electronica booms; a flash of hot pink darts past me. My heart bounces in the rhythm shooting from the speakers. As my eyes adjust to the dark I see them, the children I love, spinning glow-in-the-dark wands in every direction.
Torrential rains pushed our kids indoors the last night of our church retreat. In a stroke of genius, unjustly common for these two dads, Chris and Josh throw a dance party. With fluorescents off and music on, the glow-in-the-dark necklaces intended for the campfire become disco lights.
When “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Lewis plays in heaven, it will be because Josh Spickler is DJ-ing a rave for 3-9 year olds waving neon jewelry. This is heaven, I think. Right here.
Every inch of the room is dance floor. A mom sways, holding her bobbing 4-year-old son’s hands. Boys and girls giggle; they flit about on glow-dance runs. Adults groove, too, and thankfully the darkness hides my awkward cavorting. “Gangum Style” plays and this is the first time I almost like it. Time suspends.
The music stops. Chris flips on the lights.
“Neighborhood Church kids, this is the last song and then we have to get ready for bed.” Chris uses his fatherly tone to bring us down from levitation.
Preventing a revolt, DJ Josh re-directs. Hand cupped to his ear, he calls out to the little people, “How are you feeling?”
“HAPPY!” they cheer. Pharrell’s “Happy” launches and it is black again.
The kids are wild with exuberance. Maybe we all are. We dance in the dark with our neon orbs and I press the memory into my eyes. I hope we are teaching our kids to feel the sacred in the whimsical. I pray they respond to Jesus’ invitation into the Kingdom of Light and realize, sometimes, it actually glows.