Dancing With My Friend, King David

by Bryan Ruby, Bethel Christian Writers

Scene One

Opening Night Jitters 

The evening had finally arrived when I walked into the 5:00 call for volunteers at 4:50 p.m. It wasn’t a surprise to find the foyer and auditorium already abuzz with excitement—Night to Shine was upon us.

Hundreds of archway balloons waited along with enough glitter and glitz from posters, streamers, and photo ops to make King Charles’ coronation blush.

In less than an hour, guests with special needs (ages 14 and up) would pour in by cars, vans, and dial-a-rides to be escorted in for one unforgettable evening.

The front of the auditorium had turned into a maze of tables with forms, name tags, tee shirts, and check-off sheets for each volunteer’s location—buddies, red carpet, food, games, makeup, and limo. 

This was opening night behind the curtain with a final locker-room pep talk by Tim Tebow’s virtual self. Adrenaline pumped through the screen infusing our two hundred-plus hearts with anticipation. With an inspired prayer, it was show-time.

Scene Two

Pom Poms Full of Sparks

The air was electric with a sensation of our forty-eight pom poms full of sparks settling around the archway. The crowd erupted with cheers as high school students from Fellowship of Christian Athletes escorted the evening’s royalty down the red carpet.  

One by one. Couples. Many with family members or caregivers. They kept coming until 169 guests would be crowned kings and queens for the evening.

Sometimes words and even candid shots aren’t enough to describe something in real-time. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Not tonight. How can you translate the magic that happens when a guy passes by in a wheelchair and reaches out to give you an exuberant high-five? 

Or the shy smile of a young woman decked out in a sequin gown as she walks by with leg braces . . . giving the crowd a subtle wave. You could never top that even on The Academy Awards red carpet.

As guests passed under the archway, they were matched with their evening buddies. Coat checks, sign-ins, crowns, makeup for the ladies and shoe shines for the guys, and their professional photo snapped and ready by the end of the evening. 

The fun began with Karaoke, bingo, coloring tables, limo rides, and more.

But early in the evening, many would be drawn down the long corridor toward the sound of pumping music. 

Scene Three

Dancing With My friend, King David

The Hub was the favorite hangout for most of the Night to Shiners. And by far, the loudest. It literally rocked with live DJ music as the Hub turned into Dance Central. Add pizza, drinks, and cookies, and the party was on.

As dance floor hosts, this was our land and we were ready to jump in when a king or queen needed a partner. 

That’s when I saw him. “Do you remember me from last year?” I shook his hand as his smile turned down toward my name tag. It had flipped backward on my lanyard. He turned it around . . . adjusted it so it was perfectly straight . . . and studied me as though he were tracing my face.

Then the magic happened again. King David gripped my hands, threw back his head and laughed, and I laughed until my cheeks ached. It just doesn’t get any better! 

Oh, and by the way, King David loves to dance and has an affinity for playing air guitar. So, whenever we danced that evening, we jammed the best air guitar ever! 


The DJ played his last song at the stroke of 9:00 p.m. We were four hours into it and all danced out and played out. Most of us anyway. The kings and queens headed back to where the evening had begun—the red carpet, where 169 swag bags awaited them full of souvenirs from their Night to Shine. 

Where was Jesus in all of this? In the fingerprints left behind from exuberant high-fives. In the subtle waves and shy smiles. And in the pure laughter of our treasured brothers and sisters.