In Step


(Based on a true story)
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted (Ephesians 4:32).

“I forgot my sash!”

Erin looked across the dressing room to where a dark-haired girl named Dinah was frantically searching through her bag of dance costumes.

“I think I forgot to put it in,” Dinah moaned.

“Too bad,” Erin thought, pulling out her own carefully folded blue-satin sash—her favorite part of the costume. Mom had said that it brought out the blue of Erin’s eyes.

“What am I going to do?” Dinah was on the verge of tears. “There’s no time to go home and get it.”

Erin didn’t know Dinah very well. They lived in different towns and went to different wards and schools. But Erin could imagine how embarrassing it would feel to be the only dancer in the recital missing part of the costume. It would be hard to remember the dance steps if you thought everyone in the audience was staring at you and wondering why your costume was different.

Then Erin had an idea. She knew what she could do to help Dinah, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to do it. Erin silently prayed for strength to do the right thing. Then, with a sigh, she put the lovely blue sash back in her bag. “This is a group dance, not a solo,” she told herself.

Erin quickly explained her idea to the other dancers. She was relieved when they all agreed happily.

As the music began and they took the stage, their dance teacher, Mrs. Davis, gave them a quizzical look from the audience. The girls simply smiled at her and moved to the music. They performed the routine flawlessly.

Afterward, Mrs. Davis came backstage. “What happened to your costumes, girls?” she asked. “Weren’t you all supposed to be wearing blue sashes?”

“Well,” Dinah said, looking gratefully at Erin, “we decided we’d do better if we didn’t wear our sashes tonight.”

“I’m not sure why it made such a difference, but you were right,” Mrs. Davis said. “That was the best performance you’ve ever given. You girls were really together tonight, just like real dancers.”

“Just like real friends,” Dinah said.

The girls grinned, throwing their arms around each other’s shoulders in a group bow. Erin’s smile was the brightest of all. She had discovered that sometimes when you give something up, you find something better.

[illustrations] Illustrations by Julie F. Young