If you watch Dancing With The Stars, you are well-acquainted with pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy. He is extremely talented, passionate, charming and is known for driving his dancing partners as hard as he can in order to elicit the very best performance from them.
He can also be hot-headed and has a proclivity for letting loose a string of profanities when he is frustrated by his partner’s inability to follow his choreography.
Such a moment happened on last night’s show.
Maks’ partner for this season is Meryl Davis, the exquisitely talented ice dancing gold medalist at the Sochi Olympics.
Normally they are perfectly in sync but last week, Meryl had great difficulty following along. Maks went ballistic. He tossed out f-bombs, accused Meryl of being timid, and angrily placed his hand over the camera lens in complete and utter frustration.
If I am honest, I admit that I would have told him in no uncertain terms that I would not be treated in such a manner and would have stormed out of the room.
But that is not what Meryl Davis did.
She did not allow herself to be caught up in his toxic emotions and refused to allow the situation to escalate by remaining calm.
She did not let that torrent of anger drive her from the room because she knew that something deeper was happening in her partner’s heart. And she cared enough to find out what it was.
Approaching him, she made one request: “Hold my hand.”
And he did.
In that moment, all the anger evaporated.
“I think you’re scared,” she said gently.
“I don’t know. I wish I knew.”
Then the confession: “I’m terrified.”
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger…a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Prov. 15:1; Prov 25:15)
They got through the practice session and on the night the show aired, their dance was amazing. In fact, they got a perfect score from the judges and the dance was an absolute joy to watch.
After the performance when Maks was being interviewed, he was still amazed at what Meryl had done for him.
“Nobody has ever said to me, ‘Hold my hand’ before,” he said.
Talk about the power of a moment. That act of kindness will most likely remain with him for a very long time.
It was certainly a compelling reminder to me that to match anger with anger never ends well.
Give grace when you can.