Grief sneaks up when we least expect it. Memories fill our mind and our heart aches with the desire for physical presence once again. I am learning to allow grief to wash over me knowing that the act is cleansing, renewing and healing. The times of remembering will never completely repair the hole from loss but keep our hearts ever yearning and leaning into God. This post is for all of you that have experienced any kind of loss. Daddy, will you dance with me is a question that begs for a chance to go deeper and seek presence. What is your question?
“Daddy, will you dance with me?” Music softly played in the background as I got up the nerve to ask.
A quiet “yes” followed. That was the only invitation I needed to promptly place my stockinged feet on my dad’s size thirteen shoes.
Gentle swaying followed and a little girl’s dream of feeling like a princess, even if only for a few minutes, was fulfilled.
Childhood memories have come into focus more recently. The memory of feet tangled in a sweet dance along with the tight grip of my dad’s hands wrapped around mine swirl around my days and nights. The memory of my dad and I dancing in the kitchen is one of my sweetest treasures.
Other memories surface of busyness, responsibility and snapshots of my dad sitting in his office. Special memories to gather on a gray day, but not as meaningful as one dance across the kitchen floor.
This past August my dad went home. My dad’s journey of 95 years ended in a joyous union with Jesus. The peace surrounding that moment is a gift I carry with me always. My dad’s story is one of a life well-lived complete with caring for his family, working hard, and carrying his faith with him at all times. But the early years of my life did not always look like the sweet memory of a dance. Many years I remember seeing my dad first thing in the morning and then again at dinner. My dad took his responsibility as head of the household very seriously. I knew my dad worked hard and understood he loved me, but I craved so much more.
God knows what we need and loves nothing more than to surprise us with the blessing just when we need it. The last year of my dad’s life was a roller coaster ride of health problems and as his caregiver, I rode the roller coaster with him. The ups and downs carried the beautiful gift of presence through each peak and valley.
My dad blessed me with the gift of time. He leaned in, listened well and spent his last year getting to know me-really know me. He selflessly did the same for my brothers and his grandchildren too. Before my eyes, dad became vulnerable and wanted nothing more than to know who I was, emotions and all. The times my dad listened to me as if no one else was in the room, even when he wasn’t feeling well, is the gift of presence. My dad shared love in a way that left me knowing that his family meant everything to him.
On the days the hole in my heart yearns for one more moment with my dad, God surrounds me with His love.
When one small trigger causes tears to flow, comfort flows from unexpected sources.
God takes our joy and sorrow and tenderly holds it as a gift because He cares so deeply.
When you are given the gift of presence, you care for it with tenderness. You make the most of every moment that results from the time together. Praise and thanks whisper from your lips as you recognize how God blessed you with exactly what you needed. One question such as “Daddy, will you dance with me?” leads to time with the people you love the most. Seeking God in the highs and lows of life unveils selfless acts of love when you least expect it.
May you seek the gift of presence in your everyday knowing that choosing real life leads to a blessing greater than you can imagine.
Journeying through memories!
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