Every year as the anniversary of my dad’s death approaches (March 30, 2015) I vacillate back and forth about writing, yet again, about my memories of him. I read a clip this week written by Henri Nouwen that spoke to that place in my heart that honors my dad’s life. My words are not only for me, but for you as well. We all are grieving something in our lives. We all have losses and heartaches. I pray you find a smile, a sprinkle of joy, and maybe, just maybe, a little spring in your step.
Our neighbor across the alley is in a band and occasionally we would be privy to a free concert during their garage rehearsals. On this particular summer evening our family was gathered in our back yard for a birthday and the band was jammin. My dad and I ended up doing a little country swing in the alley. My granddaughters were watching and it didn’t take much encouragement to have them join us.
In the last few days of his life, two of my dear friends came to see us in the nursing home. My dad was bed-ridden by then… in and out of consciousness. My friend walked up to his bedside and said, “Hi Jerry, how are you today?” He reached his hands out to her and she asked him if he wanted to dance…..and they danced. Precious….sweet….sacred.
That scene is imprinted on my mind forever. He was dancing to the very end….
“There’s a ‘time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance’ (Eccles. 3:4). But what I want to tell you is that these times are connected. Mourning and dancing are part of the same movement of grace. Somehow, in the midst of your tears, a gift of life is given. Somehow, in the midst of your mourning, the first steps of the dance take place. The cries that well up from your losses belong to the song of praise. Those who cannot grieve cannot be joyful. Those who have not been sad cannot be glad. Quite often, right in the midst of your crying, your smile comes through your tears. And while you are in mourning, you already are working on the choreography of your dance. Your tears of grief have softened your spirit and opened up the possibility to say “thanks”. You can claim your unique journey as God’s way to mold your heart and bring you joy.”
~Henri Nouwen-“Spiritual Formation”
Today I encourage you to dance! Crank up the tunes and dance around your house….grab a loved one….twirl and spin. Play a slow love song and hold your sweetheart close. If you are alone, swing and sway by yourself….choreograph your dance of life through the tears and the smiles.