I’m updating this blog to share again a story of a gentle man who danced and prayed, a man who is loved by many and is sadly under hospice care. I’m not related. I have relatives who are. I imagine the legacy he will leave his family is immeasurable. His prayer about believing God sees us, hears us and even listens when we talk, and talks right back, it made a forever impression on me. I am grateful for that.
Join me if you will in praying for the family and friends who are surrounding this sweet prayerful dancer under the care of doctors who are saying, Soon his dance will be heavenly.
I am remembering this story from 2017.
I’m gonna tell this sweet story here because it’s just too precious not to be told. It’s all about dancing and desire and the way God listens and waits for our asking, God waits to dance with us. For our rhythm to be one of agreement, our desires to be fulfilled.
Oh, he danced. We all danced at their wedding. I watched him for awhile, looking at the young people as they jumped up to dance, his face bearing a sweet smile as the couples made their spots on the floor their own. I watched as he shimmied his shoulders and tapped a little tune with his cane. Finally, he got up and he danced. And just like the first time I saw him, heard him pray, the whole room took notice and we all got the chance to see a life lived fully with wisdom and desire. I was glad to be in his presence again, the man who told me God listens.
Two weddings this year, my daughter and the love of her life, my niece and her’s…two chances to dance with the ones we love. Two chances to see the fulfilling of desires.
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
I didn’t expect it. I don’t know if any of the others did.
Of course, I didn’t really know them, this family of sisters and cousins about to be my niece’s family.
We all sat semi-circle in pale floral upholstered chairs in the church parlor. It’s been a long time since I sat in a parlor, I thought.
We’d joined hands earlier, a stranger and I next to each other and the matriarch said grace as we sat ladylike. We filled ourselves with pineapple cheese ball on salty Ritz crackers, watermelon, little sandwiches and homemade cheesecake.
Where I’m from we call these foods “Nic-Nacs”. We talk about the recipes and we go back for thirds, not seconds on the tiny little plates. We look around to see who’s first to indulge. Southern ladies allowing themselves a little extra, smiling slightly towards one another, our lips lined brightly with corals and pinks.
Gifts were opened, names recorded by my daughter, oohs and ahhs were like lyrics, a pretty little melody, bouncin’ about the parlor.
Then, towards the end, the granddaddy walks in. A handsome sweet face, feeble but, determined and just glad to be with us. His walk was slow and uneven, one leg causing a struggle, he leaned on his cane, his body resting in a slanted way. Still, he had a confident swagger in step, sportin’ his dress pants and crisply ironed shirt.
I thought he must have just come alone, must live close by or had been waitin’ in the car for his mate. In the South, men don’t get to go to bridal showers, it’s pretty well known and understood.
He joined the circle for a bit then his daughter introduced him,
“Daddy wants to say a few words”.
He took his time as he stood, waiting for us all to stop our chatter. It was a treasure to him, I could tell, to just be with us and to “talk about the Lord with you ladies for a few minutes”.
They were words of instruction and love and of his hopes for the soon to be wed. He was happy that his family is growing, he said. His words not just a platitude. He talked about prayer, and about desire.
We all sat quietly, my daughter across the room, glanced towards me, her face, sweet as if to say, “I know you love this, mama.” There was a sense of the significance of this time, his words, our chance to listen and hold on.
He talked about his life, his trials, his troubles, his God and his telling of stories to whomever he meets. A variety of people, I thought who have been captivated by his curiously wise dialogue.
Long pauses, between sentences, he was thinking, figuring, preparing what God had for him to say. His time in the church parlor he considered an opportunity, meaningful, worth something, I could tell. So, he paused a long pause before saying one thing clearly, his voice commanding our attention. He paused to make sure we all were captive in our seats.
“I can hear God. He talks to me all the time. I tell you one thing, people don’t believe me, that I hear him; but, I keep telling him how I feel, what I need. He answers me. If I had one of those contraptions that measured…what’s the word…decibels, I can assure you I hear him all the time. I’d have something to show the ones who don’t believe me, don’t need it, though, I hear him. It’s real clear, too”
“You can too and you can tell him anything.” He added.
“But, just make sure that if you desire something and you tell him, that you really, really desire it, because he will give you what you desire.”
Then I listened as he prayed for the soon to be married couple and for all of us ladies and I waited, still and attentive to his sweet voice.
I listened, longing to hear more.
I made sure to see him at the wedding, be sure my husband had a chance to meet him. My niece asked me to pray before the meal and I did my best, all the time wishing I’d been able to hear his prayer instead. I wish I’d suggested it, I thought, before the final plans had been made.
But, I prayed a prayer about love and family and looked over at the granddaddy after my “in Jesus’ name, Amen” to see his encouraging nod as if to say “You did fine, He heard, he knows the desire of your heart, remember? He just told me so.” And then a smile that felt like love with just the slightest wink of Southern gentleman.
And then, we dined and we danced knowing our desires were very known.
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And the people say, “Amen”