The Beauty of the Last Dance

 

 

20200525_130933Morning still was asleep, covered under a blanket of darkness, as I crept out of bed into the humid, yet peaceful silence.
Memorial Day.
A day to remember.
Remember.
A day to honor the men and women who died for our country, to allow us the opportunity to cherish our freedoms.
A day to travel backwards.

 

So, this morning my mind rewound a few summers to another patriotic celebration, a decade ago.
One with my grandfather, a retired Navy CAPTAIN, but us grandkids called him Pepaw.
Pepaw, was not one for random bursts of celebration. He was more likely to sit quietly in his chair while my Nana fussed and fretted. She was always making sure the dinner was superb and everyone was happy.
That day was near July 4th, but the message still is relevant. Pepaw started swaying to the music of some patriotic song that came on the radio. It might have been “Anchors Away” or something similar. He rose from his leather chair that he always sat in and danced.  His bones and skin, that began to sag and pull away, danced along with him.
I was perched on the cool hearth by his chair.
Always watching.
Constantly watching.
I did not dance with him.
Only observed,
Not wanting to mess up the painting, the picture God was painting before me.
God was speaking to me, asking me to pay attention, to a life danced for Him.
I paid attention
like I had for the last few years of my life.
I had watched Pepaw and Nana giving out numerous Bibles, everywhere they went. To both of them, it was as simple as breathing.  It was not a question of if to share Jesus; it came naturally, the way one walks and breathes. As simple as the dandelion seeds surrendering to the direction of the wind, planting wherever the wind takes them. The seed of God’s Word was carried far, the beauty of the dance that gives away Jesus, but never loses Him.
I observed the way Pepaw did not give into anger, but rather was compassionate and generous. Always giving to orphans in other countries, or families with faces, with names, that had no clean water. Pepaw was always sharing, always giving and yet never without. Pepaw and Nana gave us gifts, toys, and cash for special occasions, but even greater still the beauty of
A daily dance
A daily surrender to Christ.
The beauty of the dance.

I observed the way he did not waste his words. I on the other hand, could chat without ceasing. His words were for encouragement, for leading people to Christ, whoever and whenever. No time was inconvenient. His silence was not perceived as rudeness, but wisdom waiting for God to give the right words.
The beauty of the dance, careful words, for edification, for growth,
words changing eternity.

As I sat squatted in my cool jeans and my Mickey Mouse t-shirt on the brick hearth, I beheld a special kind of dance.
Because I knew it was
The last dance.
Pepaw’s last dance.
At the time I was young, selfish, prideful, and a slew of other teenage emotions. One minute I was happy, and the next I was sullen, moody, and too grouchy for anyone to want to be around. But I always found such peace and encouragement watching my Pepaw. He inspired me to be greater with God than I could be alone.

 

Three and a half years later, after falling and being put in the hospital, he was placed in a nursing home. That is where he was ushered from my Nana’s loving care into the welcoming arms of Jesus. June 2nd, many years and yet so few years ago. I am sure Jesus said the treasured words of “Well Done.” (Matt. 25:23)
I do not really know how many days I will be given to live, to breathe, to dance.
It could be one hundred, fifty, twenty, ten, maybe even three weeks. How many summers will God entrust in my care? How many mornings will God give me to wake up with the privilege to trust Him? Only God knows.
And that is how it should be.
Perhaps today, I need to live freely for God, without holding back.
Maybe I need to praise Jesus
By
Dancing
Giving and praising Him.
I will fall, I will and have sinned.
But God in His grace reaches out to me and picks me and helps me rise again.
So, I can praise Him one more time
One more

day

to praise Him,

Never sure of
My last dance.

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money,’ Why, you do not even know what will happened tomorrow, what is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who know the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:13-16. (NIV)

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