This morning, I received an email telling me the little story below had not been selected as an article to be published in the coming months through Incourage. Funny thing happened, I was okay this time. Not like the last denial, that time I pouted and doubted and most of all self-evaluated and condemned. Here’s the thing, or a couple of things. A post I wrote with a bit of bravery called, “Towards Grace” was chosen just last week and featured on a writer’s blog. I was thankful. I said a spilled over with joy, prayer of honest thanksgiving. That post was so honestly me, I could have taken the words and placed them in a stack next to my chair and reached over to make them mine, hold them in my hands. Just that much of a treasure, they seemed. They were not for show, not for competing. So, here’s another thing…not pouting today, because a friend God placed on my path who prayed wth me about “The Colors of my Bible” shared these words this morning: “Sometimes God closes doors because it’s time to move forward. He knows you won’t move unless your circumstances force you. Trust the transition. God’s got you.”
So, you might wonder, isn’t that about relationship, job or something else? Doesn’t that mean figure out something new or somebody new? To me it meant and means there are new avenues, there are clearer paths, new partners to dance the steps of the desires of my heart.
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, to dance with us.
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.
Had been heard. “God listens.” he said.