The Dance {My Dad, Anne Frank, and Legacy}

They take the stage hand in hand.  A deep breath.  We hear the voice of Anne Frank.  Smiling, turning, and leaping, their faces look joyous and bright. Hopeful as they move across the floor.  The audience hears frantic yelling, “Anne, Anne!” Suddenly, they’re no longer wearing maroon, double-breasted coats, but gray, drab dresses. Their hopeful look replaced by sadness and heartbreak.

How to they do that? They can’t possibly understand Anne Frank’s plight, a Jewish girl hiding from German soldiers. One boy is 10. Another girl 14. And another girl 18 with ages between.  All born and raised in America.

So, how?

Because we all know joy, hope, sadness, and loss.

They don’t know Anne, but they know about divorce and mean girls.  They know about failure and success.  One has relatives living across the world that she’s not seen in two years thanks to war and prejudice.  Another struggles with her identity, who she is and how best to cope with hard. One is brave. One feels less than.One is always smiling.  Many are confident.  A few of them know the pain caused by parents – intentionally and unintentionally.

Something about their current story connects them to a Jewish girl hiding in an attic, hearing German soldiers come for her family, but escaping every time…until one time the soldiers find her hiding place.  She dies in the face of evil, but her diary remains for us to read. A gift, so we place a name and face on an event over which history teachers labor and test.

They dance it beautifully, earning award and award.

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And as I cheer (very loudly), I am struck by what these dancers have truly won. They know perseverance. Teamwork. Commitment.  Criticism. Praise.  They know about working through injuries and anger to accomplish something greater than themselves.  Something they can’t do on their own.

I watch my little one hold the Grand Champion banner.  A smile engulfing her face….while I know what today is.

Eight years ago on this day I was grocery shopping at Walmart with that same little girl when my phone rings, and I hear my mom tell me that weaning dad from the ventilator did not work.  His blood is septic.  She’s unplugging his machines.

Three hours later, I am by his side.  He’s holding on.  I tell him it’s ok to go.  And a little after midnight on the 9th – technically the 10th – of January, he leaves this world with one final gasp.

God awakens me a little after 12 last night.  I glance at the clock without even needing to.  I know by now that when God wakes me, sleep will return when I pay attention. I silently listen to the room’s hum and begin to review the day…compare my January 9th’s.

How different.

the dance

Our days don’t always look like victory. Some days look like death.  And vice versa.  These days we live are a mix of helplessness and hope.

I miss my dad today – most days.  But, I don’t live in the missing, the pain, the grieving.  I can’t and I won’t.  Not because I didn’t or don’t love my dad, but because I love my children and I want to honor my dad’s legacy.  His grandchildren can carry it well and honor it too if I love them and champion them.

Over the years pain and suffering have taught me that at some point – and that point is very different for every single person – I have to move forward. Sitting on the couch lamenting my dad’s death, or any other pain written in my story, is productive and healing for a season.

But, then I allow God to continue my choreography. To move me back into His song.

And it’s because of his grace and mercy that I sat in a hospital room eight years ago and then a dance auditorium yesterday. That I can understand the full weight of the dance – hope to helpless and back again – and again.

I think of the dance. The one on stage. The one of Anne Frank. The dance of my dad.  My dance each day.  And I do not want to miss one step.  I want to be faithful to tell my story – and my dad’s –  like Anne and her diary. I want to allow HIM to guide each and every step – forward and backward, side to side.

I want to twirl in the open field, light-hearted and happy.  I want fall to my knees with one last exhale when he calls me home. I don’t want to dance in fear and nervousness, but with confidence and abandon, knowing He is in the midst of every step.

I want my dance to outlive me – just like Anne and my dad.  

Dance well today, friends.  Inhale, exhale and take the stage. Be brave.  Turn and leap.  Fall on your knees.  Cry out.  And always:  follow HIS lead.  It matters. For you and for them.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness. Psalm 30:11

A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4

Comments

  1. Beautiful Sarah!

  2. Beautiful!

  3. kerry boggess says:

    Love this!!

  4. As always, beautiful. Only God knows how this touches each of us. God bless you.

    • Thanks, Misty:) I think that’s my favorite part…getting Facebook messages and texts about how God spoke to different individuals in different ways. He’s such a creative God!

  5. Thank you for sharing your heart. Also for the reminder what is important as we dance through this life on earth.

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