February eleventh marks the sixth anniversary of my father’s death. Although I thought I grieved his passing, it feels like a spring, of all things precious, is flowing through my heart to find expression. At the time of his death, he was caring for his wife. After I received the responsibility of managing my mother’s care, I unconsciously postponed reflecting deeply ~ and celebrating in my heart ~ his life well lived. With the death of my mother in November, it seems like my spirit has carved a space at this time to open up to my feelings in storage.
I know I can not do justice to his life in a few brief paragraphs of a blog, but I feel I must give voice to a bit of what fills my heart. When I think of my dad, the word “joy” wants to take center stage. It’s a small word, but it played a big part in the way my dad lived. My understanding of this word, and its significance in my dad’s journey, grew after listening to a passionate discourse on the “Seven Aspects of Holy Joy” delivered by Andrew Harvey. It led me to the knowing, that my father lived every day as an instrument of Divine love and joy, and walked humbly as a servant of God from 1919 to 2006.
One of the joys in the lecture was the “joy of the holy dancer,” and it touched a cord with me. For as long as I can remember, dancing brought a palpable joy into his life, and those who danced with him. When I watched my father and mother dance as a child, they always looked differently and acted differently as they danced. It was not the usual happiness that the light hearted music filled everyone else with; it was in my childhood term ~ magic!
As I grew older I was uplifted by just watching him dance. The pleasure for those, who danced with my dad, seemed to produce euphoric states, which followed with these phases: “light as a feather,” “my feet never touched the floor,” “care free,” “sweeps me off my feet,” and “places me on cloud nine!” I watched my father use the Polka as a tool to transport others to the bliss filled place found only in ones soul.
With the understanding I have now from Andrew’s description of “the joy of the holy dancer,” my experiences twirling in my fathers arms spoke of this holy joy. He was very focused on the dance floor. He was not thinking of the past or future; he lived and danced in the present moment. In the present one is connected to “The Presence,” where joy and love expand in the space of the Divine, a space where grace delivers profound gifts.
If you were still, you could see the grace flowing to him, and through him. But, if you could not see “it,” you always felt “it,” and most certainly wanted to be with “it.” When I think back, everything he did was a living prayer; done with a sense of purpose in connection with “The Presence.” I rarely saw him multi-task, because I understand now, that breaking that focus, breaks “the connection.”
So, when he took someone on that dance floor, he was totally in the moment. His gift was to take you along. At first you heard the music, the stomping of feet, and buzz of the room. But, as the grace flowed through his hands to yours, you felt light, you experienced the joy of the holy dancer. You started to “deify gravity.” Before long his gentle smile was all you saw, and the music and the noise were barely audible. He did the leading, and you surrendered into “The Presence,” and into a joy, a bliss, that only can be found in the “heights of ones soul.” Yes, when Andrew talked about “the joy of the holy dancer,” this spoke to me of my father. I knew where everyone went when they entrusted themselves into his hands. He used the Polka, and various dances, to take you to the heights of your soul. I know now what that feeling was; it was the pure joy filled loving connection to the Divine at play.