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The Dream

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I was talking to a lovely woman earlier this fall that had lost her husband about 10 years ago. She, too, had a wonderful marriage. She told me how, even still, she will see someone from behind, or from a distance in a store who resembles him, and it will cause her to catch her breath and think, “Oh, there he is!” She said she still dreams about him in her sleep. At that moment in our conversation, the tears quickly welled up in my eyes and began to spill over onto my cheeks. I had been longing for a dream with Michael in it, any little dream….just to catch a glimpse of him in living motion, but I had not had any. Why is that? You would think that I would dream about him often in my sleep, but for whatever reason, I had not. I had a heaviness in my heart that night when I fell into bed and felt very alone. My poem, “Missing Parts”, describes exactly how I was feeling at that moment. “Though miles separate our bodies and touch, Our hearts reach out… the emptiness too much.” That night when I got into bed, I asked God for a dream with Michael…. I just wanted to see his face.

He gave me a dream.

I was in my house during the day and two little African American boys had been dropped off at my house to play for the afternoon. (In the natural, I had never seen these boys before.) Once the boys were in my house, I needed to run outside to say something to their father before he drove away in his suburban. I could see the man in the driver’s seat and it was the face of an African American man with whom I go to church. I ran outside barefoot heading to the car and looked down to realize that I was beginning to walk through a rose garden that had been pruned down the ground. It was full of stubby thorny branches with some random remainders of roses and their petals. I had to keep my head down as I tip toed through the brambly bed of roses so that I would not hurt my feet. I was holding my long hair back on one side as I was looking down so that I could see better. I noticed that the dad in the car had opened the door to step outside of the car. When I looked up, it was Michael who had stepped out of the car with a big, happy grin on his face, (his nose was even wrinkled like it would do when he was really being cute or when he was thinking I or the kids were acting or looking especially cute), and he was boldly, and happily walking towards me with a smile. He looked just like he did early last February. He was wearing some flat front khaki dress pants, a white dress shirt, and his current glasses. When I laid eyes on him, I felt shock overcoming my body. My face felt stressed, twisted up and burdened when I was looking down, but when I saw him, I felt it all begin to lift away. It felt lighter, as if I had been carrying the burden of weight on my face. My shocked face turned into a smile as everything lifted from my face and I began to feel light headed, like I was about to faint. As I watched him stride towards me, he changed to the Michael from the early nineties. His hair was longer in the back, his wire-rimmed glasses were larger, his shirt was still white but was a flowing, poet’s like shirt and his pants were pleated and baggy instead of straight. He never broke his pace as he came happily towards me. We never spoke a word….he smiled at me the whole time, I smiled and stood in shock and then I was overcome with the moment and blacked out ,collapsing into the brambly roses. I felt his hands come under my head and neck…. then he kissed me. I opened my eyes and all I could see was his big blue eyes right in front of my face. We held the gaze for a few seconds, and then I awoke from the dream.

I was so thankful for my encounter with Michael but at the same time, it was very hard for me…..maybe God had been protecting my heart by keeping him from my dreams. For several weeks following the dream, I would cry just thinking about it and seeing his smile and strong body coming towards me. The two things that stand out the most from the dream are the feeling of the pain and burden on my face that I carried, the feeling of it lifting, and the joy that was all over Michael’s countenance. He comforted me in that dream by letting me know that he was well and whole, just by coming to me.

I have not had a dream about him since. One morning, the smell of his breath and the sound of his voice saying, “Babe,” woke me up from the early morning hours. I can’t explain that….

All of this reminds me of something that my friend Sally mailed me earlier this year. It is a copy of a page from the book entitled, In Lieu of Flowers. Henry Scott Holland, a professor of divinity at Oxford University, wrote this quote within the book a century ago.

Death is nothing at all – I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without the ghost of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant…there is absolutely unbroken continuity. I am waiting for you – somewhere near just around the corner. All is well.


Anonymous Says:
October 26, 2011 at 6:04 PM

It is such a blessing to share in your healing. That is what I read here on these pages... lovely, blessed, wonderful healing. Keep going.

Anonymous Says:
October 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

I think it almost becomes cliche when we talk about just passing to the other side, being more alive than ever. The truth is, however, it is that and more. How wonderful that all you hope for is, indeed, just around the corner. In the so short meanwhile, your resolve and personal ministry will grow stronger.

Sherilyn M. Says:
October 26, 2011 at 9:00 PM

Just precious!!! Makes my heart ache, and feel wistful... there aren't really good words. Just wish you Jesus' arms to hold you tight too.
I wanted to say too I met you at the Advanced Captivating.. (the Mennonite :)) so I don't freak you out. :) You have so been on my heart! I hope you don't mind me reading this, and if you do please say so, I so understand.

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