“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses, and disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” Joseph Addison, 1672-1719
As I read this quote within a daily devotional I receive I was reminded of a beautiful dream.
My dad died at 52 years old after a two-year battle with cancer. It was the most difficult and painful thing our family has ever experienced, and in a lot of ways I believe we are still grieving for him after nearly 12 years, but we live with the hope that we will see him again.
Those first few months after he died the dreams that I had were very haunting and frustrating. The first dream I remember was of me and some friends driving around in a white van in the McAllen High School parking lot. All of a sudden, I heard my dad’s voice in the distance announcing a football game (which is something he did in addition to coaching when he was on this earth). The game was taking place in the stadium across the street from the parking lot. I announced to my friends “That’s my dad, I hear my dad, I have to see him!” I sped up the van and parked in front of the stadium gates and ran as fast as I could toward my dad’s voice, but when I arrived at the press box there was no sign of daddy. Another dream about daddy took place at a barbeque. Everyone was standing around talking and joking around, and then I noticed my dad was standing next to me only because I heard his voice and saw his shoes. I tried to turn my head so that I could see his face but for some reason I could never catch a glimpse of him. There were many more similar dreams where I would wake up in frustration with my pillow soaked with tears.
Then, about a year and a half after his death, I dreamt I was at a wedding by the gulf. Nobody looked familiar. A freak hurricane was rolling in and everyone at the wedding died in the storm. We were floating in this humongous flood. Then, the flood died down and we were sitting in a dark, damp, dungeon of a room with several other people. There were bars on the windows and outside it was very dark and bleak. I don’t know how long we were in the dungeon but we all remained quiet and were thinking about our lives, praying, and wondering what was going to happen. The next day the sky was bright and sunny and these rays of light entered the room and broke the bars on the windows as they entered. The rays of light turned into stars that touched each of our bodies. Immediately all our wounds had been healed and the scars that we had gotten throughout our lives disappeared. We could feel God’s presence and power and all the hurt, both emotional and physical, that we had experienced throughout our lives seemed to melt away. Then, the dungeon gates opened and we were greeted with a beautiful paradise that I believe was Heaven. My face lit up and my smile became permanent. I then spotted my brothers, Jeff and David, walking toward me. One of them said excitedly “let’s go see mom, and find out about dad”. I followed them to this building that looked like a Heavenly office building, if there is such a thing. We went inside and immediately saw mom. She was smiling and happy and gave all of us a big group hug. We walked to a different office and this woman was standing there waiting for us (she looked exactly like the nurse at our high school, Mrs. Tinsman). We asked her about dad. She said with a big smile “You’ll be seeing your dad real soon”. She then handed me a letter. I’m not sure if Jeff, David, or mom received one too, but I’m sure they did (smile). The letter was in daddy’s writing and it started with “Love”, my parents nickname for me. He wrote about how much he missed me and that he would be seeing me real soon. He wrote that I should not get discouraged and that I must maintain my faith in God. Then, the dream sort of flashed to Briana, my daughter, at about 25 years of age. I remember wondering what was going to happen to her. She was tall and beautiful and something told me she was going to be okay. The dream ended and I awakened.
It was the most beautiful, vivid dream I’ve ever had and I’m so grateful that I took the time to write it down all those years ago. When life seems dark and bleak, I pull out my journal and read the words the Lord sent to me during a very difficult time through a letter from daddy.
Things got pretty tough after that dream, but I held onto it’s promise.
“If we could see beyond today
As God can see;
If all the clouds should roll away,
The shadows flee;
O’er present griefs we would not fret.
Each sorrow we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet
For you and me.
If we could know beyond today
As God doth know,
Why dearest treasures pass away
And tears must flow;
And why the darkness leads to light,
Why dreary paths will soon grow bright;
Some day life’s wrongs will be made right,
Faith tells us so.
“If we could see, if we could know”
We often say,
But God in love a veil doth throw
Across our way;
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more,
He leads us till this life is o’er
Trust and obey.”