Last night I had some company. First to show up in my dream was my cousin John with the crazy staccato laugh, huge heart and endless pranks. He and his brother George were always up to something.
When they were little, they asked my Aunt Esther if they could decorate their rooms for Christmas. After she told them they could they scooped up buckets and bagfuls of brown pine needles and covered the floor and everything else in their room.
Then there was the day John shot the hot piece of bacon out of my Aunt’s fork with a dart as she was holding it up, dripping with hot grease. It splattered against the wall and the whole kitchen table exploded in laughter. She swore and broke the darts.
Next to arrive through the mist of my dream was my brother and Aunt Mayvis via telephone. My brother, who was never embarrassed to hold my hand on the way to school, or let me ride with him on his bike. Aunt Mayvis was the school secretary at my grammar school and everyone loved her. She always did yard work in a bikini and taught us crafts.
Then John’s brother George came in throwing his stuff on a vacant bed. I didn’t even wonder where his wife Jill was because in dreams people just drift in and out as if it’s perfectly natural.
George had the pain tolerance of a superhero. He once had athlete’s foot so bad, his feet were bloody stumps and he never told my Aunt.
Another scene finds me walking through the campsite at Yosemite, a place forever grafted inside my heart. Summer after summer we would gather there as a family and friends would join us. Mom would fix up our camp just like home, complete with throw rugs on the pine needles and tablecloths on the picnic table. I was taking a morning walk with my cat Briggs walking calmly beside me.
He wasn’t darting to and fro chasing squirrels like you’d think a cat in the woods would. He was walking as if he felt the peace of Eden in the air and it was like I imagine Heaven will be.
I see a patch of white hair through the sunlight and I know it belongs to my Dad. Mom sits beside him in a folding chair and they wave a greeting through the haze of the campfire, and I can no longer tell if I am looking at a scene from the past or the future, and it doesn’t matter because it’s good.
I climb through the fog of sleep with a happy memory of a good dream, but it’s tinged with sadness because it is all so fleeting. I wonder what happened to those years and how they slipped by so fast.
And yet, I am grateful that God has given us the gift of memories. I think right then that memories must be the flip side of sadness. Keeping memories and stories alive is how we honor those who have gone before us.
As I get ready for the day, beating off the fog of sleep with my first cup, I smile and thank God for my dream and for knowing that the flip side of any sadness is always Jesus. And dreams,like Heaven, are where time never runs out and where we can always make the amends we never got to make on earth.
I thank my God every time I remember you.In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completionuntil the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6