A strange dream- of a stranger.
Only an hour or so long in reality, but a lifetime in the dream.
He was an old homeless man who lived out of his car. (The car had deep red seats that could change into a flat bed.)
He looked like my grandpa, but reminded me of my father.
He did not believe in Jesus, for the seed of faith that had once grown within him, had been trampled upon and died. (I sensed this had happened in his Catholic past.)
I met him one day upon my travels, and offered dinner with my family to him. He paused, and I knew then if I ever remarked on his homelessness, he’d be gone. So I did not, but it was hard.
We grew close to each other through the days, I, the daughter, like the only child he wished he could have had, (he never married or had kids,) and me, he was the father, the relationship, I could have had with my father, had things been different. (If he had known that I forgave him of the physical abuse and that I still loved him.)
We reminisced, and debated life and God.
Through the days shared, he seen me work for God, and I could sense him soften somewhere inside. But he never made the choice for God, at least while I was with him.
Then one day, as I was thanking Jesus out loud, for the seasons of the world – all of them – (it was raining hard,) I stood in the storm shower, and thanked Him for the sun, the storms, the snow…especially the soft crystal-globe snow, that falls like a kiss on the cheek,…-
He came to me to say goodbye.
I cried and cried, not wanting him to go, (I loved him deeply already,) but he told me it was his time to go, “he must be moving on,” and as we embraced, I felt the heat of his skin as if it was on fire, and knew that he was sick, and would die. I cried all the harder, all the more, and pleaded with him to stay. But I think he knew, though the words remained unspoken, that I would end up caring for him till he died. And he did not want this – pride or reasons, remained unsaid. And a part of me realized the truth in the unspoken; that I should be about my family’s business, (not consumed by his,) but I still cried and it still hurt.
I knew then, that his mind was made up and that he would leave to go die.
So I grabbed his face in my hands, turning it to meet mine, and asked him point blank, “So, will I see you in heaven someday?” And cried all the harder when he would not answer.
“Well…” he hinged, as he seen the grief in my heart that his answer brought me, and I knew he was going to say ‘yes’ just for me, so I stopped him.
“No, don’t say it unless you really mean it.”
He paused and admitted to me, “I don’t know,” and I knew he thought of his past and the church.
“Don’t let the Catholic Church do this to you!” I said, and sensed it had been like a mantra between us.
Then he said, “It’s my conscience, you see; there’s something in there still, and it won’t rest.”
Then I sighed as my heart lifted a little, for I knew then there was hope still that I would see him someday in heaven.
So we said our goodbye’s and parted, and I cried and cried and cried for days.
* Then I woke up.
No tears were upon my face, (not yet,) but the grief within me was hollow, real, and sharp.
“Was he real, Lord?” I asked out loud, but got no answer at that time. I sensed though, that it was best I pray for him, just in case it was.
So I went down on my knees before my God, and pleaded his case to Him. “His faith did start to grow, Lord,” I pleaded with Him, “It just got trampled upon by the church. And some of it did survive Lord, for how else could he have come to care for me? Have mercy for him for my sake Lord, please? I’d like to see him in heaven again some day…”
And as I write this, to record the dream, I cry.
I cry and wonder, was this a soul on his way to heaven, given a last chance to be loved by another, through my dream?
Reality enters, guilt washing over me – oh how silly this is, crying for someone I never knew except for in a dream… People would question my sanity, and think I had gone insane. But the energy-in-motion, still deep within me, cries out past those thoughts, and says out loud “Lord, if it be so, then let him in! Let him be with You. Set his spirit free…”
I sensed a presence in the room beside me, slight, (not overpowering as my father’s had been,) and knew it was the old man from my dream. I sensed him say “thank you,” then give me another hug, and then leave.
So, o.k., am I nuts? Just the imagination being over active?
Sigh. All I do know, is that one day in heaven, I will know for sure.
He sure was ‘neat’ though.
And in the back of my mind there is a response: “You were to him, too.”
Later on in the day, as the dusk descends, I recall and remember the odd dream. I remember and cry. I cry for him again, for his story, his life, touched me deeply. I’d like to think (if it really wasn’t ‘just a dream’,) that my tears, my caring, my prayers was not ‘just a waste’ from ‘just a dream’. Was it real? Did a soul, embarked on its journey, stop to reach out to mine in a dream?
It caused me to pray for him, whoever he was, wherever he spent his life.
My God answers my prayers; so if he did exist, my prayers were not for nothing!
But what if it was only a dream? Not real? What then? Have I not just wasted all this time?
Then my God answered me, softly, surely.
He placed His conviction upon my heart, and I smiled.
“I waste nothing.”
I felt His great peace settle upon my heart once again.
MY GOD WASTES NOTHING.