A Simple Yellow Ribbon

(Journal entry of a dream I had, Dec. 4th, 2004)

The other night, before I went to bed, I thought of those married to people in the armed forces, or even to those in jail, paying for their crimes.

And then I thought of my husband…and how I’d feel if he had done a heavy-weighted (in my eyes) sin, (like infidelity, murder, or for example – enlisting in the army without even talking to me first,) and I thought about how hard, so very, very hard, it would be for me to forgive him. I felt a sharp pain in my gut, just thinking about it.

But welcome him home with open arms? No way! He’d have to EARN that kind of love and trust back from me again.

Then as I fell asleep, I dreamed that I was in a war of sorts’, constantly having to fight off the ‘bad guys’. (Evil.)

As I finally vanquished and scarred off my enemies, I stumbled back to where I knew my home was, for rest and renewal. I knew it would not be the last time that I’d have to fight this evil.

On the way, I couldn’t help but wonder, if I’d still be welcomed back home, after all the mistakes I had made since the last time I had been home. They were too numerous to count, and some were incredibly stupid of me, I knew. Some fights I had won, others I had lost miserably, and some I had even instigated myself.

Then I found myself on a bus, filled with other people, and telling the bus driver, (and others near me,) about my thoughts of insecurity and doubt…
I’m comin’ home, I’ve done my time
Now I’ve got to know what is and isn’t mine
If you received my letter telling you I’d soon be free
Then you’ll know just what to do
If you still want me
Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree
It’s been three long years
Do you still want me?
If I don’t see a ribbon round the old oak tree
I’ll stay on the bus
Forget about us
Put the blame on me
If I don’t see a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree…
Bus driver, please look for me
Cause I couldn’t bear to see what I might see
I’m really still in prison
And my love, she holds the key
A simple yellow ribbon’s what I need to set me free
I wrote and told her please…
Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree
It’s been three long years
Do you still want me
If I don’t see a ribbon round the old oak tree
I’ll stay on the bus
Forget about us
Put the blame on me
If I don’t see a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree…
Now the whole darn bus is cheering
And I can’t believe I see
A hundred yellow ribbons round the old oak tree
I’m coming home…

(*Tie A Yellow Ribbon © 1972 By Irwin Levine and L. Russel Brown, sung by Tony Orlando & Dawn.)
When I seen how many ribbons were around the tree, I fell to my knees, crying hard. I still couldn’t believe, that my love still loved me, and I knew it was not of my doing. And when I stood in the yard, our yard, under that tree, and felt the strong embrace of my loved one’s arms surrounding me so tight, I cried all the harder, with humbleness, thankfulness, and amazement. That my loved one would still love me with a love as strong as this…it was a MIRACLE. I knew then, that I could go on, and that I would be strong enough to continue to ‘fight the good fight’ that I’d find yet again before me.

The tears in my dream finally woke me up. (With the end part of the song stuck in auto-playback in my mind.)

It had been YEARS since I had heard that song. (Good heavens; how old WAS I when I last heard that song?!? Ten?!)

“O.K. Lord,…mind telling me why I remember that song NOW?”
And then He let me see a different view and purpose to the old 1973 song.
I had always thought of it, (as a child,) as a song about an incarcerated criminal of some kind. But here I was seeing it, as an everyday – everyone kind of person, trying to do the will of his God, trying to fight off the various demons of hell, and failing many of the times, till finally, he’s granted a rest, and returns home.

Just like me with my husband, amazed that he could ‘still want me’, with all my faults and weaknesses.

“Think of all those ribbons around that tree, ma petite,” my Lord says to me. “Not just one, but a hundred! Now, do you think this is the picture of a lover who’s waiting for the beloved to EARN the love back?”

My head hung down, ashamed. “No Lord,” I replied.

“Just think of the kind of transformational power that comes from this kind of love, ma petite.”

“But Lord,” I argued with Him, “I could not love like that! It feels like I’d just be setting myself up for the next abuse!”

“Remember ma petite,” He gently points out to me, “This person was returning home with his heart in full repent. He KNEW he had hurt his lover; he had already ‘put the blame’ on himself, no matter what the outcome would be. I’m not saying that you should welcome home with open arms and ribbons, the love that still insists they’re right and you’re wrong, or the ones who are still foolish, (ie: full of themselves,) and choosing to continue on in their way. These, still have more fighting to do, before they are free enough, to come home.

I NEED you to love your husband like this ma petite. Whenever he is in ‘repent’. When he’s not, PRAY for his well-fare.”

I asked God, a little later…”Who are those on the bus cheering?” (I was thinking they were His angels, or maybe those followers already up there with Him in heaven.)

“Not just those, ma petite, but those who are also on their way ‘home’.”

Then I realized, just how powerful and encouraging this would be, to others also on their way home, to see such a welcome home for someone just like them…

“What are those ribbons, Lord?”

“Unconditional love.”

I thought for a moment, before adding on, “mine would be colored red though, Lord, right?” (Red is my most favorite color.)

I sensed Him chuckle, and nod a yes. “That they would be ma petite. Made so just for you.”

Thank you for loving me like that, Lord. Thank you for loving me anyways…

* * * *

(To be continued…)