I don’t often dream dreams that cause me to actually feel as though I am taking part in it in the present time, but last night was an exception. It was so full of emotion and feeling that I feel compelled to put those vivid emotions in writing, if only to sort it all out for myself while the details are still crystal clear.
It was, oh, such a brief encounter with the past, but I could almost hear myself shouting out in my dream the words which were buried inside my head…………”Where is God????????????”
The scene began with just the two of us……………….Crick and myself…………standing in a room, speaking to a counselor (& no……….it wasn’t a “marriage counselor!! LOL) who was helping us out with the decisions facing us as we confronted the fallout of the newly delivered news of the spread of his cancer. The social worker left the room and as I turned to look at Crick, I saw him with a cigarette dangling from his lips. Instantly, as his eyes and mine locked on each other, the cigarette curled up and he drew it inside his mouth and he appeared to have swallowed it. Immediately, I felt an overwhelming sense of despair, such a degree of frustration and disappointment and helplessness wash over me. I could simultaneously feel the tears begin to spill out and it was then that I could hear myself, inside my dream, cry out, “Where is God?” Had I not prayed every day since 1987 when his Mom passed away from esophageal cancer that he would somehow find the strength to finally, once and for all, give up smoking??? It was in that moment, I believe, that I began to wake up and I lay there thinking over various moments in time as emotions from the past year came flooding back into my consciousness. So pronounced were these feelings that I grabbed the comfort cross (given to Crick during the last days of his illness & which I have kept close to me each night since his death) and I could feel the force of my hand squeezing the Jerusalem wood and seeking the help of the Sacred Heart whose prayer I have recently begun to include in my devotions. In the immediacy of my waking to the reality of the daylight now streaming through the windows, I began to try to sort through the reasons as to why all of these emotions were being resurrected now, so many months later.
As the events of the past day began to play back in my memory, it became more evident as to……… why this dream, and ………why now. It just so happens that I had decided earlier that day to download some of my favorite songs from my MP3 player in order create a new CD. As I was searching through the various functions, I saw that there were a few voice recordings showing up, and so I opened up the files and discovered several hospital and doctor visits which I had recorded so that Crick and I could reference the specifics of the doctor’s information later on. Hearing Crick’s voice after so many months as he alternately answered and asked questions in his always teasing & carefree way could most certainly have been the catalyst for the vivid imagery of the dream. Those stupid cigarettes were at the source of many vigorous and contentious “discussions” between the two of us over many years and so it does not surprise me that they should make an appearance in my dream. Always, always, always when I think of how they played such a role in shortening the life of such a wonderful, kind, caring, loving, selfless, giving person sadness fills my heart…… (hey, if the media can bestow a halo on our President, I can confer one on Crick :)! ) Another incident that took place yesterday was the all-school Mass at I.C. when the First Communicants were honored and processed in & out of the church as they had done over the weekend. As I watched Natalie and Luke looking so excited, happy and innocent, it ran through my mind that while I knew that Crick really, in truth, had a better vision of it all than I did, my heart wanted him standing right there beside me waiting for him to reach out from the pew to teasingly harass them as they processed by.
Reflecting on the very profound sense of reality that my dream produced and particularly my question, “where is God?” gave pause for quite an early morning moment of introspection. I have recounted the following little “Aunt Evie story” many, many times to many different people over the past few years and today I could hear her admonition to me ever so clearly. Several years ago, I had gone over to her apartment for a visit & as we were sitting at her dining room table, I began to complain rather resentfully about Crick’s smoking addiction. She took hold of my arm, looked me directly in my eye and said in her no-nonsense way, “Mary Margaret…………..some people are just stronger (Aunt Evie emphasis) than other people.” What she said to me that day has resonated with me in so many scenarios ever since. She was absolutely right……we are all imperfect imitations of our Creator, we find ourselves continually falling short of our aspirations to become the best versions of ourselves and that is why we so need each other…………..to support one another, to forgive one another, to understand one another and to love one another.
Now, here is the really interesting ending to all of this which goes directly back to the last sentence. Later this afternoon when I retrieved my mail I saw two personal envelopes amidst the usual array of junk mail. I opened the first and found a most heartwarming letter from a very dear Army buddy of Crick’s from his two-year tour of duty in Korea back in 1967-69. In part, he wrote that for two months he had tried unsuccessfully to write me a condolence note, but that he could not find the words until that evening when he had been watching re-runs of the final “good-bye” episode of M-A-S-H (one of Crick’s all time favorite TV series) and decided he could no longer put off the letter. Allan wrote, “Jim (of course, Crick would not want his Army pals to know that he had a nickname of “Crick”) befriended me when I first arrived in Korea. We were fast friends as we went through Army trials together, laughed together, froze together in the winter and sweated together in the summer…………………………Many parts of my life are now just a blur, but I remember just about every moment of my time in Korea with Jim. I will always owe Jim for being my Army mentor…………………………please, when you have the opportunity, tell your children that this is one old soldier and one old soldier’s wife who knew Jim, loved Jim and are truly sorry about his death.” That one letter would have been quite enough to confirm the belief I have, that God’s abundant love continues to shower me with His un-endless blessings, but there was to be more. As I put Allan’s comforting letter down, I reached for the second envelope……………………..it was a brief, but touching and compassionate note from a very dear childhood friend who had already shared so much of her time and effort over the past year in sending (over many miles) packages of soups and cookies and had also given quite a generous donation to I.C. in Crick’s name……………….and now………. was sending yet another selfless and magnanimous financial gift. As I have stated before, tears do not come easily to me, but this past month has been a bit of an emotional one and mostly in a good way as I have given witness to the genuine kindness and nobleness of friends and family.
One last thought about the significance of this dream, these blessings, this day…………………………………………………………….
“As you sit quietly in My Presence, remember that I am a God of abundance. I will never run out of resources. My capacity to bless you is unlimited. You live in a world of supply and demand, where necessary things are often scarce. Even if you personally have enough, you see poverty in the world around you. It is impossible for you to comprehend the lavishness of My provisions: the fullness of My glorious riches. Through spending time in My Presence you gain glimpses of My overflowing vastness. These glimpses are tiny foretastes of what you will experience eternally in heaven. Even now you have access to as much of Me as you have faith to receive. Rejoice in My abundance—-living by faith, not by sight.” from Jesus Calling
Tonight I will give thanks to a God who has blessed me with a faith that allows me to experience His love in the goodness of all those whom He has placed on my journey :).
P.S. Did you all catch the “significance” of the title of the blog??!! Kinda’ catchy, don’t you think??…………………now where have I heard that before??!!