Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Heaven Is Only a Dream Away

I had a dream.  My dream was intense and very realistic.  Most importantly, it has brought me peace.

In my dream....

I went to heaven.  When I got there, there was no huge gate with Saint Peter sitting behind a big desk.  There were no angels with wings floating around.  When I got there, there was only one person:  my Grandad.  He was waiting for me.  He knew I was coming.  He looked exactly the same as he did most of my life:  he was strong with big hands, a big smile, and very little hair.  He was wearing his standard "uniform":  a golf shirt and slacks.  Only, in heaven, his shirt was white.  Bright white, like Gran had washed it with Clorox.  As soon as Grandad saw me, he smile grew wide and he said, "I've been waiting for you, girl.  Come on in."

He put his strong arm around me and we walked into heaven.  Grandad took me into a section that looked like a suburban neighborhood with big, beautiful houses on both sides of the street.  The street was white with a fog rising up off of it, almost like someone had a dry ice machine.  Where there might have been yards in front of each house, there was instead shimmery white light--sort of like a tub full of bubbles.  There were no trees, no grass, but it was very, very beautiful.  There were no other beings in sight, or even signs of life.  The only movement was from me and my Grandad, walking side by side. 

Finally he stopped in front of the biggest house.  He said, "This is it.  I want to show you around."

I wasn't sure at all what to expect, but I was not afraid.  He opened the door, and I immediately felt warmth and coziness.  It was the feeling of home.  I get a similar feeling when I sit in front of our Christmas tree, loving the lights.  Or after the boys go to bed and the house is still and quiet.  It is a feeling of contentment and belonging.

We stepped in to the house.  Grandad said, "I've been getting things ready for you."

Before I explain what he meant, I should let you know a little something about my Grandad.  When he lived here on earth, he was a builder.  Not for his job, but after he retired, he spent a lot of time here:

He made treasure boxes and bookshelves and tea trays.  All of us have some precious keepsake in our homes that was fashioned by Grandad's hands. 

So it really was no surprise in heaven that Grandad had a workshop.  It looked just like his red-roof shop that stands silently now, except that the roof, the walls, even the sign--were white.

Grandad had been working hard.  His restored body had added on to the place that God had ready for him when he left us in 2008.  As he walked me through the home, he proudly showed me each room.  Each was large, and the furniture was gleaming white.  There were rooms for each member of our family.  God and Grandad had made sure that our family would be together for eternity.  Each aunt and uncle had a room.  Every cousin (plus their significant other and their children) had a space of their own.  There was a room for Buck and Grandmama, my other grandparents.  In his own room, Grandad showed me the "pretty things" that he knew Gran would love.  There was a table covered in white porcelain figurines and tea cups--girly trinkets, if you will.  He was ready for her to join him.

The last room was mine.  Grandad pushed open the door, and I entered in amazement.  The room was cavernous.  There was a toolbox (white, of course) on the floor that looked just like the one Hubby's Papa gave him.  Grandad picked it up quickly and explained that he had been making some last-minute adjustments because he knew I was coming. I remember that the rooms had beds, but the unspoken  understanding was that they would never need to be used for sleeping or nursing a sickness, in the sense that I use my bed now.  They were simply for comfort.

There was space in my room for Hubby and my little cowboys.  Grandad knew they would be coming later.  I was not fearful or sad to be separated from them.  I, too, knew that they were coming.

After the house tour was over, Grandad led me back out the front door.  The house had a massive front porch with white railings, much like the one I've "pinned" onto my "Dreams" board on Pinterest.  Grandad had built two Cracker Barrel-like rocking chairs.  He sat in one, I sat in the other.  He took my hand in his, and we began to rock back and forth in perfect rhythm.  My grandfather said, "Now, girl, all we have to do is wait for the others." 

I woke up with a smile on my face.  It was more than a dream to me...it was an experience.  I felt--and still feel--an intense peace that I haven't known for as long as I've had The Sickness.  I don't know what the outcome of The Sickness will be, but I am certain that ultimately, my dream will become my reality.  This old body betrays me.  But when it gives out, I WILL GO HOME.  And what a glorious home is waiting for me!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Dear Baby,
Seven years ago today, I was a young mom with two babies at home.  As I maneuvered my enormous belly through the front doors of the hospital in the pre-dawn darkness, I wondered for about the millionth time what God could possibly be thinking.  How would I manage three babies?  What did I know about raising little boys?  How could I be the right person for this job?
At the end of that long day, there was you.  There was love at first sight.  The questions and doubts faded when I looked into your blue eyes.  On that day, I could not have fathomed what this day--your seventh birthday--would be like!
I would not have guessed that you, at Age Seven, would ask for a strawberry donut for your birthday breakfast.  I never would have thought that you would love to draw and color.  I couldn't have known that you would be a video game-playin' fool.  You are super-good at any game on any system.  In fact, I've pretty much stopped trying to keep up with which bad guy must be conquered in whatever world, because you leave me in the dust. 
You are a reader!  You like to read, although you prefer to read aloud to me (or better yet, have me read to you!).  You are learning to be fluent and you make great use of the punctuation marks (!! and ??) in your tone.  It makes me laugh out loud.  Our evenings reading together are some of the sweetest times!
Speaking of reading, you really like school.  I could barely stand to deliver you to first grade a few months ago, but of course, you never blinked an eye.  You just sat down and got to it.  You have what I think are crazy-hard spelling words for first grade, but you learn them and excel.  Your teacher adores you.  You are branching out and making new friends this year--I am so proud of you! 
You still have that funny little speech impediment that has plagued you since you learned to talk.  When you recently had pneumonia, Nana took you to the doctor's office.  The nurse gave you a breathing treatment, and then asked, "Do you feel better now?"  You scrunched up your muppet-face and replied, "Not weawwy."  As your mother, I will probably always find your misuse of sounds endearing, but I know that it will become a bigger problem as you get older.  We are working with the powers that be at school to correct you.  (There's a big difference, son, in "correction" and "change."  I wouldn't want to change you for the world!)
At home, you are probably the most stable of the five of us.  I find it simply delightful how you just go with the flow.  No matter what is going on, you remain happy and easy-going.  It doesn't matter to you if someone is grumpy or sick; you stay the same.  Our family has been, figuratively speaking, swimming uphill for a good part of this year.  On days when I simply didn't think I could stay in the water one minute longer, you gave me the strength and incentive I needed to keep on.
You worship your brothers.  After months of being separated, you and Little Middle jumped on the chance to go back to sharing a room.  You guys are the best of friends.  There are many nights that I have to poke my head into your room and "remind" you that there is no talking--or laughing!--after lights out, but I'll tell you a secret:  I don't really care.  I love it that the two of you are in there together making brother-memories.  You love Goliath, too, although his new pre-adolescent hormone thing can be hard to take sometimes.  Still, you know that he would do anything to protect his baby brother.  He can talk you into being on his "team" for anything, from a simple game of keep-away to dropping forbidden items out of the second story window onto the front lawn.  You boys!
Although you aren't as die-hard as Little Middle, your favorite toys are Legos.  Well, that and guns.  How many Nerf bullets am I going to pick up in your lifetime?!?  You aren't scared of much, and you are getting pretty good at catching creepy-crawly things.  You are fascinated with bug-watching, trampoline-jumping, and bike-riding.  Even with all these normal little-boy activities, though, you still have such a tender heart!  As you were getting dressed for school one morning, you asked me what we were going to do that evening.  I told you that we didn't have any special plans, and you said, "Good!  Then can we snuggle up together and watch a movie in your big bed?"  How I hope that you never get too big to snuggle with me!
As is always the case, God knew just what he was doing when He made you for me.  See, Baby, you and I have something special.  I love your brothers, no question about it.  But you...oh, wonderful little you!  I didn't think I could handle you.  I didn't think I deserved you.  I didn't think I could do right by you.  And sometimes, I still revisit those old fears.  But you have loved me from Day 1 in spite of myself with the purest, most beautiful love I could have imagined.  We go together, you and me.  Yes, you're growing up.  But my mommy-instinct tells me that you will always need me and want me.  You are my Baby, after all!
Happy Birthday, Baby boy.