I dream often.
I remember most of my dreams for about a day after I wake up but there have only been a few dreams that have shaken me to the core…enough to write it down and share it with complete strangers…
For the past month, I haven’t been able to shake the images from a dream I had so maybe they aren’t just for me.
Since my dad died on Feb. 18, 2008 of cancer I have only dreamt about him twice. The second time was in late September 2009 and was so vivid that I can still smell, feel, and see all kinds of details about the experience that I will never forget.
I was walking with a couple of my friends into an unfamiliar church. I was in front of the group when I came around a corner and saw my dad standing there like he was waiting for me. He wasn’t sick anymore but had a big belly, like I remember him, and was a little hunched over like there was something wrong with his back.
In my spirit I knew that there was something different about him though – he had the ability to read thoughts. He was looking right at me and my first reaction was shame and fear. I was thinking about 31 years of my worst and most embarrassing moments, temptations, and struggles that he never knew about. But there I was, looking straight into his eyes, standing about 5 feet from him still in shock that he was alive with a burning question that I had to ask. After a pause that allowed me to take a quick, honest inventory I asked him, “Now that you know what you know, what do you feel about me?”
We instantly dove to hug eachother, squeezing so tightly that I could feel the fat of the skin on his back wrinkle in my fingers. We were crying uncontrollably but there was nothing to hold back anymore. All the secrets were revealed. I’ve never felt so unbelievably vulnerable yet safe as he began to answer the question by whispering in my ear, “I need you to know that I love you and I’m so proud of you. You’re a great son, you’re a great father…”
The affirmation went on but the words sank deep into my spirit. Even now, several weeks after the dream, it hits me hard. It was the most realistic expression of ultimate acceptance, belonging, and affirmation I’ve felt in a long time. I woke up and was surprised that I didn’t have to wipe tears and snot from my face, but it was only a dream.
Words that come from a father carry a unique power which can be used to bruise or heal the human heart. I’m glad that while my dad was alive he used his power to constantly affirm, encourage, and support any dream I had.
I miss that.
I crave that.
As I’ve thought about what the meaning of this dream is, I can’t help but see my dad symbolizing God and the Father heart of God. I can relate to the shame and fear I felt standing there in that church – I think a lot of people can – standing before God, the mind-reader, wondering what he really thinks about us.
What a beautiful and pure revelation of unconditional love and acceptance…even if it was in a dream.