Here’s one for those who enjoy finding hidden meanings in dreams.
A few weeks ago, I had a dream about my mom. She came in through the back door of my house and stood on the landing leading to the kitchen. I was doing something at the sink — maybe preparing something for a family gathering. I was conscious of other people in the house — my kids, Paul, my dad — but they were not involved in the moment.
I kept doing what I was doing as I turned to look at her. She was young and beautiful, clothed in a 1950’s style red dress — fitted waistline, flared at the bottom. Her black hair was short, framing her face with soft wavy curls. A broad smile made her face almost glow.
She moved toward me to kiss me, but I stopped her cold.
Don’t kiss me, Mom. I’ve been sick, and I wouldn’t want you to get sick, too, I said in the dream.
She moved toward me anyway and wrapped her arms around me, hugging me for a long time. I could see her face (which, in reality, would have been behind me). Her eyes were closed. She was smiling, and I could hear her saying how good it felt to hold me in her arms again.
It was then that I remembered she had died years ago. I wondered how she could be in my kitchen, holding me in such an intimate way.
She walked back to the landing and turned around to face me. With a full-on smile and eyes that radiated love and sparkled with joy, she waved goodbye and walked out.
I think that’s when I woke up.
The dream stayed with me as the day went on. I could still see her face looking into mine and could feel her emotion as she hugged me. I marveled at the radiance of her smile, the sense of peace that emanated from her.
My mother in the dream was a very different woman than the one I’d known. My mom had always expressed her love for me verbally, but hugs were awkward (at least as I remember them as an adult). If I wrapped my arms around her, she would not reciprocate; her arms remained safely at her side and came up only to signal she wanted out of my embrace. In this life, she wasn’t a free spirit; she stayed pretty close to home, preferring safety and security over adventure.
The woman I encountered in my dream was free, unencumbered by self-doubt, fear, anger and all the other baggage my mother dealt with here on earth. There was a spring in her step, an emotional energy I don’t remember seeing in my mom. She seemed just as happy to have been with me as she was to get back to the place from where she came from.
I wondered why I dreamed such a dream. Yes, I reminisced with my sister about my mom the day before, but I sensed there was more.
My pondering led me to an evening back in the 1980’s when I prayed with my mom after attending a class at my church. She wanted to lay down the notion that she had to earn her way into heaven and, instead, accept the reconciliation God offers us by grace through faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. She wanted the peace and assurance she’d been reading and hearing about in the class.
I’m not sure why I hadn’t remembered that moment at the time of her death or when I wrote her eulogy. But remembering it then reassured me that she was most definitely a citizen of God’s kingdom in heaven and, like the woman in my dream, more alive than she’d ever been.
Since all thoughts lead to Paul these days, I wondered how he would have interpreted my dream as he so often did. I wondered what the dream was saying to me about him.
All I know is that somehow the dream woman’s behavior bolstered my trust that Paul was also free and happy in the presence of God. It allowed me to imagine his one-of-a-kind smile reflecting his joy in being so alive in the company of the saints. It lifted my spirit to think of him transformed into his best self on the other side.
I was happy for him and happy to have had the dream.
More than that, I was grateful to God, who cares so deeply for me, that he would use my dreams to console me and give me the courage to carry on until it’s my turn to experience the fullness of eternal life that Paul and my mom already have.
Paul was my dream interpreter; so, in his absence, I’d love to hear what you have to say about my dream. Feel free to share your insights in the comments below. I’d also love to hear about the dreams you’ve had that spoke to you or changed your outlook on things.
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