Higher Education

8c5e1d_c0bf9b9bd2e54339af31b91acf1b44c7-mv2Just a couple nights ago, as I felt myself drifting into sleep, I asked (if) Mark could/would come visit me, in my dreams. I’ve asked this a lot, to be honest. And for whatever reason, God chose to answer my request this time.

As dreams often go, mine had about 4 different (and often weird) story-lines that sort of intersected at points:

(1) there was a wedding in India. I was watching a YouTube video about it: “watch this happy young couple’s reaction when they find out what their wedding gift is!” The gift was a gigantic factory that looked more like a palace. And they were quite excited.

(2) I was trying to get a bunch of kids from a weekend retreat out in the hills of VA (about 2 hours away) to church in time for Sunday morning services. At one point I was driving a car up an on-ramp and suddenly changed my mind and whipped the car to the opposite shoulder. Next thing I knew I was huddled under an overhang and a huge wreck occurred just above me – debris being flung into the grass just in front of my hiding spot.

(3) Ummm…the 3rd story-line is too vague to try and capture.

(4) I was walking along a sidewalk at what felt like a university, with Mark, and he was talking excitedly about all the things he’d been up to and all the things he still needed to do – as though he’d been at school for 2-3 weeks. This is the first time I can recall Mark actually speaking in a dream — it was his voice, his cadence. There were big glossy signs along the walkway, of the sort you see at historical markers and battlefields, where an explanation is given. In this case, the signs were about all the programs offered at this school, and Mark was gesturing somewhat dismissively at one sign and saying “some people go here for that program…” (to which I responded, “Oh, Leadership?” because Mark was often dismissive of kids who wanted leadership positions in HS because he judged them – see, he was not perfect – as shallow, just looking for “points” to add to their college resume).

As we continued walking, I found we were with a larger group of people – some from the retreat – and we passed a building that had a tree sticking out the side of it, as though the tree were blown into the structure by a storm, with the trunk and roots sticking out and the “head” of the tree buried within. I commented “who knew that incident would be one of many leading up to the worst?” (losing Mark) (and the tree vaguely reminded me of when a large tree branch came through our kitchen ceiling years ago) At this point a man in our group approached to say he had to get going. He shook Mark’s hand and said it was really nice to meet him. I whispered to the man, “I don’t think he knows he’s not really here.”

We were then inside some sort of building and Mark was in a tuxedo (he was “full-size” in my dream, no longer a little boy as he’s often appeared), as though he were preparing to go to something special (the wedding? Although I could see bridesmaids, one of whom I knew, taking off their red dresses with ermine trim, as though the wedding was done). We were facing each other in the midst of a crowd of people all trying to say their good-byes; I grasped Mark’s lapels and we were asking one another how long it would be before we saw each other again…and it was implicit that we did not know, but we sensed it would be a while, a very long time. And we hugged – we hugged a lot, we even kept hugging and trying to walk/move out of the way of others as we spoke. And I said, “But you’ll still come see me, right? You’ll still come visit me?” (meaning through dreams, and coins, and signs) and Mark seemed a little perplexed by this, like “we just agreed it would be a long time…?”

When I woke up at 3:35am and ran into the bathroom to write this all down, while it was fresh, my first thought – honestly – was “maybe Mark is not 100% aware that he’s dead?” I wonder about God’s love and grace and provision, about whether Mark is in a “school” of sorts…learning, happily engaged in the world he knows, excited that I came for a visit, looking forward – as I am – to when we will finally get to see each other again.

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