The title may shock you, but he would have loved it.
“I love you and I miss you so much.” I said.
He spoke, his voice soft like a whisper, “I love you too.”
I could feel his hands on my back and his back in my hands. So real was the warmth of his neck against my cheek.
Outside there was a large crowd. George stood atop some sort of scaffolding. The people were climbing to reach him. Everyone was dressed in white, not a “hurt your eyes kind of white” but a soft, warm, cream color white, the kind of color easy to look at. Everything seemed to glow with light. So many were there to see him. I couldn’t tell if we had come to him or he had come to us. It didn’t matter. We were all together after too long apart.
Then I woke up.
I sat up in the bed and looked around. I was a little shocked and disappointed to find it was only a dream.
I went to the kitchen to brew some coffee. As happens sometimes, our fancy coffee maker malfunctioned. Hot coffee and grounds poured out all over the counter top. As I cleaned up the mess, my mind, still reeling from the intensity of my dream, I wondered aloud, “Well, George, what did you think of Lady Gaga’s performance at the Super Bowl yesterday?” Out of habit, I then reached for my phone to check Facebook. Not that George’s reaction to the Super Bowl Half Time Show would be there but I figured the rest of the world might have had something to say about it overnight and I was curious.
I logged in and right off the bat Facebook did as Facebook does these days and brought up a memory. To my amazement it was a photo of George together with our family. It was taken when he blessed our marriage on the occasion of our 10th wedding anniversary.
Just then I received a text from my sister, Jane. It was a video link to a new Reba Macintyre song called, Back to God. No kidding, I thought.
As I listened I wondered, “George, what do you think about the state of our world right now… about all the strange stuff going on? And by the way, could you please do something about it?” In my heart all he really said, as he touched his fingers to his brow and shook his head was; “Wow. Just wow.”
I talked with my sister Jane for a while when another sister beeped in. I merged the calls hoping she had good news to report about her seemingly never ending job hunt. After months and months of prayers without ceasing we were so happy to hear, “I got the job.” I thought to myself, I wonder if George had anything to do with this? I knew I had asked for his help. Maybe everything was finally going to fall in to place. Maybe he really was interceding for us.
I hung up the phone and said, “George, if you had anything to do with this, thanks.”
Then, suddenly, it hit me. What day is it? Answering my own question by looking at the calendar, It’s February 6th, 2017. I wondered, when did George die? I had to Google his obituary to confirm. In fact, it was today. Three years ago today, February 6th, 2014. Unbelievable. Wow. Just wow.
My dream felt like deep grief. I felt it in my gut. I didn’t realize I carried so much. At first I thought, maybe I should blog about this. On second thought, maybe it’s too sad a topic. Then a third thought came to me, it’s okay to grieve. I have been reminded that grief doesn’t end it just changes. It ebbs and flows with life. I was deeply consoled by the opportunity to see and feel the presence of my dear friend. I am so thankful and inspired to continue this walk of faith toward eternity.
Dear God, Thank you for the opportunity to see my friend and to feel him present.
Dear Fr. George,
Thank you for being there for all of us. You see things from the other side now. If you can, please continue to intercede for us and ask God to show us the way to go.
I felt you laugh when I came up with the title for this story. You continue to bring joy even in death.
Thanks and I love you.
Below you will find the YouTube video for; White Collar Blues. It's a little song I wrote for Fr. George for the 25th Anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood. It features the fantastic harmonica stylings of Greg McManus and the enthusiasm of a great crowd at Ilahee Hills Country Club.
1 Corinthians 15:51-57
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.