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Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.
I had a dream the other night. Granted, it was a Nyquil-induced dream, but it was worth mentioning, nonetheless. I dreamt that my dad was still alive, and we were taking Baby E over to his home for a visit. He plopped her on the bed and handed her a fly-swatter to play with. In the dream, I was biting my tongue to not correct him for giving her such a gross play thing. I watched his face as he watched her play. I saw love. I saw devotion. I saw amazement.
A single tear rolled down his cheek.
At the end of the dream, my dad pulled me to the side and gave me a side hug. He said, "I'm going to get better. I will. For her."
And the dream ended.
Have you ever had one of those dreams where it seemed so realistic that you have to pause for a few minutes upon waking just to check and see if those things in your dream really took place? That's what I had to do...not to mention, I was kind of hung over from the Nyquil. ;) I sat on the edge of my bed, slowly realizing that, no, my dad will never see my sweet baby. He will never get to watch her play. He is not with us, and that was his choice.
I was so very grateful for that dream. Let me explain.
Over the past few months, I have really clung to the above verse. I believe Paul was trying to teach the Phillippians to TRAIN their minds to think on things that were pure and lovely and praiseworthy, etc. It seems that our human minds more easily wander over to negative, hurtful, painful memories or thoughts, and, in order to break that habit, we must TRAIN our minds to think on the good, the excellent, the happy.
I've been trying to practice this spiritual discipline when it comes to memories of my Dad. Certainly his death brings about horrible images and sad memories, and even a lot of his life was not made up of lovely actions or words. However, he is the only Dad I have, and I have been working on training my mind. Whenever something reminds me of his death or a painful memory from our past crops up, I immediately try to snap my mind over to something happy from my memories with him. Joking around in our sarcastic way; our family trip to Europe where, in a game of "Truth," he tearfully told the group that the person he most admired and respected in the world was me; him accidentally stepping on my veil at my wedding after giving me away; funny email forwards I still have in my inbox; how he grilled the best hamburgers in the world; Saturday mornings at Panera Bread; the time he finally let me walk to elementary school on my own, only to find out he followed behind me in the car the entire way; his ridiculous red flannel shirts he insisted on wearing year-round; hearing him tell me he loved me and was proud of me over and over and over.
These are the things I will think on. What good is it to dwell on the hard, the sad, the hurtful when none of that changes anything?
No, I will think on the good, the happy, the peaceful.
I think that's why this dream meant so much to me. I'll never actually see him with my children, but, in the dream, it was like getting to see how he would have acted, would have felt, would have spoken. Does that make sense? Maybe not, but it was so touching to me that I had to write it down.
So that I'll remember to think on this dream, too.