Monthly Archives: January 2014

Aunt Ruby’s Dream

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Home Places and listening to my instincts…

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 was a monthly in-service at the hospice where I volunteer. The morning was muggy and humid so instead of pants I wore a lightweight dress with a cardigan over it, and the outfit turned out to be cute. Plus it was a great hair day, so the morning started off on a bright note. The thought crossed my mind that I ought to go and check in on Aunt Ruby after in-service was over.

At our in-service I was able to see Glenda, a lovely friend who was in my volunteer training group back in 2009 and with whom I had shared Monday afternoons at the hospice until our schedules changed and we rarely ran into each other anymore. We even had our picture made together that day, and it is a treasure to me for a number of reasons. We had a wonderful visit and caught up on each other’s lives as best we could in the time we had together.

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My outfit was cute, my hair looked good, and visiting with Glenda had filled my heart with happiness. Something inside my happy heart kept telling me, “You should go and see Aunt Ruby while you’re out today.” After I left the hospice I did a little shopping, and I found a very cute pair of faux-suede boots with a plush fur lining on sale for a ridiculous price. The stores had already started putting out their fall stock, and as hot as the day was, I could look at those boots and dream about the cooler weather that would eventually come. Pulling out of the mall parking lot, my spirit once again tugged at me. ”Go and see Aunt Ruby while you’re out today. You NEED to go and see her.” So I whipped my car back toward the north end of town and headed to the assisted living where Aunt Ruby had spent the last several months, her new home.

When I arrived she was sitting on the end of a sofa, napping, as had become her daily post-lunch routine. I sat down next to her and she opened her eyes and smiled before I even said hello, scooping her into a big hug. Her eyesight was very poor but I was close enough to her that she could recognize me even before she heard my voice. That smile and that hug made me very happy that I had listened to my instincts and gone on to visit with her. But our conversation held other blessings— mixed, prophetic ones.

At one point during our visit she said, “You know, I had the most unusual dream last night.” I asked her what she had dreamed about and she said, “I dreamed about Mother and Daddy and the old home place.”

“Really?” I asked. ”Was it a good dream? What all do you remember about it?”

She said, “Oh, it was a nice dream. I just dreamed that we were all there together again, the kids and everybody, and we were all so happy.”

With a lump in my throat and a queasy stomach, I said, “It sounds wonderful.  I’m glad you had such a happy dream.”

She said, “Oh I am too, it was so nice to be with everybody again.”

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Less than 3 weeks later she had her massive stroke and was gone, at the advanced age of 88, and yet still so suddenly.   When I visited with her at the assisted living that muggy Tuesday and she shared her dream with me, I realized that she was getting closer to going Home, but I didn’t realize just how close she was.  I believe that wonderful dream of hers was God’s way of preparing her for Heaven and the trip she would be making there very soon…sooner than any of us ever expected.

For a number of years, every time we’ve gone on a vacation, I’ve had the niggling thought in the back of my mind that something might happen to Aunt Ruby while we were gone and we might have to make a frantic trip back home. Obviously I don’t have to think about that any longer. She is Home now, and I believe she is experiencing the scene from her dream, reunited with her parents and the rest of the family in a new, yet somehow familiar,  Home Place.

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I See The Moon

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The beauty of our dreams…

Mama’s last job was as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a nursing home.  She and Aunt Elaine worked together on the overnight shift at the nursing home where my Mamaw and Papaw were residents, and during this period Mama became a believer in “Moon Madness”, the phenomenon of strange behavior that happens near the time of the full moon.  She recounted numerous stories of normally placid residents exhibiting bizarre actions and personality changes with no other explanation than the moon phase. No changes in diet or medication, no alteration in their routines or unusual visitors, nothing else to account for the changes except for the full moon.  A coworker of mine who also worked in health care confirmed her own experiences with patients whose demeanor changed around the full moon.

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Mom Cutshaw told me that she and all her sisters experienced strange and vivid dreams around the full moon. I am a vivid dreamer with strong recall, and even I experience increased number and vividness of my dreams at full moon time.  It makes sense when one considers that the moon moves oceans and controls tides.  Our bodies are made mostly of water, so it stands to reason that when the moon is full, our dreams and moods might be affected.

My sleeping dreams seem to be beyond my control, the effort of my mind to make sense of the world around me, my wishes, fears and insecurities. I have a number of recurring themes in my sleeping dreams.  There is the “school dream” in which it is time to graduate or perform a recital only to realize that I haven’t been to class or a voice lesson all year; the “work dream” which can be either radio- or television-related, where I am in a control room about to go on the air and none of my equipment works.  There is also the “naked dream” in which I am in a public place and either partially or completely nude (I think most people have a version of this dream).

An unusual recurring scenario in my dreams is that I am traveling using an inappropriate mode of transportation.  For example, I am on the interstate with huge trucks whizzing all around me, but I am riding belly-down on a skateboard, or riding a 20-foot-high bicycle.  A psychiatrist would probably have a lot of fun dissecting this particular scenario.  I’m sure it must mean that something is terribly wrong with me!

My waking dreams are much more straightforward to me. I dream of winning the lottery, like most people do.  I dream about what I would do if I had unlimited financial resources.  I would pay off all our debts and all the debts of our family.  I’d purchase vacation homes in peaceful places I’ve visited, and I’d travel to places I’ve always wanted to go.  Sweet Pea would get every ridiculous man toy he could ever desire. I’d go back to school.  I would continue to work in some way, volunteering or whatever else I wanted to do to keep myself useful; I just wouldn’t have to worry about making a living.

The question is this: how much of my dreams really depends upon The Lottery Fairy landing on my front porch?  I think the secret of making my dreams come true is realizing that money doesn’t have that much to do with it.  My most earnest of dreams is simply to live a life that matters and to leave a positive mark on the people around me, to love and to be loved, and to please God.

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Snow Day

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There are many kinds of warmth…

Knoxville is not known as a mecca for snow lovers.  We have just received the first significant snow of 2014 and, along with it, record cold temperatures are coming.  I just went outside to get some bottles of water out of my car for fear they’d freeze and I had to go back into the house to get a bottle of warm water to pour down the door seal in order to unfreeze my door to get it open so I could GET the water bottles out.  While I did this, Our Boy Roy went outside for a brief tinkle and was pretty eager to get his business done and get back in the house!

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I scratched on my windshields and the snow looks fluffy, but it’s camouflaging ice underneath, so scraping/hacking/chiseling when I need to drive eventually will be necessary…and not fun.   For today, though, I am burrowed in, snuggled up with Our Boy Roy and grateful to be home.

I’ve called and texted Dad and Reed to make sure they are warm and dry.  Sweet Pea is at work and I am praying he can make it home safely tonight.  Right now the sunshine has broken through the cloud cover, which could actually make weather issues worse if melting occurs where the sun hits and then it refreezes, making ice where the snow used to be.

Days like this make me grateful…and a little sad.  I know that, while my house is not ideal, I have a roof over my head, I am safe and warm and dry.  I think of our homeless population on days like this and pray that they can find shelter and a meal.  I am grateful that I sing and serve at a church that helps neighbors in need and I know that my church and many others are providing warmth and food.  I am reminded of the fact that I and mine, we who are so few, have been blessed with so much, while there are so many among us with so little.  The paradox is not lost on me.

I think of the bereaved and the lonely on days like this and pray that they can find warmth of spirit.  I give thanks for the abundance of love in my life, for the provision of material needs and the gift of health.  I wrap myself in an old quilt, a flannel nightgown and fluffy socks, and settle into the simple comfort of just being warm enough.

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