I don’t usually remember my dreams. I awake often remembering general emotions, but details are either fuzzy or completely forgotten. When I do remember my dreams, I tend to analyze them. Perhaps too much. As an unabashed “story guy,” I love reading significant things into the seemingly insignificant.
I went to bed the night of December 31, 2013 pushing 3am. After attending a week-long conference inundated with hope and healing and culminating in a New Year’s Eve worship celebration, my first night’s sleep into 2014 would produce one of the most vivid dreams of my life.
Months later, I still can’t get over it.
/ / /
I stand in a white hospital room wearing blue scrubs. My hair is longer than I usually keep it, sweeping over my eyebrows. Light slinks through the unfurled blinds, and as I look up from the tiled floor, a woman in white is handing me something — someone.
Unable to think, unable to process, unable to feel, I extend my arms and accept a newborn boy swaddled in white. His cheeks are ruddy and puffy. His dirty blonde hair stands fuller in the middle than the sides, arced innocently above his forehead like a teenage faux-hawk he’d styled in the womb. His marble eyes are closed, and though I cannot visibly detect them, I am certain his irises are vibrant and blue.
As the woman hands me this thing, this little human, this bundle of sleeping bliss, and as I anchor my arms beneath him and absorb the weight of his fragile frame, my blood rushes to liquid fire. My knees buckle and my insides cascade over what – who – I am holding.
After three decades of self-shame, self-despair, and oft declared self-impossibility, I look down at my chest and finally start to think, process, feel. In my arms I hold the weight of a lifetime of wandering and wondering. Standing here, standing now, I catch infantile breaths the size of thimbles inhaling and exhaling against my quivering chest.
I am holding my son in my arms, and beyond any blogs and books, he is the most prized thing I have ever created.
I have known this tiny masculine person for mere seconds, and he is already my heart, my hero, my hope fulfilled from a life ripe with struggle. Suddenly, no previous pitfall matters. No tearful travail. No despairing day or night.
If I had to endure 20, 30, 60 arduous years of that to reach this, then this singular hospital room was worth the whole hard journey. I would readily endure another 20, 30, 60 of even more horrible heartache to hold this child in my arms. My sleeping son.
I would do it all over again just to watch him sleep and wake and crawl and stand and fall and rise again. To hold him and hold him and one day release him to create his own masterpieces as has been instilled within each of us to do.
My brother stands beside me and captures this moment on his iPod Touch (or perhaps it was an iPhone?). The black-and-white photograph he posts online features a barely discernible tear snaking down my cheek. It accumulates 73 likes within the ensuing minutes.
And so, I close my eyes and hug my son closer, his warmth emanating into my own, the physical boundary of our bodily auras now indiscernible as I think, process, feel one resounding thing:
It was worth it, it was worth it, it was all worth it…
/ / /
Waking up from one of the realest dreams ever dreamt in twenty-six-and-three-quarter years, I felt a cacophony of emotions searing like wax over my heart.
I’m a big believer that God still speaks to people in the 21st century. That God speaks to us in ways as diverse as the peoples of Earth themselves. I believe God speaks to us through His Word, yes, but also through conversations and sunsets and even dreams.
That’s not to say every intense dream comes laced with some secured vision for the future. But I can’t help wondering about this impossible thing that’s long been the desire of my heart: to have a son.
It’s fun to entertain the impossible sometimes; it’s also terrifying to hope in the impossible. To hope and wait, wait and hope, and to repeatedly wonder if you’re really the fool others figure you to be.
How did the restless Israelites feel when God promised a land flowing with milk and honey, only to track endless steps in the sand for several decades?
How did a chosen Noah feel when God promised rescue from floodwaters, only to build a ridiculous boat on dry land for over a century?
How did a 100-year-old barren Abraham feel when God finally promised him a son, only to wait yet another hopeless decade?
I imagine all “impossible” promises and prophecies and visions evoke similar emotions. Beautiful, breathtaking things, yet often laced with long burdensome waiting.
Waiting, waiting, and increasingly anxious waiting…