Some dreams you never forget. I once awakened from a dream of embracing a best friend only to discover he had died while I was having the dream. It was one of those bittersweet moments you never forget. I don’t often dream. When I do dream, I wake up knowing I have dreamed even I I can’t remember what it was. Sometimes I wake up from the dream remembering it entirely.
On August 17th, I had a dream. It was a dream so painful that I woke up because I couldn’t bear to remain in the world of that dream any longer. It was an odd dream–the kind where you only know your general location but your surroundings bear no distinguishing marks. I was in some kind of grocery store, walking up and down the aisles. A gradual pain overtook me like the coolness of an evening as the shadows spread across the ground. It was a pressure, a growing, constant pressure in my head, just in front of my ears. As the pain grew, I became unstable, staggering down the aisle until I collapsed on the floor. The next thing I remember was several fellows, apparently first responders, pulling me to my feet, insisting that I stand, but I could not. The pain was so severe, I made a conscious decision to wake up at that very moment, and so I did.
To my shock and slight horror, I found that though I had forcefully wrested myself from the dream, the pain was real. The constant pressure in the dream that grew until it became entirely unbearable was not just a dream. In disbelief, I tried to shake the feeling, thinking perhaps it was just an aftershock, something lingering in the nervous system from the imagined realm that my body just needed a moment to recalibrate. Hours passed, but the pain remained.
From that day until now, the headache has remained. The pressure has spread from just in front of the ears to the temples, upper jaw, and back of the head, while the intensity of the pain varies, showing little predictability besides time of day and the movement of my body.
For those of you who know me, you know that I am invincible-ish. Nothing stops me, and very little slows me down. There have been very few occasions when I have deemed myself unable to handle physical ailments and have sought medical attention, and it has been even more rare that an ailment reminds me of my mortality. This is the case presently. Being a missionary, I don’t have health insurance and all that wonderful stuff, and thankfully, I seldom would ever have a need for it. Now it appears I do. The past 26 days of suffering have rendered me even unable to work to earn the money needed for medical assistance. Today will be the third attempt to be seen by a physician, and hopefully, they will be able to discover the cause and solution to this predicament. In moments of weakness, my heart fears for the future.
For the second time in my life, I’ve found myself staring off into space, breathlessly thinking, “I could die. I could really die.” It’s a silly thought. Kind of short sighted. Kind of juvenile. I break away from those moments and look at all that has led up to this moment in my life. I see so many miracles. So many miracles. Miracles to save my life. Miracles to direct my steps in life. Miracles to restore my faith when fear strives for the mastery. Then came to my mind a verse from a song my family used to sing so much.
“His own soft hand shall wipe the tears from every weeping eye; And pains, and groans, and griefs, and fears, and death itself, shall die. Oh, that will be joyful, joyful, joyful, Oh that will be joyful when we meet to part no more.”
So long as we live on this sin-infested planet, these pains, groans, griefs, and fears, and yes, even death itself will be a part of our existence. I’ve been suffering a lot more than usual these past few weeks. I pray to God that we find a solution for it soon, and that He would continue to provide for all of our needs, as He has so faithfully done in times passed. I pray also for you, my brothers and sisters, that your faith would not falter, but that your trust, your hope, your peace would ever be found in the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
If you stand in need of any prayers, please send me a message…and if you can, a picture. I’ve got an album on my phone, a sort of picture-prayer-list. I would be pleased and honored to carry your burdens and cares, along with my own, to the foot of the cross. May God’s peace be yours, today and every day.