Last night I dreamed of Mandalay, is the first line from the movie Rebbecca. Last night I dreamed about my 1988 trip to Israel. Of course I know that my dreams were triggered from Dena's stories, pictures and observations from her recent trip to Israel and Jordan. She has just returned and last night to celebrate her return home we had Mexican food at Molina's. How appropriate to return to where we celebrated her imminent trip and as I said before, a friend sends off a friend on a long trip with some chips and salsa in her tummy.
I went to Israel with the choir of First Baptist in 1988. I don't know that I would have gone if I hadn't been talked into going by friends. Got to love friends that encourage you to step way out of the comfort zone. One of the main reasons I didn't really want to go was our little puppy Tiff. She had only lived with us a few months and at that point in time I think I was more sad about leaving her behind than Roy or family. I had the most interesting dream before leaving for Israel. I dreamed about my Grandma Brownlow. You know how dreams can be one minute something is happening and the next minute someone you went to first grade with makes a cameo appearance in the dream and then the dream continues? In this dream, I was with a group of people when my long dead Grandma walks right up to me. I am so thrilled to see her and want to hug and kiss her. She stops me and asks, do you want to know what heaven feels like? Of course I said yes and she took my hand. To this day 18 years later I remember how powerful and yet light, this sensation as it penetrated through me. It was warm and my chest felt like joy was going to spill right out of me. And she and I began floating and then flying. It was awesome, I didn't want the whole experience to end. She brought me back to the group, who in my dream could not see her, and said God sent me just to let you know what heaven feels like.
When I told my dream to my family and friends, the same thought entered...is Nancy going to die in Israel? Well, we know I didn't. I think that dream was one of those God dreams given as a gift from Him, not to worry.
Thinking through my trip to Jordan, Israel, back to Jordon and then on to Rome has always been overshadowed by how much I hated the time in Amman. It was poor follow through by the travel agent used by the choir that some of us came to Israel via this route. Looking back at my pictures last night, the people picked for the detour where those of us who are assumed to roll with the punches, that we will make the whole experience fun and exciting and won't complain. I don't mind being that kind of person, but it seems like I have missed out on a lot of fun by being the one to sit at a reception dinner with all the odd balls who have come that don't know anyone and I am there cause I can talk to a wall and make everyone laugh and feel welcomed. There are a lot of those times I would really like to be with my friends and not be the fun camp counselor.
In Israel I could never relax because each day was getting closer to going back to Amman and leaving there to Rome. But there in Israel I took a ton of pictures, went to every holy site mentioned or not mentioned in the Bible and thought that some huge spiritual experience would hit me. I was moved by some things but never had that whack in my spirit of anything that resembled or seemed holy. We were singing, touring, and visiting so many places. I was tired exhausted and then in the middle of the afternoon before returning to Amman, I missed Roy something awful. I just needed to hear his voice. So I made the expensive phone call and woke him up in the middle of the night. I was not disappointed cause even coming out of deep sleep, he made me feel good. He had traveled all over Europe before we married and he gave me this piece of advice, don't be the first or last in line at the airport. When in Amman, I did not follow that advice and am so glad I didn't.
Looking at Dena's pictures and then coming home to look at mine, I now remembered where we had been. Peggy and I look so young. Bill had dark hair. We were much skinner then and Andy wasn't paralyzed.
God's timing is always right. Last night, before the hour of going to sleep and then in my dreams, God brought some truths home to me that had laid dormant in me for 18 years from this trip. This morning when I awoke is the first time I have not looked at that trip with regret and a sense of loss. Maybe there will be stories for the blog another day or maybe the stories are meant for me to ponder in my heart.
This I know, welcoming Dena home and looking at my pictures from 1988 gave me renewed appreciation for the friendships that God has gifted me with. While Dena shared in class this morning from the journal she kept while in Israel, I didn't lament the fact that I hadn't kept one on my trip. Really, there would have been nothing to record other than we had to return to Jordan and go back through the Allenby Bridge and I was mad, scared and angry about the whole thing.
I may not remember where we were while there, but I have the photos to cherish of friends stilled embraced and treasured and friends who moved on and didn't give another thought.
While I am being long winded word wise, I will also remind myself of this. There cannot be enough said to encourage us to say kind thoughts or words of love and encouragement to those we cherish and love. This week the paper has had several articles on hand written letters and the importance of keeping that ancient tradition alive today. There is nothing so nice as to hold a letter from a friend who just happened to think of you and wanted to let you know. Even a phone call is great. I got one of those messages last night from CourtneyS and it made my evening to know she was somewhere and she thought of me. I have some Thanksgiving cards I bought and plan to send a few of those out with words of gratitude and appreciation to my loved ones and friends. Take the time to say some words that will let someone know you love and care. If this is difficult for you to do, start easy and simple and practice will make perfect.
Last night I dreamed of my trip to Israel. I hope I don't do that again tonight cause after those marvelous dreams, I could not go back to sleep. I was thinking them through and the richness that was there-in came alive and kept me awake.