Normally, I'm one of those people that dreams on a regular basis, yet rarely remembers them when I wake up. If by some chance I awake in the middle of a dream, I might remember bits and pieces of it, only to forget it when I start to think of something else.
To better remember my dreams, I started a dream diary about two years ago, and in doing so have begun to see a semi-prophetic pattern in some of my dreams; most of them involving my father.
For instance, on April 9th, 2008, I had a dream about visiting a museum with my dad. We were on the roof of the building, hoping to be able to see the entire city from it, and noticed that part of the building was being restored. There was metal chain-link fencing blocking off a section of the roof, and scaffolding along the outside of the building.
To get a better look at what work was being done, Dad and I decided to climb up on the fencing that was blocking off part of the roof. As we were climbing, my dad's section of the fence started to crumble, and he tumbled over the edge of the building. In horror, I ran to the edge, and saw that he was caught in a three foot space between two of the scaffolding.
Leaning over the edge as far as I could, I tried to grab him, but he was just beyond my reach. Then two men appeared behind me, and the first one reached for him, but he, too, failed to grab a hold of him. The second man, however, managed to grab him by his coat, but Dad slipped through his hands and fell to the ground.
Thinking my dad was surely dead, I hesitantly looked over the edge of the building, and saw him laying still on the ground. Crying out in devastation, I wailed "Oh, Daddy!", for I knew for certain that the fall had killed him. To my surprise and relief, however, he suddenly sat up! That's when my dream ended.
Shortly after having this dream, my dad had a conversation with an old army friend about struggling with anger issues. Dad learned that his friend, too, had been going through the same thing, and discovered through counseling that he has severe P.T.S.D. (post traumatic stress disorder) . He suggested that my dad, a Korean War veteran, get checked for it, too. He then set my dad up with the veterans hospital, so that he could get evaluated, and start on counseling. He needed to learn how to deal with his bad memories from the war, along with years of guilt he has carried over things he feels he failed to do.
When I learned about my dad's P.T.S.D., I wondered if my dream had something to do with this, and feared the part where he fell off the roof. Was something horrible going to happen to him? I could only take comfort in the fact that at the end of the dream he sat back up.
Then on August 2nd, 2008, two days before what I call "the worst week of my life", I had another dream. I was walking down the sidewalk in a city, and as I came to an intersection I saw a matronly looking woman standing on the corner with a teenage boy. I walked up to them, and the woman explained to me that she was an angel, and she needed to take me to see Jesus. Then the dream changed, and I found myself in the entry way of an apartment, and there was a knock at the door. I opened it, and standing in the doorway was Jesus, but not in traditional garb. To my surprise he had on Bermuda shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and his hair was cut in a short modern looking haircut. He looked rather hip!
After entering the apartment, he walked over to the kitchen table and motioned for me to join him. We then talked for a while (I, unfortunately, don't remember what we discussed), and then he took my left hand in his, and started examining it. With a concerned looked on his face, he said, "Oh no, you're wired this way, but not to this extent." Then, with his fingers, he reached in under the skin of my left hand, and to my shock, pulled out my tendons, and proceeded to massage them. Expecting to feel extreme pain, I looked on in surprise when I felt nothing, and then the dream ended.
When I woke up, I thought to myself, "Oh my, did he heal my hands?" (I'm a computer programmer, and suffer from carpal tunnel in both hands). However, something told me that the meaning of the dream was much, much deeper.
Two days later, on Monday, August 4th, 2008 I received a frantic phone call from my step-mom. She explained to me, between sobs, that my dad had been missing since Saturday evening. Sitting down for fear that I would collapse, I listened as she went over the events of the last two days.
According to my step-mom, my dad left on Saturday morning on a five and a half hour trip from their home to Fort Bragg, CA. He planned to visit an old army friend Saturday afternoon, and then from there would drive up to a cabin in the area, to spend a week or so with some artist friends, doing some on-location painting. (My dad is a well known local artist, and often takes short trips to find new subject matter for his oil paintings).
However, he never made it to his army friend's house, nor did he check in with my step-mom on Saturday. To make matters worse, he never made his connection with his artist friends, either. As would be expected, my poor step-mom was thinking the worst; that my dad had gotten into a wreck on the way, and was stranded, possibly injured, on some side road near God-knows where.
"This morning I went down to our local Police Department, and filed a missing person's report. I've been calling the Fort Bragg police several times a day, and they haven't seen him; they have no reports of accidents involving a 79 year old man," continued my step-mom.
"Why didn't you call me sooner?" I exclaimed. "I could have helped you with some of this!" Immediately, I wanted to take charge of the situation, and felt frustrated that I wasn't notified of my missing father until he was gone for nearly three days.
"I didn't want to bother you until I was certain he was truly missing," she explained. "But you can do this for me; call the hospitals, and see if there is any information on your father being submitted to one of them. Then perhaps call the Fort Bragg Police again to see if they've come up with anything."
I took down all the information she could give me, and set about calling the hospitals, police, and even my dad's friends to try to figure out where in the world he could possibly be. That was Monday morning. By Wednesday I was a wreck; there had been no sign of my missing dad.
Trying desperately to find him, I not only contacted the Fort Bragg Police, but I also tried to get my local television stations and newspapers to issue an alert for my dad. To my dismay, the media showed little interest in putting out an alert for a 79 year old man who was on a "camping trip"; they wanted stories about missing children, not old men. Also, I found that you cannot personally ask for an alert, it has to come directly from the Police Department, and only if they feel it is necessary.
Wednesday evening I received a call from a friend of mine who happens to be psychically gifted. This friend, for some reason, always seems to know when I need her help; this was definitely one of those times. I explained to her what was happening, and she immediately told me not to worry; my dad would call my step-mom this evening, and he would be coming home late Friday night. She went on to explain that he was not in the Fort Bragg area, but had decided instead to go into Oregon. She said she could see a train. He was not on it, but she was picking up a fascination with the train. She also told me that he was trying to get himself off his antidepressant medication.
As part of his treatment for P.T.S.D., my dad was taking an antidepressant to help him with his anger and depression. Unfortunately, as with most medications, this one had its share of side effects, and was making him very, very tired. Along with the sleepiness, he was unable to concentrate, and focus on his artwork. According to my psychic friend, my dad decided that he would take himself off the medication, or at least try cutting it in half, so he could get back to doing the things he loved. To do this, he needed to be by himself, as he knew none of his friends or family would allow him to even attempt this.
I thanked my friend as we hung up the phone, and then spent time in prayer, asking God to please make my father call home, and let my step-mom know that he was all right. About an hour later, my step-mom called me to let me know she had just gotten off the phone with my dad, and that he was okay. He wouldn't tell her when he was coming home, just that he was "O.K."
To make a long story short, my dad did return home late Friday evening around 10:30 PM. My psychic friend was not only correct about the day and time he'd come home, but she was also correct about his trip to Oregon, and that he was around trains. Apparently, he had stopped at some place that had antique trains, and stood marveling at how big and beautiful they were. She was also correct about the antidepressants. He couldn't be found at any of the local camp grounds, because he was camping on side roads trying to avoid the public, and because he was very ill from withdrawals.
Hindsight is 50-50.
As I look back on the dream I had in April 2008, and the one I had in August just before my dad disappeared, I can now see what they were meant to tell me.
The dream in April pointed to the journey my dad would be taking as he learned to cope with the affects of P.T.S.D. He would have several people reach out to him, trying to help him deal with his depression (a direct result of carrying years of guilt, regret and anger). Then in August, when we all thought we'd lost him, he would return to us, a bit worn for wear, but still alive.
The second dream was meant to temper me.
About four years ago, during my annual review at work, my manager told me that a couple of people had mentioned how blunt I can be. I was shocked to hear this, and even took a good friend aside and ask if she agreed; and she did. She told me, "Yes, you can be blunt. You're very knowledgeable, know what you're talking about, and don't mince words getting to the point. But you're getting better about it."
Not only do I struggle with being blunt, but I also have a tendency to step in and take control of a bad situation, whether I'm asked to or not. Two things that were not appropriate in the situation with my missing Father.
I don't live with my dad, and I don't understand how he thinks and feels as much as my step-mom does. I had to, despite myself, learn to listen to her, keep my opinions to myself, and let her call the shots. It wasn't easy, not in the least. We got into deep discussions about what to do when Dad got home: Get him a cell phone, or not get him a cell phone. Take away his driver's license, or not take it away. And so on and so on. Until finally I relented, and admitted, that she knew what to do much better than I did.
Update on my dad...
It's been over a year since Dad went missing, and according to my step-mom, he is doing much better, even though he has his good and bad days. On his good days he takes short trips with a friend, spending time fishing and painting. He no longer goes off on his own, and he always checks in with her to let her know where he is.
Even though it is difficult seeing him grow older and frail as he deals with his P.T.S.D., I am very thankful to God that I still have my dad in my life. I'm also thankful that through this I have grown and learned so much about myself. I now spend time in prayer everyday, giving thanks for all my many blessings, and asking God to continue to temper me, and help me be more loving, and kind, and understanding.