Eight years ago today, I experienced one of the toughest things that I have ever had to experience in my life. It was something that shook me to the core, and I still get emotional when I think about it.
I wrote the following only days afterward, and I felt like it would be a good time to share with our Daily Mountain Eagle readers once again:
Sometimes a dream is so much more. Last week, I had one of those dreams.
The first thing I remember is floating through the most beautiful blue sky. As I soared through the clouds, I noticed green grass below and what looked like the largest playground in the world.
I say it was large, because I was hovering above and it continued as far as I could see. I would compare it to an aerial view of the Great Wall of China.
The closer I got, it was obvious that it was a massive playground and there was a sea of children playing on it. I remember the playground being extremely colorful and it looked to be handicap accessible, but there were no handicap children. There were all kinds of ramps, swings and slides.
The rumble of the children playing was a beautiful sound. The noise all came together, almost like a song or music.
I started walking through the playground and was drawn to an area, which I felt was its center. With children running and playing all around me, I noticed a man sitting on a park bench. He had dark skin. He looked a bit like Bob Marley, but instead of dreadlocks, he had bushy, brown hair. I don’t remember the exact clothes he was wearing, but it was something athletic, like a T-shirt and basketball shorts or nylon pants. He looked like he had been enjoying the playground.
As our eyes met, I knew exactly who he was. Seated just below the man with their backs to me were three children. In the midst of all this motion and noise, they were just sitting there. It was like they were waiting for something — or someone.
By this point, I was only 10 feet or so away from the group. The man turned his head a little and smiled at me. He raise his arms forward, motioning the children to turn towards me. As they turned, my heart started to race. I saw the trio and realized they were mine. They saw me and realized the same thing. They immediately leapt to their feet and began to run towards me. I was already running in their direction, and I swept them up in my arms in the biggest bear hug imaginable.
The noise that surrounded me was completely drowned out by sounds of three little children exclaiming, “Daddy!” We hugged and danced. There were no tears — only laughter. That’s about all I remember.
There are a few other small details. I noticed the man playing with the other children as we celebrated our reunion. I remember running, jumping and dancing. I also remember it seems like so much was said, but there were no words.
As I woke up the next morning, the dream was all I could think about. It was so vivid. It wasn’t like most dreams, where you remember it in a fog. It was like coming back from a great trip, and reliving the memories that were built.
That dream took place last Thursday night, the night after Andrea and I lost our third child due to miscarriage in the past year and a half. That day before, I had watched a precious little girl be born that I knew I’d never get to take care of. I knew I’d never get to hug her. I’d never dance with her, and I’d never hear her beautiful laugh. I was hurt. I was angry. It didn’t make sense, and it still doesn’t.
I believe God saw my hurt. He felt my pain and I firmly believe he used that dream to give me the chance to not only hug and dance with little Meadow Hope Phillips, but He also let me do the same with her brother and sister that were in heaven before her. I got to hear their laughter and play with them on the largest playground anyone could ever imagine.
I couldn’t tell you exactly what those three looked like, but I will never forget their little voices. I’ll never forget hearing them call me “Daddy.”
God has blessed me with three awesome little ones to take care of here, and He’s also blessed me with three awesome children that He rescued for me. I still can’t make sense of losing a little life, but my short trip to heaven’s playground has given me peace about it that I don’t understand.
James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at 205-221-2840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.