Oftentimes I have dreams featuring my sons that keep me from going back to sleep. Such was a
dream last night—it was heart-wrenching.
In the dream, I was sitting on my front porch.
(even though, in reality, I don’t have a front
porch) and watched as my youngest son
walked down the road with lots of his friends
—-all about the same size and age. He was
walking away, happy and excited about being with his friends, but I somehow knew that he would not be coming back. I was so sad and cried out, “Tyler, goodbye; I love you!” He responded cheerfully, “I love you, daddy,” but he never looked back, slowed his pace, or waved…..he just kept walking. (As I write this, the tears are still swelling up!)
I woke up and wept. That morning as I cried again, I shared the dream with Tyler; as he hugged
me, he reassured me that he would never leave me—but who really knows what’s in store over
the next few years? I have tried to figure out what causes such suffering and pining
in dreams like this. I truly want Tyler and my other sons to live their own dreams and lives, to be
independent of me one day, and yet I am heart-stricken when I have dreams about them one day
leaving the nest. I suppose what gripped my heart the most was not seeing my youngest turn
around and look at me. I was hoping he would return and tell me that he had changed his mind
and was not going with his friends but preferred to stay with me.
What prompted this dream, I think, is that I am studying the book of Ruth this week. You
probably know that Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, had lost her husband and two sons, and she
urged Ruth to find a better life by leaving her and going back to her own people; but Ruth clung
to Naomi and said: “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will
go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where
you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if
even death separates you and me.”
What wonderful affection and devotion Ruth showed to Naomi! How blessed Naomi was to
have such a daughter-in-law. I suppose we all hope to have people in our lives like Ruth—-
people that truly love us, keep their vows, and never let go of our hands! Sadly, it’s rare in
life to come across this kind of devotion and determination—there aren’t many Ruths in our
lives. To my own shame, I know that although I want to be that same “Ruth” for others, I don’t
always “look back,” smile, and wave to those that have been a blessing to me.
But now, more than ever, I want to be more like Ruth and raise sons to be like Ruth! Lately
I am more and more anxious to go to that eternal place where those I love will never walk away
from me, turn their faces from me, or abandon me…