It was just this past October. I was dressed in business clothes, wool coat collar turned up against the wind. I had just safely navigated my very high heeled way down a perilous hill in Northwest Portland and was heading into the MAC (Multnomah Athletic Club). If you’ve never been to the MAC, all you need to know is that it’s where Portland’s uppercrust go to workout. A lot of major real estate functions are hosted there so I’ve been several times. I digress.On this October day, I was feeling particularly lonely and disheartened. Not because of the real estate meeting (I love those), but because of chronic pain and other chronic things. I was just about to open one of the front doors of the MAC when I felt—as closely as feel someone sitting next to you on the bus or moving to stand next to you line at the grocery store or scooting next to you on a diner bench- I felt that my (20+ years deceased) grandmother was walking next to me. This is the part of the story where, if it wasn’t me telling the story I would begin to get skeptical. Instead, it’s my own story and while I’m skeptical I cannot deny what happened to me. I walked in; went to the check in area where fancy women were laughing and suited men shaking hands. I took my name card and went to the restroom to reapply lipstick and came out and walked into a large room where the real estate breakfast was being held. Portland movers and shakers shook hands and drank coffee and smiled and I joined them; unable to shake the feeling that my grandma was by my side. I wasn’t alarmed. I felt emboldened. I felt brave; like a well loved friend just joined me at a party where I don’t know anyone.
The meeting speakers indicated they were going to start the function. I found my boss and we went to sit down at one of the tables.
I did a double take for the seat to my right, as I was almost positive that my grandma was sitting there. Since I couldn’t shake the feeling, I went with it, reveled in it.
I have missed her so much.
The meeting, a projection of the Portland apartment market for 2013, came and went and I smiled and nodded and shook hands and walked back up the hill to my car.
What can I say? I went back to work. I read Hebrews. I tried to find an explanation for what I felt. Still, she was with me. And she said “It’s going to be okay.” I swear to you. I swear on my grandmother’s life! (Bad joke? Well. She would think it was funny.) All day, there was this essence of her around everything I did, always “It’s going to be okay.”
I have cherished that day. I think about it. I try to talk myself out of it. But the thing is- I can’t talk myself IN to her feeling that close, so it’s difficult to talk myself OUT of it.
So this is the post where my friends may think I’ve lost my mind. I don’t know what happened that day. I decided to write about it again, because today, I’ve felt her close again and I just…. I just can’t shake it.
Two nights ago I dreamed that we were having dinner together, with a few others from my family. And everything was okay. I felt okay. In my dream, she looked like this:
Which is not how I’ve ever seen her, since my mom is the little girl in the picture. She was bustling around, feeding us all.
When I was 9 years old. I dreamed that I was in a green field. I was at a long table with strangers that I loved and they were new to me but we were all talking like old friends. Jesus was sitting across from me. I was waiting for someone though, waiting. I was enjoying talking and eating but-oh– I looked and who should be coming over the hill to the left? My grandma, with a tub of red vines (my favorite as a kid). And then everything was ok.
My belief that this is not the end is something that I struggle with sometimes. An afterlife where I can see old friends and meet new ones, one where I can sit and converse with Christ? At times it seems too magical and mystical. And frankly, just too good to be true. In a life where we are used to disappointment and tragedy and fear and worse, it’s difficult to imagine that there is a place where all of the good from earth is there, but none of the pain. But I do believe.
Ah. Should I explain myself? Tonight, I’m going to soak in the “it’s going to be okay” and I won’t try to explain it.
But friends, your dead will live,
your corpses will get to their feet.
All you dead and buried,
wake up! Sing!
Your dew is morning dew
catching the first rays of sun,
The earth bursting with life,
giving birth to the dead.
(Isaiah 26:19 MSG)