Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On The Other Side

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 
I Corinthians 2:9  (KJV)

Have you ever thought much about Heaven?  Unfortunately, there isn’t an abundance in the Bible about it or what happens when our spirit leaves our body.  There are a few passages about it, along with many interpretations as to their meanings.  One thing we do know is that Jesus said He was going away to prepare a place for us, and since He went away to prepare it, He will come again and receive us unto Himself that where He is, there we may be also.  (John 14:1-3)

Please take the time to listen to a song called “On The Other Side” by one of Kevin’s and my favorite bluegrass groups, Dailey and Vincent.  This song was written by Tommy Dunbar and Kyle Vincent and really goes along with my thoughts tonight.

Have you ever wondered if there is a connection between us and the ones who have gone on before us?  I have a great interest in this, since two events happened regarding my Dad who died eleven years ago.  Both happenings were truly remarkable, and brought a great deal of comfort to me.  I haven’t shared these stories with many people, but I felt like God wanted them told, so here goes.

After Dad passed away, we moved a few hundred miles away to a whole new place that was very unfamiliar and very much unlike what we were used to.  We didn’t know anyone, felt completely out of place, and it was a pretty tough adjustment in many ways.  I was missing Dad so much, along with many other things that had been the same and familiar in our lives for so many years.  One of the things that hurt me most about leaving Florida was the fact that Dad is buried there.  I knew I probably wouldn’t get to go back often, and I just felt like I was leaving him behind and deserting him.  I know it isn’t really him in that grave…just the outward shell that I knew and loved.  But, yet, it still bothered me somehow, and I was having a hard time letting that part go. 

One evening, Zachary and I were in the strawberry field next door to our house picking strawberries, along with some young people from the church we were attending.  One of the girls snapped a picture of Zach and me.  I had the picture developed and noticed a light in the corner of it, but didn’t pay it much notice until one particular night.  We were getting ready to go to leave for West Virginia to visit Kevin’s family, and I was getting some things together that I wanted to take, including some pictures.  As I flipped through them, I came across the picture of Zach and me, and something just told me to look at it closer.  I began to closely examine it, and in the corner, where the light was streaming down, was a man’s face surrounded by white hair.  I know this may sound bizarre, especially to those of you who don’t believe things like this ever happen.  I didn’t either…until that night. 

As plain as day, it is my Dad’s face in that picture.  I am convinced of it.  It was like he was looking down upon Zachary and me, letting me know that he is at peace, and he is helping God watch over us.  It seemed like he knew I needed to know that I had not deserted him.  That his spirit is not in that grave, and that wherever I go, he will, in some sense, be with me.  I sat and stared at the picture for a very long time.  What a comfort it was that night and still is to me!

A few years later, in late 2005, I was going through a very low place in my life.  Some things had happened in my family that nearly crushed my spirit, and I was troubled and under an enormous amount of stress.  One night before Kevin and I went to sleep, I told him, “How I wish I knew what Dad would think of all of this!  I just wish I could somehow know how he would feel and what he would say.  Would he think I have done the right thing?  I wish so bad I could talk to him!”  We went to sleep and I thought no more of it, until I received two phone calls the very next day.  My Aunt Joyce called and told me she had dreamed about my Dad the night before.  In the dream, he told her to “Tell Cheryl everything is going to be all right”.  She had no idea I had gone to sleep wishing to hear from my Dad! 

Then, my brother-in-law, LD called me the very same day, unbeknownst to the fact that my aunt had called, and told me he had to tell me about a dream he had.  He has never met my Dad.  He and my sister were married a few years after Dad died.  But, he told me he dreamed of a man with white hair, whom he assumed must be my Dad.  The man told him to “Tell Cheryl not to let her good be evil spoken of.”  I said, “Isn’t that a Bible verse?”  Sure enough when I looked it up, it is found in Romans 14:16, and it says, “Let not then your good be evil spoken of…”  Without going into detail about what I was going through at the time, there could have been no words that would have been more appropriate to my situation.

I cannot begin to put into words how much both of these dreams comforted me.  And I will never be convinced of anything other than the fact that God allowed my deceased father to communicate that comfort to me and let me know I was on the right track.  Neither my aunt nor my brother-in-law knew about the other one’s dream, and neither of them knew how much I was longing to hear from my Dad. 

I have a dear friend, Jeanne, who has also had remarkable experiences of communication with her deceased parents.  She wrote an article about it that was featured in Woman’s World magazine.  With her permission, I am inserting her story here…
Dad died in 1975.  He started sending me pennies in the days following his funeral.  I was bombarded!  I got them when I needed them the most. For example, one day, while building my Department 56 Christmas village, I was praying out loud and talking to Dad saying I wished he were here to see this village.  At that moment I saw an empty space so I reached for a brand new accessory and when I opened it a penny fell out.  The accessory was tightly packed in a hugging styrofoam casing so there was really no room for a penny! I found pennies so often I filled up the various sizes of containers I kept them in.  Then my Mother passed away.  On the day of her funeral I found a dime.  I laughed and asked Mom if she was going to send me dimes.  I placed that dime in her hand before they closed her casket.  Then I started finding dimes all over in unusual places.  I once was watching TV when the dog had to go out.  I left the bedroom and when I came back I noticed something shiny on the rug next to the bed.  I reached down and picked up a tiny DIME charm.  I had never seen that charm before and had no idea how it got there!  Then I asked them to send me a dime AND a penny so I would know they were together.  I was bombarded with dimes and pennies together!  When my sister and I were together, we'd find TWO.  This has gone on since 1975 and my box is filled with coins.  NO nickels, and NO quarters except for once I laughed and said for them to send something bigger.  I got nickels next, then quarters then 2 one dollar bills. Then they went back to dimes and pennies and I haven't found anything bigger since.” 

My cousin, Julie, also told me a story about a time when she was feeling particularly low, wondering about the other side and how things would be, and God sent great comfort to her through a dream she had of a friend who had died.  In the dream, he came to her and said, “I can ASSURE YOU that we will be together.”  His words brought solace and greatly helped her through a difficult time in her life.

Some people find this a strange subject, and I surely do not mean to imply anything offensive or outlandish.  I can’t explain these kinds of things, but I absolutely believe they happen and are signs sent to us from a loving God.  He sends us the comfort we need, when we need it most and through the channel that would best convey and prove that it is Him.  He is so faithful...and He, along with our precious loved ones who are at rest with Him, are waiting for you and for me…on the other side.

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