Dreams. A Glimpse of the Father’s Love.
(This is a transcript of Sally’s story.)
My dad was reported missing in action when I was seven years old; it was in February 1966. My mom and I were living in Abilene, just outside of Dyess Air Force Base. A taxi cab pulls up and it’s six o’clock. We were having dinner and he hands my mom a note and that’s what tells her that [my dad’s] missing in action. And of course, you know, as a kid I’m like… every day I come home from school going, “They find him yet?” In my head there’s got to be search parties out there looking for him. He’s just hiding in a jungle somewhere. Surely someone’s going to find him and bring him home. You know, nothing ever changed; the status didn’t change. In fact, the Air Force Base didn’t even know that he’d been reported missing until my mother called the next day. We were kind of on our own, there wasn’t any information. We weren’t allowed to know who else was there, what kind of plane it was, where he was going. Nothing. Everything was very secretive for a long, long time.
And then in the ’70s, when the war ended and everybody came home here, you watch it on TV and you just wish that was happening to you and it’s not. I start reading books because I wanted to know. What could have happened? Where could he be? Could he still be there? I read prisoner of war stories, so I had a better understanding of what they all went through. I prayed every night, Please send him home. Please bring him home. And after that happened, I realized that he’s not coming home. That it’s probably not going to happen. And after reading all those prisoner-of-war stories, I prayed that he didn’t survive.
[And then,] I don’t know what happened. I just wanted to know. So, I just, I started praying. I was probably around fourteen and I had a dream, and it’s still clear in my head. I just remember all I saw was a mountain. A green mountain and a plane on fire crashing right into this mountain. That was it. I woke up the next day going, that’s what happened. I know in my heart that’s what happened. I remember telling my mom and she goes, “You know, well, we don’t know. He could, you know, he still might be a prisoner of war. They don’t know everybody that was ever turned over. Or, he might have died as a prisoner of war. We don’t know.” And I thought, No! I already know this is what happened. It was like closure for me. I remember sharing it a couple times. My mother said, “You shouldn’t say that because you don’t know.” I thought, I do know. I don’t know why I know, but I just know. At the time, I didn’t know. Now, I know why I know.
Fast forward to when I was forty. My first husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore and handed me an envelope and literally just walked out the door on Good Friday. On Easter Sunday I was at this church. I remember sitting there thinking, I don’t know anybody here personally. I don’t know the pastor personally; I just go because I feel like I’m supposed to go. It was almost like I just went to confess how bad I was all the time. I never felt like He… You know, I felt like He was somebody who was looking down going, “Yeah, you are awful.” I also thought, It’s up to me; I don’t trust You to get me through. You let my dad die. I just don’t trust You to not make something else bad happen to me.
I remember I just didn’t know what to do. I remember going into this little side yard that I had at my house. In this hammock was a place that I started just praying out loud all the time. “I need You to tell me what I need to do. Please help me fix this. I’m supposed to be married. I don’t believe in divorce. Please fix me so I can fix this. Please tell me what I need to do. I can’t; I don’t know what to do.”
The worst thing—I’ve been abandoned again. I’m remember thinking, I’ve been abandoned again and it’s my fault. Please help me. I just audibly remember hearing Him say, “I’ve been waiting for you to call My name.” Everything changed that day. My relationship with Him [God] changed that day.
I realized all those things that I dreamt about, that those were gifts that He gave me. Gifts. Just like a glimpse of His power for me and His love for me.
[Then] one day my mom gets a letter in the mail from the government. Nobody ever makes a phone call to say, “Hey, we found a plane.” The serial numbers match and so forth and, you know, we had the manifest and people that were on it. We also found that at the time, they had made an unexpected stop and they picked up to two Chinese nationals. (But no one ever told us that either.) On the way, the plan was shot down and crashed. They found it. So, they asked the villagers, you know, “Do you remember this? The occurrence?” They go back and interview people that have been in the village their whole lives and they said, “Oh yeah, we remember distinctly. It came across the field, across rice paddies, and crashed into the mountain on fire. We went up there, but the flames were too high.” And they said, “We went up to see if we could pull anybody out, you know, but was it was too far gone.”
When she got that [letter], I was probably forty-five years old. So, from fourteen or fifteen years old to forty-five years old, and having confirmation, I thought…I knew. I realized all those things that I dreamt about, that those were gifts that He gave me. Gifts. Just like a glimpse of His power for me and His love for me. That He loved me so much that even though I was so distant at times, and so hard-hearted, that He still loved me enough to say, “Here. Look at this right here. You don’t know what it is, but just look at it. One day you will realize what it is.” And that’s…that’s what changed.
I think dream visions are important. At the time you don’t think that that’s what it is [the Holy Spirit] until you really recognize the Holy Spirit’s power. You just think it’s just something that you probably think of yourself and now you’re remembering it in a dream. We all have those dreams that are fleeting. But when something stays with you, and stays with you, and stays with you, and you don’t know why and then you have confirmation later… then you know that it’s not just something in my head that I wanted to be true. It is true.
Father’s Day has always been a hard day. Not really a hard day; unless it’s in your face. I remember sitting in church and thinking I just pray Lord that one day I will see him, and I heard, “He is here.” I sat there for a little while and I heard that again, “He is here.” And it was just another sweet confirmation. Just gratitude that my mom will see him again and I’ll see him again.