Ah Yes. Dreams. Ever had a doozie? Well this one was so real I wandered around the house for awhile to see if I was in my dream world or actually awake. So Sit back relax and enjoy this recollection. This is long for a blog but short for a story. Yes I changed the names for the story…
“Grandpa, can you wake up and take me fishing?” I could hear the words and I knew it was my granddaughter Beth, but it was hard to wrap my mind around her simple request.
Fishing had always stirred me deep inside. It was on the water that Beth and I had connected before when she would travel a thousand miles with her family to visit with us.
I stirred and heard Beth talking to God. ”Jesus I know you have led me to pray for grandpa. Please touch him so we can go fishing again, amen”.
I felt a hand take my hand and a burst of energy flowed into me as I looked into the eyes of my granddaughter. Hugging me, she began to pull me up. Laughing, she said, “Arise and walk and take me fishing grandpa.”
I could only say, “Okay. Let me get out of these pajamas and find some real clothes.”
Beth just stared at me. Over and over she said, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus.”
Wait! Everything had changed. Beth was so grown up from when I remembered her. I thought I must be losing my memory.
The closet had only a couple pairs of jeans, but they were too large for me. This puzzled me. I really didn’t remember losing weight! I was quickly thankful to see a belt hanging on the side of the closet door. “That’ll work!”
As I peered into the hallway, I saw a new picture on the wall and the living room was all changed – furniture, plants, and pictures. I must be dreaming! Why did the whole house seem so different? As I wandered around, a sense of foolish amazement washed over me. Why didn’t I notice all the changes before? What else have I missed? A small but familiar touch of panic began to gnaw and penetrate my mind as I felt an emptiness stalking me.
“Grandpa, everything is ready! I have the fishing rods, tackle, bait and the boat is hooked up to the pickup,” Beth announced.
“And where are we going young lady?”
“To Waptus Lake. Let’s go! Can you drive?”
“This dream is getting better and better and better.”
“Pinch me Beth, When did you get so grown up?”
“I know you don’t remember, grandpa; but I have seen you two or three times each year – especially since you’ve been sick. I’ve really missed going fishing with you. It was always our ‘special time’ together. I miss you playing your music on the keyboard too. Can I tell you all about it in the boat? I want to catch enough fish for Mom, Dad, and Grandma. I think Uncle Dave and Aunt Angie will be coming for supper too. They’ll all be so surprised!”
We climbed into the old pickup. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. I was alive! How absolutely amazing! God had used my granddaughter to help restore my broken mind. Somehow I knew it was true. My questions would have to wait.
I felt an immediate urge to make up for the time I’d lost being able to walk with God. With my restored mind, I could only humbly say, Thank you Jesus!
Beth began to sing an amazing new song, “Thank You Lord”.
How fitting! I began to understand that this was not the first answered prayer for Beth.
When I heard the sound of a siren behind me, I quickly looked in the rear view mirror. “What now?” Beth, “They want me to stop! I have to pull over.” Quite startled, I managed to say, “Good morning,” to the young man standing by my window.
“Greg! What are you doing on the road? And who is this young lady with you?”
“My goodness if it isn’t you, Bret! We are going fishing! This is my granddaughter Beth. What seems to be the problem?”
Bret looked up and down the highway as if stalling for time. His brows gave his face an indecisive and puzzled look.
“Well I stopped you for no trailer lights; but, I think it’s you that might be the problem. Let me see your license!
I could see Beth had crossed her fingers as she sighed, “Oh no, sorry grandpa. Are we in trouble?”
“I don’t think so. I have to explain to Bret.”
“I think I’ll plead insanity Bret. I’m pretty sure I don’t have my license.”
Bret just stared at me with a puzzled look on his face. Finally, he pointed his finger at me and said, “Fix your tail light. Know what? I think I’m dreaming, because last time I saw you, you were losing your mind. Now I’m losing mine! By the way, fix that light soon. I don’t want you getting stopped again.”
After a sigh of relief and a good long laugh, Beth and I drove on the old gravel road to Lake Waptus. We docked the boat, and motored out to a patch of weeds off the sunken island. This spot was famous for many great fishing stories. Big crappies, an occasional walleye, and an ever present northern pike seemed to take their turns hunting smaller prey in and around this weed patch. It usually meant great fishing. We rigged up our lightweight spin cast poles, and began casting small jigs to find the crappie.
My thoughts turned to Beth. I felt like it was just yesterday that I taught Beth to cast and catch fish by twitching a dying minnow action into the small jig. She always did like to fish and talk at the same time. I knew it would be like turning the water on once she started talking, so I said. “Tell me the whole story, Beth; I really want to hear it from you.”
Beth talked about her four friends at church and she talked about a lady named Margaret. She told me how I gradually began to lose my memory. I could feel her sadness as she told me how much she missed fishing with me.
“I’ve just missed spending time with you, grandpa.”
With a strained expression Beth added, “I’ve been praying for God to heal you for so long grandpa. Now, I just want to pray for God’s will for your healing rather than my will, But Grandpa! God did give me peace to pray for fishing with you.”
“Will I end up back in bed? You said you only prayed for one more time.
“No grandpa. God will use this for his kingdom, I am sure of it. I know it started out as a selfish prayer, but God gave me faith to pray for you in this way. Grandpa, we both can completely trust God!”
“Keep talking Beth and tell me about everyone and what they are doing. I have so many questions.”
At this point, I was really struggling to catch up with this huge gap in my life. It had to be a dream. But, No! Here I am – out fishing with my granddaughter when I could be telling the whole world what had just happened!
The problem was that I really didn’t know what had happened. I could only listen to what Beth wanted to talk about. What could I do but fish and listen?
We hadn’t caught a single crappie. I didn’t mind at all; but, Beth had the whole day planned – from talking about my healing to preparing a great “Surprise Fish Supper”. In a shy, inquisitive way, like I know Beth can be, she asked, “What would Jesus do to catch fish Grandpa?”
“He’d cast out on the other side of the boat. Actually, sometimes crappies like to suspend in deep water from the drop- off. So let’s try it!”
Sure enough, we began to catch crappies in the deep water.
“This is how I imagined it grandpa,” Beth whispered.
“I’m only sixteen now but God has given me one of the biggest desires of my heart. You Love Jesus don’t you grandpa? I some times imagine that when I’m touching someone, Jesus is touching the same person. And, Jesus is talking with my friends when I am talking with them. Wait a minute grandpa; I have to untangle this fish line.”
At that moment, I felt I would spend the rest of my years being choked up. Not a pretty sight for a man or anyone for that matter. I knew that when Beth touched me, Jesus really had touched me. Jesus was living vicariously through my young teenage granddaughter. She was merely letting Jesus walk, talk, and touch others like me through her.
“Are your friends like you? Do they let Jesus live through themselves too?” Beth nodded her head as she quipped, “Yup,” just as she landed another fish.
We fished and talked for a couple of hours before realizing we had to get home before the rest of the family! Beth was supposed to have supper ready and she had been told, “Surprise us!”
Beth made me feel a bit more comfortable when she shared with me that she told the family she’d be ‘Babysitting Grandpa’ for the day so the gang could go shopping or whatever else they had planned.
Given all that had happened and wondering what more excitement might come, I was just hoping Grandma had a strong heart. All of this would be such a shock to her!
I was bit nervous knowing I’d have to not only find the fillet knife but also trust my memory how to use it! Things had been going so good so far.
I couldn’t wait to see my wife and find out what she was like. What had she been doing? Had she changed? What had she become while I was in my own empty world?
Motoring the boat to shore, we passed by a boat that had just come onto the lake. The two fellows acted very strange but seemed familiar to me; however, they were too far away for me to tell. They stared at us as we docked the boat. Not fully recognizing the men and not quite trusting myself, I didn’t want to deal with anything risky. Beth was a very pretty girl. I just wanted to get on home from this remote lake.
Never one to be afraid, Beth yelled out to them, “Cast your hooks on the other side of the boat.”
I heard one of them mutter over and over, “No way. No way.
The garage was so clean. I couldn’t even find anything to fillet the fish on! I found a board in the rafters and remembered how to climb a small ladder to get it. Luckily, the fillet knife was in the same place I’d remembered it.
Beth had started to prepare the fish and all the trimmings for the supper feast. “Grandpa, can you make that yummy fish batter you always used? The deep fryer will be ready soon, and we can steam the vegetables. I made a quick cherry crisp dessert before I went to bed last night ‘cause I knew I wouldn’t have time today.”
“I’m so proud of you, Beth.”
Just as I finished cleaning up a bit, two cars drove into the yard. It was the family – the whole family! I saw it would take a time for them to get in the house. They were talking and laughing as they gathered their bags. It must have been a fun day for them too.
Beth’s plan was for me to answer the door ‘cause it would be such a big surprise. My first thought was about my daughter Angie. Beth had told me she was still in her wheelchair. How will my daughter respond to me? She may think she’s seeing some sort of apparition! Dear God! Why hadn’t God prepared Beth to pray for her healing? I would have traded places right then and there with Angie. I was remembering everything. Since birth Angie has had to live and struggle with constant surgeries. Dear God…
My focus was interrupted by the door bell and people rapping on the door. Our son came to the door first with two armloads of bags. Bags held high, he didn’t even see me as he walked in. “Thanks Beth” he said.
“Your welcome, Uncle Dave,“ she responded from the kitchen.
I don’t recall all that happened as Beth’s mom, our oldest daughter, began to scream from the doorway. Dave dropped the groceries, and Rod, my son-in-law bear- hugged me. Things broke down from there. I hugged, hugged and hugged some more. I was being mobbed by love. Tears of joy flowed. I had been reunited with my family! My son-in-law commented, “This makes last Sunday’s discussion on miracles a moot point
Beth’s grandma, my wife of thirty-eight years, hugged and cried as she told me that God had promised her everything would be all right. She explained the huge sense of peace that washed over her many times when she would cry out to God that I’d be healed. She believed God would heal me in heaven if not here on earth. I remembered how she had experienced this same peace and joy when her own father was dying.
We finally got around to our feast of fried fish and all the trimmings. Beth became the story teller as I watched the wide-eyed wonder on everyone’s face. Of course they wanted to know who caught the most fish. Before I could say anything, Beth piped up, “We were having too much fun to count!” I could always count on Beth to say the right thing at the right time.
We laughed ourselves sick when they heard I’d been stopped by a police officer who turned out to be my cousin’s son Greg.
Two of my brothers stopped by the house to confirm that I was still in bed and not on the loose. Turns out, they were the guys in the boat! More tears came as Beth told them the short version of our escapades.
Like I said, It was a strange dream. One which has changed my perspective on what’s important in life as well as my relationships.
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