Days of Future Past


I love the X-Men movies.

I would like to have the option to go back in time and adjust a few things, but I know I have to trust the Lord is working all out just as it should be.

Don’t immediately get the idea that this post will be sad – because I am not sad sitting here writing it. The crisp, October breeze makes me almost wish I had on long sleeves. Almost.

The morning sun is shining on this porch swing, and birds are discussing the latest in bird news and song. Fields of grass and trees stretch around me and you can’t typically see your neighbor’s house.

I’ve heard at least five gun shots as I take in this beautiful autumn morning, but don’t be alarmed. I’m in Georgia and it’s hunting season.

My husband is out there somewhere – waiting on a 10-point he’s watched grow for years. Yesterday, he had it in his sight, only to reveal a fogged-up scope. He said never in 30 years has he had a scope fog up on his gun. We lost his dad a few weeks ago and he wanted to go after this deer, using some of Pop’s ashes in the gun powder.

Don’t. You. Laugh.

As I’ve become more comfortable with cremation, I find it hilarious what people do with a loved one’s remains. I personally want to be mixed with some glitter and made into a few Christmas ornaments. One of my best friend’s families carry her mom and beloved grandmother around to parties and other family events, because that’s the way she would have wanted it.

Anyway, he texted me that he had missed the deer, and that he wasn’t using “Pop” anymore. We laughed because his dad had terrible eyesight from diabetes and that’s probably why he missed the shot.

The strange thing was, both a nearby game cam and his scope fogged up at the exact same time stamp when that huge deer walked through. Not for hours before or after did the photo images from the camera  appear so blurred as those few minutes my husband was watching that deer.

Was it Pop? Clique said he was probably laughing at him. He may have known his gun would later jam and was trying to save his son’s face and long locks (that should be cut). Or, was it a moment to ease my husband’s heart as he grieves the absence of his dad? Things happen that we can’t quite explain that make us think something else is happening in the spirit realm we can’t quite see.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you’re thinking with me of his dad’s patronus… and whether or not you believe in signs like this, and it leads me to the point of this post.

Who am I kidding? I have like seven points. Not quite Pop deer’s 10 points, but lots of points.

I dreamed of my brother last night. He died in February. I am absolutely fascinated with dreams and if anyone reading this happens to have some knowledge on the subject that goes beyond what you eat before bed, then please contact me. My dad has night terrors and has since he was a boy. What part of the brain does this? Is it some type of mental microchip malfunction in the Simpson line? Are we really just crazy?

I hope not because I dream every night. They are vivid, sometimes exhausting, and several times it’s like I have lived a whole lifetime, only to wake up confused as to what reality I’m in.

The perfect example to this is when Jean Luc Picard was stunned from an alien probe aboard the Starship Enterprise. He lived a life separate from the one he knew, with a wife, children, all the way into old age, in the span of 30 minutes. The people of a dying planet had their memories download into the probe, in hopes that it would be found, and someone would know about them. They wanted their world to live on in someone’s memories.

Some people don’t believe my dreams, but when I start documenting them, instead of just texting to a best friend, I’ll probably be famous (or committed). You just watch. M. Night Shyamalan is going to call me up one day and ask for a movie script.

Now, to the dream. It wasn’t one of the fantastic, crazy ones, but it is definitely intriguing to me. ESPECIALLY since my little sister texted me as soon as she woke up saying she had dreamed about our brother. Really? What are the odds? I mean, it could happen, but that’s pretty weird.

My brother’s death has been very, very hard on my grandfather, who is about to be 84. Jeremy was the only grandson and I think, as a family, there are a lot of regrets about the way all of us kept in touch, and our disconnected way of life.

In my dream, I could project myself back a few minutes in time. This is probably because I recently watched X-Men: Days of Future Past for the 25th time.

Anyway, I was at this tropical resort where my brother was found dead. At the location, I was faced with calling my grandparents with the news, and I remember hardly being able to speak words to my grandfather, it was so painful. I uttered the words, “I can’t reach dad.”
The next thing I know, I’m back in time and walking up a large, resort sidewalk with Jeremy, just before he enters his hotel, where he’s later found dead. He’s busy trying to figure out why I’m there, until I finally yell, “Jeremy! You’re going to die in 5 minutes! Talk to Pawpaw!” He face goes solemn and he takes the phone. A flip phone.

And that’s all I remember.
Except somewhere in the dream someone else has died, and I’m making that phone call, too.  I’m thinking, “Not two in the same year,” from my own family.” Don’t make me call my grandparents twice.

Aside from losing my brother, my husband lost a best friend, aunt, uncle and his dad in the last ten months. This year has been…ugh.

Christmas Eve 2016. We get a call that Jeremy’s truck/van has broken down on the way to Mawmaw’s house, where we have gathered at 5pm for as long as I can remember. Instead of memories of eating, laughing, people complaining of me taking pictures – I only have few memories of Jeremy that night. He was in a horrible mood, stressed, and left with my dad and uncle to have the vehicle towed or something during the family festivities. We always take a sibling/grandkids photo and we didn’t that night.

Christmas Day 2016.

Jeremy, my mom and stepdad come to my house because my parents are divorced and my mom and Fred have no family, except for me and Jeremy. I want it to be a loving day, and I think deep down my mom does too, but someone always is aggravated with someone about the time, or a comment…I don’t know. It’s been that way for a few years.

Anyway, I know Jeremy and his girlfriend were there because I have pictures.

Thank You, Lord.

We have a picture of mom, Fred, me, my husband, our two girls and Uncle Jeremy.  I don’t know that Jeremy would have even come if he wasn’t there to get my car.

See, I had broken my leg on 12/22/16 and was in a horrible, full-leg splint, until someone could do surgery 12/28. I broke my fibula and tibia and would not be driving for a while.

I knew my brother had been struggling and I told him to take my car. My husband gave him money to get his fuel pump fixed, and honestly, if I could have bailed Jeremy out of whatever troubles he was facing, I would have. He was the one of the few people I absolutely trusted with anything I had, any secret I wanted to tell, even though I rarely saw him…I could tell him anything.

The last time I saw my brother alive and awake was Christmas Day, 12/25/16.

The last time I actually saw my brother was 2/25/17 when the UAB organ donation transplant team picked him up from St. Vincent’s hospital, as the sun set in a red-orange horizon over Birmingham.

The upcoming holidays for both my side and my husband’s side of the family are going to be difficult.

I didn’t know much about my brother’s life as I thought I did, as was discovered in the days and weeks following his death, and discovering different sets of friends, different versions of the truth, and I will never, ever really know what really happened.

He had a stroke, then he had a seizure. The plan was to remove the ventilator the next day and determine damage, but an unknown aneurysm blew that evening and he was gone.

People say you never know who will be here next year at family gatherings and that we better enjoy and invest in the time we are given.

If someone isn’t here next time for you – did they know Jesus? Did they believe He was the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him?

I don’t need a coexist bumper sticker. This is real life and death – where will you spend eternity? I’m not going to debate who wants to come back as a rock or in an elevated state.

There are only two options for eternity and that is heaven or hell. I’m sorry. Jehovah God is the only one creator of this universe.

If He didn’t want you in eternity with Him, then He would not have gone to such great lengths to provide a Savior – a bridge – from this sinful, broken world over to where He is.

Yes, He is holy and requires obedience, and establishes boundaries for us because of an infinite love I cannot even describe. I can just promise you that it’s real, and whatever adjustments you need to make at your family gatherings this year- do it.

Don’t have any regrets. Don’t be selfish, stubborn and your own ruler. Come under the authority of the One who gave us life and is preparing an eternity for those who believe and follow Him.

Something to prayerfully consider before the next time you’re sitting around the table (and this isn’t just about food).

Romans 14

Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.
For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 
Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 
Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.
In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. 
Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. 
For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 
If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 
Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. 
So why do you condemn another believer ? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 
For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God. ’” 
Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 
So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. 
I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 
And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 
Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. 
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 
If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 
So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. 
Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 
It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. 
You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 
But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

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