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Hidden Joy

3. The heartache


Like the previous day, Charlie woke out of his sleep remembering his dream.  But today Charlie felt a strangeness in his soul.  It was like a mixture between sorrow and excitement.  Charlie had never felt like this before.


At breakfast, Charlie asked his parents, “Have you ever had a dream that just stuck with you, but you didn’t know why?”


Charlie’s dad responded, “Yes, Charlie, ever once in a while I have a dream that seems like normal life, but there are things in it that seem to be so unlike what I would expect.  I had a dream a short time ago where I was stopped by a police officer.  I asked him what I did wrong.”


Charlie’s dad continued, “In the dream, the police officer said, ‘I stopped you to tell you that you are driving very well.  Keep up it!’  Then the officer got into his car and drove away.”


Charlie asked, “Then what happened?”


Charlie’s dad answered, “That was the end of the dream.”


Charlie’s mom said, “I wish I would have someone stop me to tell me that I am doing a good job.  It seems that most people are just trying to help me with what I need to improve.”


Charlie’s dad asked Charlie, “So, Charlie, are you feeling the same way your mom is.  Is that why you have been so sad and quiet recently?”


Charlie responded, “Well, maybe.  I just had another one of my strange and disturbing dreams.  I just don’t think that I am really like how I see myself in my dreams.  I am worrying that other people really do see me that way.  Am I really becoming a jerk?!”


Charlie’s mom responded in a comforting way, “Charlie, we must be very careful to allow the Lord to do most of our correcting.  It is good sometimes to get input from our family and friends, but we cannot allow those criticisms to overwhelm us.  But for some reason, I think there is more to what you are going through.  You have dealt with criticisms before.  Could the way you are feeling also be connected to the loss of Grandmother?”


Charlie put his head down and started to cry.


Charlie’s dad said, “It’s ok, Charlie.  We need to share with each other.  We are not going to judge you for mourning the loss of your grandmother.  She was very dear to us all.”


Charlie responded, “But in my dreams, all of my friends make fun of me when I start to cry.  They say I am a sissy.  Then I respond to them in a nasty way, which makes them like me even less.”


Charlie’s dad responded, “But that is not the way you usually respond.  You are not one to return with an unkind response.  You may feel like responding that way, but responding with kindness is what Jesus asks us to do.  Your mom and I have noticed that you do this quite well.”


Charlie asked, “Then, why do I seem so different in my dreams?  I don’t want to be like that!”


Charlie’s dad responded, “I don’t know, but Jesus does.  Ask Him to give you joy in your heart even though you are still very sad when you remember your grandmother, and all the wonderful times we had with her.”


Charlie seemed to perk up a little bit.


Charlie said, “Thanks, Mom and Dad.  I really feel much better now that we talked this through. When I stopped by to talk to Grandpa a few days ago, I had a really good conversation with him. He seems to still be going through grief from the loss of his wife even after 10 years.  Is it going to take that long for us to get back to normal?”


Charlie’s mom responded, “I know this is hard for you.  It is hard for Dad and me, too.  Jesus gives us comfort when those we love have gone to Heaven, but our lives will never return to the way things were.  We can’t deny that Grandmother was with us.  It is just part of life to lose some of those we love.  As Grandpa probably told you, one of the benefits of being in God’s family is that Jesus will give hidden joy to those who cry out to Him.  You can cry with us as well.”


Charlie and his family continued to comfort each other.

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