When I was a child my family lived next door to my cousins, David and Jeffrey. David was 2 years older than me and I thought he was the greatest thing since cotton candy. He was very smart, played the piano, and said things like “ont” instead of “aunt.” My Aunt Del always taught my cousins to be proper with their speech and manners. As the years passed, David and I became good friends but I would always be his younger pesky cousin. I wish I had known then how short our time together would be. In 1975, David passed away on Good Friday, after a long battle with Leukemia.
In 1978 at the age of 19, I gave my heart to the Lord and many things changed in my life. I married a year later and had 2 children. I thought of David every day. I even named my son after him. Unfortunately, my memories of him were always clouded with visions of a very thin and helpless young man confined to a hospital bed. This was the picture in my mind and it reflected none of his brilliance, humor, or sparkle. I carried this picture of him in my mind for years. Then one night I had a dream in which David came to talk to me. He was sitting on a split rail fence. Wearing jeans, and looking like himself in healthier days. We talked about my current life, and then he left waving good-bye. When I woke up I realized it was a dream, but that was the first of many. Each time he was wearing jeans and sitting on that fence.
Whenever I think about him now that is the picture in my mind. Just recently, at church we a had a time of testimony and several people stood one by one and offered stories of how the Lord had intervened in their lives. I love this time and always learn something from the experiences of others. Linda, a lady whom I highly respect stood and began to speak about her Dad. He had recently died and left a dismal picture in her mind, one of sickness and death. But, the Lord replaced her picture with a new one. She could see her Dad in his favorite chair with a peaceful grin. She explained how the Lord had taken a sorrow too deep for words and replaced it in her mind with a picture of who her Dad really was, in life, not in death. As she spoke Goosebumps rose on the back of my neck as I realized that the Lord had done the same thing for me. I hadn’t even asked, but He knew what I needed and I thank Him for the picture he gave. I also thank Him for letting me know that the picture came from Him. I don’t dream of David very much any more, but I still think of him often, and he is still sitting on that fence with his gentle grin.