For some reason that I can’t fathom, I’m walking across a rope bridge swaying slightly from a gentle breeze. It’s impossible to tell what elevation I’m at because of the fog. I’m immersed in it, claustrophobic. I see nothing but shades of white and grey and my own breath puffing out in front of me. Goosebumps break out on the back of my neck. The temperature is dropping, the ropes are beginning to become slick and my fingers are slipping and turning numb. My heart jumps in my throat with every slip of my feet and hands.
Very faintly I hear a voice. I can’t tell if it’s male or female or even young or old. It sounds like a wail, one full of sadness and despair. Another chill runs through me. The fog begins to clear slightly. I see people, two or three at first, then four, then ten. As I slowly advance towards them I realize with horror they are translucent. Ghosts? They can’t be. I start to recognize them, classmates from school, my two younger brothers, my older sister. They are reaching for me, their eyes wide with fear, pleading. They want something from me, something I can’t give.
The rope begins to warm, water is dripping down my hands, I feel a sudden whoosh of air and smell something burning. No. Slowly I turn and see the bridge burning. The fire is cracking and the bridge is moving violently. I struggle to keep my balance. The wails of my friends and siblings shift my attention. They begin to fall, reaching for me, their eyes wide with terror, their mouths as large and black as caves. I scream and scream.
It’s always the same, the dream. Always. The only variance is the length of it and when I’m lucky enough to wake up.
“What do you think they want from you, Stephanie?”
I don’t realize that I’ve been daydreaming until my pastor’s soft voice refocuses my attention. Father Mark walks gets up and stands in front of the large segmented picture window I’ve been staring through as I retold my dream.
“The ghosts, your friends, family. What do you think they want?”
I look down at the ash grey carpet and shake my head, “I don’t know, Father. That’s the worst part. I feel that I should be able to figure it out, but I can’t.”
“When was the last time you didn’t have this vision?”
“About six mon-did you say vision? This is a dream, a nightmare, not a vision.”
He leans forward, puts his notebook down on the low cherry coffee table and slides his chair closer to mine. It’s meant as a sign of comfort I’m sure, but it has the opposite effect. This can’t be good.
“Stephanie, I truly believe you are having a vision from God. I think He’s trying to tell you something.”
“Why would God talk to me? And if He’s trying to say something, why doesn’t He do it without scaring me?”
Father Mark’s eyes are wide and even moist with compassion.
“I honestly don’t know, Stephanie, but something tells me He’s been trying to speak to you for awhile, but you haven’t been listening.”
“Come on! Excuse me, Father. Who am I? I’m just an average girl. For God to do this to someone every night, you would think I’d be some huge leader or something. That isn’t me.”
Father Mark’s eyes widen and he chuckles softly, almost to himself. His silence unnerves me. The way he smiles and leans back in his chair with his arms behind his head is even worse.
“I think you just figured it out, Stephanie.”
“What? How? What do you mean?”
“I think you’re right on two accounts. For God to do this, to put you through this every night, it must for something important. You’re right. You’re not a leader. But, maybe you should be. Perhaps God is calling you to lead.”
“His people, of course. Don’t forget, Stephanie, we’re all His people. Think about who was wailing, who was begging for help, those closest to you, those who need you for something. Don’t bother asking me. I have no idea what He wants. I would suggest you ask Him.”
As usual, I’m dreading sleep. But, this time I’m taking the offensive. On my knees.
With my elbows propped on my bed and my soul aching, I close my eyes and whisper, “Okay, Lord. Tell me…”
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