12: A Walk with My Son

12: A Walk with My Son

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

A Walk with My Son

Where there is great love, there are always miracles.

~Willa Cather

I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, making my Communion and Confirmation while adhering to the church doctrine as best one can. During my high-school years, my parents divorced, and I had stopped attending Sunday mass altogether by the time I entered the military. Though I drifted far away from structured religion, I always fancied myself a spiritual person, whatever that meant. I justified my purposeful distance from religion by living a righteous and moral life, guided by the non-denominational “Golden Rule” of doing unto others as you would have others do unto you.

An amazing woman came into my life serendipitously, culminating in a whirlwind marriage. We lived blissfully for many years, sharing an identical spiritual philosophy and an uncomfortable, yet rarely spoken, distrust of organized religion. We had three beautiful daughters over the course of thirteen wonderful years. My wife and I were approaching forty, our children were healthy, and our careers were steady. As much as we loved our family and life, we decided the time had come to officially “close the baby shop,” and my wife proceeded to have a tubal ligation. We had given up on our dream of having a boy.

Several equally wonderful years passed, and our lives remained blissfully full of dances, soccer games, track meets, and myriad activities that would fuel our memories for the rest of our lives. On August fourth, my thirty-ninth birthday, I was awakened around 2:00 a.m. by the most evocative dream I had ever experienced. I sat straight up in bed, rubbed my eyes and pinched myself hard enough to leave a quarter-sized bruise on my arm. I glanced over at my sleeping beauty and tried my best to let her lie. I could not. Almost as if she could sense my excitement, my wife grabbed my hand, and I recounted my vision right then and there.

The dream began in a rather pedestrian manner, with me walking alone on a nondescript beach on an overcast day. The lack of sun must have kept the usual throngs away as the beach was completely abandoned. I stopped and knelt down to examine a variegated conch shell and noticed what appeared to be a man and boy walking hand in hand in the distance. The pair was coming toward me, and as they drew closer, they began to come into focus, leaving no doubt as to who was approaching. Jesus Christ was walking toward me, clasping the hand of a small, blond, blue-eyed boy. One look at the lad, and I knew this was the son I would have had were circumstances different.

No words were exchanged as my son and Jesus arrived. I locked eyes with Jesus, and with silent affirmation, he replaced his hand with mine, leaving me holding the hand of the boy. I looked down at the boy; he looked up and offered a reassuring smile. I held my son’s hand firmly but gently, determined to never let go. The dream ended.

As I finished describing this palpable vision to my wife, she took my hand, rubbed it on her cheeks and brushed away the small trail of tears trickling down her face. She leaned over, pulled my head closer and whispered in my ear two very small yet unforgettable words, “Me, too.”

We didn’t speak of our simultaneous and identical dreams the next day. There were no words to explain our experience, and we had no earthly idea what it meant, if anything. I thought perhaps it was some manifestation of our longing for a son, possibly a message of closure, a symbolic missive from God. We took care of our daily duties, and several uneventful weeks had passed when I received a most unlikely surprise in my lunch bag. I opened my lunch and found a laminated copy of the famous biblical poem “Footprints in the Sand.” My wife had included it as a reference to our shared dream, but also to tell me that an impossible dream had come true.

While tubal ligations have a ninety-nine percent efficacy rate, did you ever wonder about the remaining one percent? Neither did we . . . until we became members of this elite group. My wife was pregnant. Eight months later, we were cradling our miracle baby boy.

After our son’s birth, my wife and I agreed to revisit our long-held mistrust of organized religion and re-examine our personal commitment to God. We began attending church more regularly and learned to accept the imperfections of Catholicism. There is no denying some otherworldly force was at work, alerting us so vividly to the pending arrival of our son. The dream lives on every time I see my son, attend a mass, or take a walk on the beach. While “miracle” is a word that is often overused, in our family we believe in them wholeheartedly.

~Michael Hausser

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