79: Ears to Hear

79: Ears to Hear

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven

Ears to Hear

He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

~Isaiah 50:14

Yesterday while visiting with my daughter Ari on the phone, she interrupted our conversation. “Elizabeth!” I heard Ari call to her six-year-old daughter. “Why are you making mud pies in your new school shoes?”

“I’m replanting flowers,” Elizabeth announced. Ari whispered into the phone, “She’s digging up dandelion weeds beside her playhouse and replanting them under her picnic table. You know the area where the ground has worn bare?”

“It’s Earth Day,” Elizabeth explained while she dug, “and tonight while I brush my teeth, I’m going to turn off the water. And if we have to go to Walmart we need to ride our bikes.”

It surprises me how well children can “hear and heed” while we adults totally miss it.

Ari listened well at that age, too. In fact Ari was also six when we moved into a much-too-small house while the construction of our new house was being completed. Since there were no safe places to take our year-old Shetland Sheepdog, Spicy, for a walk, Ari and I discovered some great hiking paths in a nearby national park known as “The Gorge.”

After each school day, Spicy and I retrieved Ari, and we escaped the familiar constraints of asphalt streets lined with overbearing steel and concrete. Soon we were enveloped inside a tunnel of trees with endless journeys on multiple trails, leading us up and around curvy inclined paths.

Spicy stayed close to my heels, that is until we reached the rocky cliffs. It was then an innate urgency guided him to run up and around each precipice with swift and secure maneuverability. Amazing how this dog knew what his greatest of grandfathers were bred to do: herd sheep through the treacherous cliffs in the Scottish Highlands.

Those hikes became the highlight of our days, especially as autumn’s fluorescent colors flaunted their fiery blends.

That is until one memorable morning. Spicy was under my feet as usual while I prepared Ari’s breakfast and sack lunch. His internal clock had him set to run down the hallway as he and I awakened Ari with my kisses, his licks and a few tickles and hugs. Laughter most always started our day, followed by a morning prayer for guidance and safety.

Except for this morning. Ari’s shouting sent us scrambling to her bedroom, my heartbeat quickening with her escalating cries.

“Mom, we can’t!” Ari screamed, sitting straight up in her bed, staring in front of her. “We just can’t go!”

I wrapped my arms around her, but she continued her protest. “Mom, we can’t take Spicy hiking. To that mountain. There’s a murderer up there!”

“Ari! That’s a wild thing to say.” I pulled back to look into her face, a frightened face. “Where did you get such an idea?”

“I dreamed it, Mom. We were there on the trails, and this man was going to kill us. But I woke up before he could.”

As much as I tried, I couldn’t convince Ari it was only a dream. I figured that surely by the end of the day she’d realize how nonsensical it was, and we could resume our walks. Not so. She held strong to her conviction. Even the following day when Spicy and I picked her up from school, she adamantly resisted ever hiking in that area again. The dream was too real for her.

The following morning I opened the newspaper and almost dropped my coffee cup onto the front-page headlines. In bold print I read “Dead Man Found on Gorge Trails in National Park.” Stunned, I read the nightmarish details as though I were somehow a part of it. Hikers had found the dead man the afternoon before. Authorities believed the body had been there for at least twenty-four hours, within the time when we would have been there. The murdered man was discovered off the path, only a hundred yards from where we ventured every afternoon.

I can’t explain it. I just know how grateful I am this little girl insisted we not allow that dream to come true. Ari had a few more dreams after that. None were as life and death as that nightmare.

One was an encouragement for our family. In another, Ari awoke from a dream, and after she described it to us, it confirmed the safety of a friend’s husband who she said at that moment was stranded. The friend, who was at our house at the time, received a phone call an hour later, affirming her husband’s safety and his reason for the delay.

I understand now those dreams were not meant to be spooky, something for another world, but a practical means of speaking to us in those still moments when we’re more apt to hear Him. As a result, I now realize the practicality of dreams and how God still uses them to issue warnings and offer deep insights missed in our daylight hours… that is, if we have ears to hear.

~Ann Elizabeth Robertson

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