"mi pequeña soñadora"
I had someone once tell me “your mind is wired differently.” And believe it or not, I took it as a compliment. From a young age, my imagination was vibrant. In class, I would stare out the window and daydream about strawberry fields, grey skies, the salty smell of the open sea. I would in fact daydream so often that my teachers would call me out and say “Earth to Paula!!!” To get my attention, and the whole class would laugh. In an instant I would be back in my seat, enduring the horrors of fifth grade Social Studies. Out of all the nicknames my mom ever gave me “mi soñadora” was my favorite. From infancy I would have vivid dreams, that would wake me up with a cold sweat at night. Perhaps it was due to my imagination, perhaps not. I would encounter a stranger in the streets and later dreamt about them that night. Or sometimes it’d be the opposite. I would dream about someone that I didn’t know, then see them in person for the first time and felt this off feeling of “deja vu.” I was twelve years of age when my older cousin Yuli passed away. She was eighteen years old and died of Lupus. I remember she fought like hell, and this ludicrous disease worsened rapidly. We were all praying for a miracle. She was just too young. The last time I saw her at the hospital she was receiving chemo and lost all her beautiful hair. I sat by her bedside and she smiled from ear to ear, I remember thinking “yeah, don’t let them break your smile.” I remember that day perfectly. Her bed was in front of the open window. The light that entered that hospital room was surreal. Her eyes glistened in the sun, it was something out of a movie. She looked at me, reached over and touched my hair, and said: “your hair is beautiful.” I smiled. “Don’t worry Yuli, once you get out of here we’ll go buy wigs,” I told her. This made her laugh really hard. We laughed together. After leaving for the summer, I had no idea that would be the last time I’d see her. When I found out she was gone, disbelief washed over me. My eighth grade English teacher, Mr. Hew pulled me aside after class one day and asked: “Are you okay?” I was taken aback by this since I really hadn’t noticed it was so obvious. “I’m trying to be,” I told him. He sort of let it go after that, which was best because I didn’t know what I felt. At the funeral, there were no tears from me. My aunt wailed and was struggling to breathe. I had never heard a cry similar to this. In secret I found myself trying to process what death was at the age of thirteen. That night I cried talking to God, I asked him to help me understand what was death and where people went after death. Up until then, growing up in such a strict church environment, I remember learning about heaven and hell from a very young age. However, it didn’t cross my mind. I never had anyone die, until then. A couple of days after the burial, (which my parents thought it was too strenuous for me to attend) I had a dream that I was running down the street towards the playground down the block from our apartment. It was a beautiful sunny, spring morning and I ran towards the swings. There was a beautiful girl in the middle of the playground with long brown hair, and a white dress. She was remarkably beautiful. I froze. My breaths weren’t equal, and my heart was pulsating through my shirt. I went up to her... “Yuli?” I asked. She smiled at me. I wanted to hug her, scream, I’m not really sure what I was seeing. She laughed, the way she did in the hospital room that one fateful day. Except her demeanor was different, her spirit was free. “I’m happy where I am, don’t worry about me. Tell my family that I’m no longer suffering. Tell them” She said to me, eagerly. “I will tell them,” I said. She looked at me, smiled, and instantly disappeared. I woke up in a cold sweat. It was a bizarre dream, but it brought me so much peace.
“My little dreamer.” Is what my mom calls me. You know, there are many times in life where we ask God a question and he answers us. Often times it’s not the answer we want, however, I’ve learned that His answer is always the right one. A couple of nights ago I had yet another weird dream. I was in an SUV driving with my sister and in an instant, I couldn’t see anything in front of me and I drove into a small lake in front of a large house. Our vehicle was sinking and I started to panic, my sister and I stepped out of the water, and I remember thinking “dang not only is our ride gone, but my phone was in there.” “Nicole, how can you focus on something so insignificant?” I don’t know! A man saw the accident and came out of the house. We seemed to be on his property. He walks over to us, “Are you ladies all right?” He asks. “Yes, but our ride is gone,” I answered, as I stared at the vehicle, still sinking, in disbelief. At that point, he says “hold on one moment” and steps back into the house. It seemed like he was building something. My sister and I just stared at each other not knowing what to do next. He comes outside with a scooter, gives it to us and says use this to get home in the meantime. We thanked him! As we stepped out into the road in front of the road, our vehicle was parked underneath a tree. (It didn’t sink after all?) We ran up to it and opened the doors, and my phone was connected inside the car. My sister and I start jumping up and down screaming for joy! How many times do we find ourselves drowning in our troubles when in reality they’re only surface deep? What I mean is, how often do we trust that God will provide an answer or better yet, a solution, and instead of asking him for one we become accustomed to the now? We ourselves limit God every day. At thirteen years of age, I asked him to help me understand what death was and where my cousin would be after she parted from this earth, and he gave me a revelation. He showed me. Yet, just the other day after going over my nursing school costs I thought there is NO WAY in heck I’d be able to afford that!!! I thought about other options, about maybe going back to community college, because I’m just not wealthy enough for private school right? But my God is beyond good, that while I was questioning him without letting him answer, I get the call that I got approved for a loan that was exactly the amount that I needed and a little extra for books. He always knows better than I do. While I drown in the mundane he continues to show me just how almighty powerful he is. It doesn’t matter how big I’m dreaming, or how peculiar my imagination is, my creator always has an answer. He meets and exceeds my dreams and expectations in ways my human mind can’t fully comprehend. And because of that, I’ll never stop dreaming, because my Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe, simply can’t be limited. And who are we to place God in a box?