This week, I had a vivid dream about Jack.
Jeff and I had picked him up for an outing at Sugarhouse Park, which incidentally was by our Sugarhouse home where we lived when Jack was a baby. I walked there multiple times per week with toddler Henry and baby Jack in the double jogger.
In the dream, the lake at the park was much bigger than it is in reality, and was spanned by a suspension bridge. Jack was on the bridge and Jeff and I were some distance away on a connected walkway, when we saw Jack jump from the bridge into the water.
I screamed. Jack loves the water, but can’t swim. Jeff and I started running toward the bridge. Two lifeguards (because giant lakes in parks in dreams have lifeguards, I guess), a man and a woman, had already reached Jack and were bringing him into the shore. The woman called up to me, “Don’t worry. We’ve got him. Everything is okay.” Jack, meanwhile was smiling at me and chuckling over the fun at being towed in.
It was such an intense dream, switching rapidly between calm, panic, and relief. I woke up right after having it, and as I fell back asleep, I thought, “Jack is telling me that he is not afraid.”
I was terrified when Jack jumped into the water because I felt responsible for his safety. But the reality of his life is that while Jeff and I still participate in overseeing his care, other people are now responsible for his day to day needs. It’s a different sort of interaction with my son. He once needed me to do everything for him, but as he entered adolescence, he instead needed me to find him the effective, intensive, full-time care he is now receiving.
Despite the moment of fear when he leapt in the water, the dream’s tone was utterly tranquil. As I drifted back to sleep, I mulled over these thoughts:
Jack has a legion of helpers.
They are doing a good job.
Jack is happy.
He is doing big things which terrify me.
He isn’t afraid.
He is brave.
I am afraid, but I’m trying to adjust to our lives apart.
One of the phrases which stood out to me during General Conference last weekend was a reference to Jesus teaching this: “Perfect love casteth out all fear.”
I suppose that the opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s fear. And love is its antidote. This is potentially life-changing.
Meaningfully, this verse as it is written in the Book of Mormon is nestled in the story of Jesus ministering to the little children, where he teaches, “I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.”
Jack isn’t little anymore, but he is still my child. He is the child of his Heavenly Parents, too. Jesus is his brother. In this divine family, we are connected. United.
I sense that Jack is at peace with his life’s purpose. He trusts his Savior. Perhaps he knows him intimately.
All of this allays my fears. These dreams wherein I see Jack’s real spirit self blanket me in peace.
Jack is telling me he is not afraid.
Jack is telling me that I do not need to be afraid.
Fear not, fear not, fear not.