I don’t dream much. When I do dream, they tend to be vivid and memorable. The other night I had a surprising vivid dream that I’m still thinking about: I had a conversation with my great-grandmother who died six months before I was born.
I’ve always been sad that I didn’t know her. By all accounts she was feisty and courageous–despite her diminuitive size. The first convert to Mormonism in that line of the family, she was an immigrant from Norway, and the story of her family’s journey defines tenacity. I’ve talked with my beloved, feisty and smart- as-a-whip 101 year-old grandma about her mama, and after every conversation, I really wished I would have been able to meet my great-grandma. So I guess the other night I did.
I was walking in back of my grandma’s house where the old chicken coops were, and went into an upstairs room of the barn. It was light and peaceful and I knocked on a door. This really beautiful, vibrant woman answered, and she had the kindest, biggest smile I’ve ever seen. I instantly knew who she was and we embraced.
We sat down at a table, and I said “Now that you’ve died, has your concept of theology changed?”
I don’t really remember anything else. That was it. I don’t know what her answer was. Above all, I don’t know why I asked that question. This was my chance–the chance to have a conversation with this person that I’ve admired my whole life, and I was asking about her concept of theology. That seems weird to me. I woke up thinking “you’re an idiot.”
But maybe that was just as fine a question as any other. I didn’t need to ask her if she was happy–that was obvious. I didn’t need to ask her if she loved me, because I felt it. I guess I was really asking for some wisdom from the other side about those age-old questions that humans have always struggled with. Maybe it was fitting that she didn’t answer me. Maybe the answer is that we try too hard to define the indefinable and just loving your grandma is a pretty good way to go.