Life and Death and Dreams

I’ll be getting a little off the topic of “Fitness,” today, but I hope you’ll read something about “Faith” that may speak to you.

Today would have been my dad’s 58th birthday. I would have taken him to see “Tron” ;-).

 I dream about him often. Some of the dreams are sweet, like childhood memories from a home movie flickering on a well-worn projector screen. Around my birthday last year, for example, I dreamt I was standing in a crowded room, overlooking a beautiful white birthday cake alight with twenty-three sparkling candles. About to make a wish, I looked up and saw my dad standing among the crowd, wearing a pale pink shirt and his timelessly tender smile.

Other dreams, however, leave me with a sickening feeling. They aren’t like dreams at all, but like wished-for realities existing in some nebulous parallel universe. I see my dad plain as day, sitting in our living room, reading a book, bird-watching…everything is just as it was before he passed away. Well, almost everything…

 The air in each of these dreams is thick with the distress of what has recently occurred. My dad has suffered a massive heart attack (not even the cause of his death, which was ventricular fibrillation) and my mom, brother, and I mutter to one another about the importance of improving his diet and getting him healthy as a horse. In other words, he’d had a close call, but he wasn’t dead.

Then there are the hugs. These dreams consist of nothing more than an embrace. I don’t even see his face, I simply feel the sublimity of a squeeze and the warmth it emits, knowing instinctively that it’s my daddy’s arms around me. I had such a dream two nights ago, and I remember thinking to myself as he hugged me, He’s so strong! And tall! And he’s thinner, too!

I won’t know until I join my dad in Heaven, but sometimes I’m convinced the “hug dreams” transcend objective oneirology and my REM cycle. For various reasons on earth, my dad never reached his potential height (due to injections that relieved intense joint pain), he struggled with his weight, which was only exacerbated by hypothyroidism, and while he was strong as an ox and never missed a workout, his weight masked his muscles. But (I love that conjunction sometimes!), in heaven, he is a righteous spirit made perfect, to paraphrase Hebrews 12:23. At this very moment, he is undoubtedly in the best shape of his everlasting life!

Working out and eating right are indeed essential keys we should all use to unlock flourishing health and long life. But at the end of the day, it is the Lord alone who knows when and how we will pass from earth to Paradise, from mortal to immortal. He knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs; He’ll be there when we breathe our last (Psalm 139:13), then send His angels to carry us home (Luke 16:22).

It was natural for myself, my family, and my father’s dear friends to question his early death. But was it really early? Was it not God’s will? Such questions are among life’s most complicated, and while I won’t know the perfect answer until I’m up there, I can rest in a peace that surpasses understanding (Phil. 4:7). Our lives are a gift. But they’re also a vapor that vanishes almost as quickly as it appears.

Not a day goes by that I do not thank God for giving me the greatest father I could ever imagine. And while only knowing him 22 years may seem unfair, I rejoice that this life isn’t all there is…

Stay fit, stay faithful, ~<3 Di


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2 thoughts on “Life and Death and Dreams

  • Hello, Diana. You fitness book caught my eye and I downloaded a sample from iTunes. Then I saw you had struggled with an eating disorder, and now I see from your website that you had lost your father. My wife and I will have been married 35 years this December. I’m a Pediatrician and have been practicing for almost 30 years now and my youngest patient with anorexia started having symptoms about age 9 and then ended up in my office at about age 10 or 11. Recently Stacy and I lost our youngest daughter Laura. She had a congenital neurodevelopmental condition called fetal istotretinoin embryopathy. Stacy had been on Accutane and despite using 2 methods to prevent pregnancy Laura was still conceived. Its been a little over two months now since she’s gone on to be with the Lord. But something amazing show us God’s hand in our lives. He really is a God of timing and by it I think we can know life is not random from day to day, nor a chance beginning. Anyway your book was encouraging because it sounds like you have the will to go the distance. I wrote a book about Laura’s life and a promise that He kept to us that maybe will give you continued encouragement. After all these years of just standing, we have been stunned at how God has worked in our great adversity. Maybe even it is that I’m writing this now because you need it…I don’t know. Anyway the book is free on iTunes and is ‘Forever and a Day For Laura Michelle’ and is only some 35 pages if maybe you do need some encouragement right now about your father who has passed away. Warmest regards,

    Ron Smith, MD
    McDonough, Georgia

    • Diana Anderson

      Dr. Smith,

      Thank you so much for this wonderful message and your comforting words. I apologize that it’s taken me so long to reply! My husband and I have just opened up our CrossFit box here in San Antonio and, needless to say, have had our hands full! I look forward to reading your book and can’t thank you enough for sharing your story with me. I can’t wait to pass this along to my brother and mom as well. I’m so thankful for our Christian brothers and sisters known only from blogs, Tweets, Facebook, etc. The Lord connects and uses us in so many cool, creative ways, doesn’t He?!

      God bless you!

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