Now It’s Time to Dream

Cheers BWThere was a moment at the wedding reception when it seemed like the mix of emotion and memory left everyone in a state of suspended animation. On stage, Jon’s nephew, Jameson, danced with his mother, Jean, to Billy Joel’s haunting “Lullabye.”

Jon’s brother, Jody, was leaning against the frame of a doorway, looking on. Jody’s fiance, Erin, was a step or two ahead, watching the stage along with everyone else. Cliff was busily capturing the moment on his cellphone camera.

As Jameson and Jean circled the floor, exchanging words we’ll never know, Billy Joel’s lyrics became the narrative:

Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you’ve been asking me
I think you know what I’ve been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight, my angel
Now it’s time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I’m rocking you to sleep
The water’s dark
And deep inside this ancient heart
You’ll always be a part of me

Goodnight, my angel
Now it’s time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me

Someday we’ll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on…
They never die
That’s how you
And I
Will be

Sensing the significance of the moment, Jon walked over to Jody and put his arm around him. Jody likewise put his arm around Jon. And there the brothers stood, taking it all in, at the intersection of emotion and memory. So much time had passed. Their yesterdays had worn off their hard edges, allowing a brotherly tenderness that was surprising yet entirely expected. Although they had been through so many ups and downs, they agreed that life was good. And so Billy Joel’s lyrics became their wedding wish for Jameson: Now it’s time to dream how wonderful your life will be. And you should always know, wherever you may go, no matter where you are, I never will be far away.

It was but one special moment in a weekend filled with them. After supper on Thursday, Jon took his mom back to her apartment and the two of them had another special moment. She said it was the first time in a very long time that the two of them had only each other. Jon thought back on it and remembered the last time he was really alone with his mom. It was in an emergency room, shortly after she had a mini stroke. She seemed so weak, then, so vulnerable. Nearly 20 years later, their conversation was honest and utterly without judgment.

Judy and Jon BWIn another special moment, Jon and Cliff welcomed Jon’s sister, Judy, for coffee and conversation and catching up. Facebook creates a false sense of connection. Although Jon and Judy have followed each other for years, they haven’t actually been together in the same room for more than two decades, but the awkwardness of too much time soon gave way to the affection of shared history.

Too much time had also passed between the funeral of Jon’s grandmother and the wedding of his nephew. During those 10 years, Jon’s nephew, Brad, had grown into a truly remarkable young man. Jon and Cliff delighted in his humor, his kindness, his confidence.

Carolyn and Jon BWJon and Cliff also found a special moment to reconnect with Sister Carolyn, a former colleague from Jon’s time in ministry. Their conversation was filled with nostalgia, laughter, ruefulness, and wonder. In a word, it was a grace-filled visit.

To paraphrase the lullabye, Someday we’ll all be gone, but special moments live on and on…