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GENDUSA COLUMN: The Music Just Beyond the Doors

Years ago, shortly before my mother passed away, she described a vivid dream she experienced one night that prepared us both for what was to come.   

In the Tennessee mountain town where she and I were born, the vacant old Imperial Hotel stands frozen in time as if passing years dare to touch it.  The brick three-story building next to the train depot was built in 1909.     

“Lynn, I dreamed I was at the Imperial last night.  I was in the foyer hall alone, and the doors to the ballroom were locked.  I heard a band playing and people laughing as if they were attending a fine party.  I wanted to join them, so I knocked and then banged on the old wooden doors. 

The noise inside grew louder, and my attempts to be heard were useless.  I begin to weep with frustration because I desperately desired to see everyone, but I could not.  I woke up this morning with the dream still fresh and found my pillowcase was damp with tears.  So strange.”  Mom declared after detailing her dream.

When Mother passed away a few months later, we took her home to the little mountain town to rest beside Dad. 

A day after the service, I drove toward the Imperial and wondered if I could somehow get inside. 

After parking my car, I found, to my surprise, the front door was unlocked, and I discovered I was alone in the building. 

While standing in the hallway, wooden doors were open to reveal a large room perfect for hosting a huge celebration complete with a band. But unfortunately, the hotel was void of sound.

Yet, I could feel the beat of the music as I envisioned my parents dancing as they always loved to do.

While standing among the spirits still alive in the Imperial, I understood how Mom’s dream prepared us for her departure from this world.  In the end, Mother was ready to join the others who waited just beyond the doors to eternity.  Her frustration was over.

We are sent images and messages of eternal life all the time. Either we decide to pay attention to them or ignore them completely. 

People call such events everything from God-Winks to bizarre coincidences to hogwash, but I call them gifts. Precious connections to unite us with God and those we have lost from this life. They remind me of a small present tied with a satin ribbon.  Once you untie the bow, the box reveals glimpses of forever.

Sometimes, when we are caught up in the noise of life, it is vitally important to become quiet and listen to the music just beyond the doors.