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THE SAD TRIP!--By Father David       Portugal, 3/4/78       DFO1232

       1. IT WAS A LONG LONG DREAM, It seemed like it went on all night. It was just like reading a depressing book, a long nostalgic story about this fellow who was a middle-aged man who visits the scenes of his boyhood along the Mississippi River. He takes this long journey up the Mississippi visiting all the towns he used to know & seeing old friends & old enemies & visiting old familiar places & faces.

       2. THE STRANGE PART ABOUT IT IS THAT IT WASN'T ME, IT WAS HIM. He seemed like he was about 50, stocky build, heavy-set, short hair, like a typical white American ex-football player. Well, I don't know why I dream some of these dreams.

       3. HE STOPS IN THESE LITTLE TOWNS ALONG THE WAY ON THE WAY UP THE MISSISSIPPI, little towns that are almost ghost towns now. They used to be important riverboat ports, but now there are no more riverboats like that, so they dwindled down to ghost towns. There used to be important ferryboat ports to cross the river from one side to the other, but now there are big bridges & no more ferryboats & they don't need any more ferryboat ports.

       4. SO WHAT USED TO BE THRIVING, BUSTLING LITTLE TOWNS HAVE FALLEN INTO DECAY & DELAPIDATED GHOST TOWNS. The people are as sad as the towns. Some of the little towns used to be on busy highways that the ferry travels with lots of business & people going through, but now the highway no longer runs through them & across by ferry, but goes other ways by bridge, so they are dead, forsaken, no longer busy, just old delapidated houses & tumble-down mansions & neglected streets & the poor who got left behind.

       5. IT WAS LIKE A VISIT INTO THE PAST, LIKE A TRIP INTO 50 OR 100 YEARS AGO! The whole thing is intended to be sad & nostalgic & frustrating, sort of hopeless. Here it was in the United States for one thing, they're living in the past. They still think they're the greatest thing on Earth, but the rest of the World's really leaving them behind.

       6. HE VISITS ONE TOWN THAT USED TO BE A FERRY TERMINAL & now the highway no longer runs through there & the businesses have all moved out & the people even have to row their boats across the river in order to buy groceries at the other side of the river.

       7. HE VISITS ANOTHER TOWN WHERE THERE USED TO BE A BOYS' SCHOOL THAT HE USED TO GO TO, but he was mistreated there somehow by the school authorities. It's nothing now but a sort of a weekend or summer boys' camp, & he was sad when he thinks about how he was unfairly treated by the school.

       8. HE COMES TO THE MAIN SWITCHES OR SWITCH PANELS THAT CONTROL THE LIGHTS IN THE WHOLE VILLAGE, & he gets so mad he throws the switches & throws off all the lights & they don't know what's happened to the lights, so the boys' camp is left in the dark.

       9. HE MADE THIS TRIP BY BOAT IN HIS LITTLE YACHT, & he's now apparently a successful businessman who now lives in the big city. I had the impression he lives in New Orleans but he was going back to visit the scenes of his childhood.

       10. AND AS HE GOES UP RIVER HE PASSES AN ISLAND OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER which had been willed to him by his parents, but this crooked lawyer in his hometown had swindled him out of it. But he looks at it as he passes by it, & it's still nothing, nothing's on it, nobody lives there, a couple of old fishermen's shacks, because the island was too low & everytime the river flooded, why it wiped away everything anyhow.

       11. THEN HE VISITS SEVERAL PLACES WHERE THE PEOPLE HE USED TO KNOW WERE DROWNED in one of the big Mississippi floods, & my feeling was that his own parents & family had been wiped out in one of the floods & he was left completely alone.

       12. HE VISITS ANOTHER TOWN WHERE HE USED TO LIVE FOR ABOUT 6 YEARS when he was a young man & had a business there. But the town had been virtually wiped out in one of the floods, his store was gone & the people he knew were gone, everything was gone & there was nothing but some miserable huts with poor Negroes living there.

       13. IT WAS JUST A LONG LONG SAD STORY ABOUT ALL THESE VISITS, FRUSTRATION, SEEMINGLY POINTLESS, VERY NOSTALGIC. It was just like he'd lived his whole life & they had lived theirs & none of them seemed as though they accomplished anything. He even felt sorry for his enemies & their fates. Their lives & their business & homes had been wiped out & they were no more.

       14. AND HE FINALLY GOT TO THIS ONE LITTLE TOWN WHERE HE HAD LIVED JUST BEFORE HE MOVED TO THE BIG CITY & where he had been rather popular with some people but not so popular with others, & where he'd had a lot of enemies & had finally gotten sick & fed up with the town & moved to the city.

       15. IT WAS STILL QUITE A FAIRSIZED LITTLE TOWN, & HE FOUND THIS WAS ABOUT THE SAME AS IT USED TO BE, just a small town with not much going on, a lot of the same people, a little better shape than some of the other places. Everybody had of course grown older & the old folks were gone & the younger ones were now middle-aged.

       16. BUT THEY WERE SO HAPPY TO SEE HIM COME BACK THAT THEY ARRANGED A KIND OF A LITTLE HOME-COMING WELCOME, & they made him honorary mayor of the day & all that kind of stuff. They were trying to be nice & good to the hometown boy who made good in the big city.

       17. BUT HE'S REFLECTING ON THE EMPTINESS & THE FRUITLESSNESS, THE POINTLESSNESS OF IT ALL, how it's all so empty & it all looked to him like such wasted years of his life & their's too, because none of them seemed to really have accomplished very much. He's gotten rich & has a job & some fame & the whole thing is like Solomon said, "vanity, vanity, all is vanity & vexation of spirit." (Ec.1:2)

       18. I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY I'D DREAM SUCH A DREAM AS THAT. It was all so detailed & so specific, just like I was reliving somebody else's life. He had real short hair, almost like a butch, flat-top, that used to be popular during the second World War, a typical GI redneck type, just the kind of a guy I don't like, the kind of a fellow I don't really like at all. Maybe it was one of my ex-enemies. There was a lot more.

       19. IN THE ONE PART ABOUT THE ISLAND, THE OLD JUDGE & THE LAWYERS WHO GYPPED HIM OUT OF HIS PROPERTY, when everything had all been wiped out in one of the floods, they hadn't benefitted from any of their thievery or stealing. It seemed like everybody got recompensed & everybody got paid back for all the evil, & it didn't do them any good. All the cheating & the lying & the stealing & the evil they had done to him, they'd all gotten theirs.

       20. BUT EVEN THE GOOD FOLKS DIDN'T SEEM TO HAVE ACCOMPLISHED VERY MUCH, their lives seemed to be wasted & frustrated & pointless. Of course, there was nothing about the Lord in it.

       21. IT WAS JUST AS THOUGH THIS IS THE WAY AMERICANS ARE WHO DON'T LIVE FOR THE LORD & don't give God any credit, & leave God out of their lives. This is how fruitless & pointless their whole lives are. It was just real sad, just like I was reading a book. It's amazing! I often get dreams like that, dreams that would make a whole book, all the details to it!

       22. AS HE MAKES THE TRIP HE GOES BACK IN HIS MIND, flashbacks all the time about how things used to be, how the people used to be, & the scenes of his childhood, the scenes of his boyhood, the scenes of his young manhood, the scenes of his early life in school, scenes of his early businesses as a storekeeper.

       23. THE ONLY THING THAT WAS NOT SHOWN WAS JUST EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING NOW IN THE BIG CITY, what his business was, but apparently he was well off because he has a nice yacht & he's cruising up the river & stopping at these different places, a real nice yacht you could live in.

       24. HE PULLS INTO THESE DIFFERENT DOCKS & PORTS TO SEE THE PEOPLE THAT HE USED TO KNOW, try to find them. Of course a lot of them are gone or died or were swept away in the floods, & in several towns he can't even find anybody he knows anymore at all. They'd all forsaken the town & moved somewhere else because it had become just a ghost town.

       25. I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THAT BEFORE, I NEVER REALISED HOW MANY TOWNS THERE MUST BE ALONG THE RIVER that have just absolutely become ghost towns. Instead of being on the big highway with the ferry, now they're just at the dead end of a road that goes nowhere, because there's no more ferry.

       26. THE HIGHWAY'S NEGLECTED BECAUSE THERE'S A NEW HIGHWAY THAT GOES OVER A BRIDGE & these little old towns that used to be thriving little towns along bustling highways in the early days of the automobile & the little two-lane roads that they used to have when I was a kid, now that the highway's gone someplace else & the traffic & the business & the people go over some big fandangled new 6-lane bridge, those little towns are really towns at the end of the road, the end of an old neglected little two-lane almost like a pathway compared to what they used to be. There must be oodles of those towns all along the Mississippi.

       27. ISN'T IT FUNNY I'D HAVE A DREAM LIKE THAT? I'M SO FAR AWAY & I'M NOT EVEN INTERESTED IN THAT COUNTRY ANYMORE. I'm sick & fed up with them & their Godlessness & Christlessness & materialism. He's just like a picture of them all, only it was almost as though he was beginning to awaken to the fact that it was all vanity, vanity & vexation of spirit, fruitless & pointless.

       28. MOST OF THE PEOPLE WERE JUST SAD, & everything was tragedy or sadness or poverty or death or frustration. Just a real real sad trip, real sad trip. I can't even figure out any application for it.

       29. IT REMINDS ME OF THAT OLD SONG, "OLD MAN RIVER". (Sings:) "Old man river, old man river, he don't say nothing, he must know something, he just keeps rolling, he keeps on rolling along." It was sort of like the river, it just kept on going & going & left them all behind, & in fact swept some of them away with it, some of their whole life's work, buildings & homes & everything else away with it.

       30. (SINGS:) "YOU & ME, WE SWEAT & STRAIN, BODY ALL ACHING & WRACKED WITH PAIN. Tote that barge, lift that bale, get a little drunk & you land in jail. Old man river, that old man river, he don't say nothing, he must know something, he just keeps rolling, he keeps on rolling along."--One of the saddest songs. There's more to it, but I forget it.

       31. IT WAS ALMOST LIKE THE RIVER REPRESENTED THE STREAM OF LIFE that had left all these people behind & swept some of them away, & some of their whole life's work away--homes & buildings & towns & people.

       32. IT WAS SO VIVID, SO REAL, JUST LIKE I WAS ACCOMPANYING HIM IN THE SPIRIT. It was strange, like I was just a little behind him & looking over his shoulder all the time. I don't know, maybe it's somebody God wants me to pray for.

       33. HE REMINDS ME OF THE PEOPLE, TYPICAL AMERICAN FLAT-TOPPERS THAT I DIDN'T LIKE, military-type men, apparently been to the war & back & looked like a typical 50-year-old ex-GI who was proud of his war record, just the kind of a fellow I didn't like & I just despised, just a typical American.

       34. BUT IT WAS THE FUNNIEST THING, I ACTUALLY BEGAN TO FEEL REALLY SORRY FOR HIM. Thinking about him I just almost weep. He's like the kind of guys that are my enemies, you know?--And even though he's made it & he's got whatever it is he's got, apparently plenty, because he could afford this yacht & this cruise up the river to visit all these old familiar faces & places & towns, but now it doesn't mean anything because both the things that he loved & the things that he hated were all gone & swept away & tumbled down to nothing.

       35. THERE WASN'T REALLY EVEN ANY SATISFACTION IN SEEING THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS ENEMIES because he even felt sorry for them when he saw what they'd come to--whole families destroyed & the wealth of the crooked judge & lawyers & everything wiped out, towns wiped out. It just seemed like he couldn't do anything but feel sorry for them all & pity them.

       36. THE WHOLE THING ENDED WITH HIM BEING GIVEN THIS BIG WELCOME IN THIS FINAL LITTLE TOWN where he'd lived & had his business before he moved away, & they had this big wreath being put around him like having the key of the city as honorary mayor of the day, a little hometown band playing, & making a speech, thank you, blah, blah.

       37. AND AT THE SAME TIME HE'S THINKING, THESE PEOPLE ARE ALL TRYING TO BE NICE TO HIM & PRAISE HIM, he remembers how some didn't treat him so nice when he was there before. Now they were almost trying to make up for it, mostly because now he was important & rich & a bigshot, so now they welcome him, now they praise him & glorify him.

       38. BUT JUST AS HE WAS LOOKING AT THE WHOLE SCENE HE'S THINKING HOW DISGUSTING THE WHOLE THING IS, what hypocrites they are & what liars they really are because they didn't treat him that way when he went away. That's one reason he left.

       39. THE FINAL SCENE IS HE'S JUST LOOKING OVER THE TOWN & THE PEOPLE & THINKING WHAT A VANITY & VEXATION OF SPIRIT. He's thinking what a farce, what hypocrites & what emptiness, it was all empty, emptiness, frustration, dissatisfaction. Like all of their lives were so wasted & really fruitless. What is the word I'm looking for--pointless?--Well, I could use the word useless, just useless. His whole idea was, "Well, what are we here for anyhow, what's the use of it all? It's all so disgusting & it's all useless, meaningless, pointless."

       40. THE WHOLE THING ENDED JUST REALLY SAD, HE WAS RIGHT AT THE VERY POINT FOR HIM TO FIND THE LORD, like he's just on the verge of giving up finding happiness of any kind. The whole idea being he hasn't found anything, he's found no happiness even though he's rich.

       41. HERE ARE ALL THESE POOR PEOPLE HE LEFT BEHIND who although poor, they're just as unhappy as he is, they're living pointless, hopeless, useless, meaningless lives. Whether rich or poor, it was all frustration, it was all pointless, all vanity.

       42. IT WAS AS THOUGH HE HAD SORT OF LOOKED FORWARD TO THIS TRIP WHEN HE STARTED OUT. It was going to be a happy trip visiting the scenes of his childhood & boyhood & all these fond memories of how things used to be. There were some bad memories, too, but he was expecting to sort of enjoy visiting these old places again.

       43. BUT INSTEAD OF BEING A HAPPY TRIP & ENJOYING IT, HE WAS REALLY REALLY DEPRESSED by the conditions of the towns & the people & the absence of some of the former loved ones & faces & the terrible, terrible change that had taken place in it all.

       44. IT REMINDS ME OF GRANDMOTHER'S BOOK, "STREAMS THAT NEVER RUN DRY", about how she went back to the scenes of her childhood that had been such a happy childhood, in this special suburb in St. Louis, a real swanky residential section that had big gates you had to go through to get in.

       45. NOW THE WHOLE THING HAD TURNED INTO A COLOURED TOWN & she couldn't even find the corner she used to live on, & everything was a mess.--Husks, husks, husks! And she felt like, "Well, there was a stream that ran dry."

       46. SHE WENT TO VISIT AN OLD GIRLFRIEND WHO HAD BEEN SO BEAUTIFUL & SUCH A BELLE OF THE BALL, & she said she reminded her of the old saying about "a rag, a bone & a hank of hair" with a bunch of screaming kids & married to some drunk.

       47. EVERYTHING THAT SHE USED TO LOVE & VALUE HAD ALL FADED AWAY DOWN TO NOTHING, or worse than nothing, & that's how this dream was about this guy taking this trip up the river.

       48. I CAN'T SEE ANY POINT IN THE DREAM except it might make a nice plot for a novel or something!--Or maybe it would bring him to find the Lord!

       49. IF RIGHT NOW HE'D MEET ONE OF OUR GIRLS, THAT WOULD BE THE ANSWER, because he's so sad & so disillusioned & so nostalgic, he's so lonely. He's apparently taking this trip alone, I don't remember seeing anyone else in the boat, he's just taking it alone. It would be the perfect time for him to find one of our girls & fall in love with her & the Lord, just what he needs!

       50. IT'S THE PERFECT PICTURE OF A SAD LONELY BUSINESSMAN WHO IS NOT SATISFIED BY HIS WHOLE LIFE. Most of his life is behind him & he's found no real fulfillment. He's found money but it hasn't satisfied. He's got a good business but nothing satisfied.

       51. THIS IS WHY HE WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO TAKING THIS TRIP, because he thought somehow he'd recapture some of the happiness he'd known in the past by revisiting the scenes in the past. Instead of that, they were even sadder & emptier & more unhappy than he was.

       52. THAT WOULD MAKE A BEAUTIFUL STORY. Maybe I woke up before the end of the story, I don't know. It would make a beautiful story if now he'd find one of our girls.

       53. MAYBE IT'S JUST TO SHOW THE GIRLS HOW PITIFUL & SAD SOME OF THOSE GUYS ARE. They finally made it & thought it was going to bring them happiness, & they're more unhappy & feel more empty, more lonely, more dissatisfied, more nostalgic than ever before. They're even more unhappy than they used to be when they were young & poor & so on.

       54. OBVIOUSLY HE HAD NO FAMILY OF HIS OWN & NO WIFE & CHILDREN. He must have lost them or divorced or something, because a family man would have taken his family with him on such a trip as that. No family, all alone, probably his mother & father gone, & he goes along looking for relatives & looking for friends.

       55. THE SADDEST PART OF THE WHOLE STORY IS HOW HE TRIED TO FIND THESE PEOPLE HE USED TO KNOW, friends & loved ones, & everybody's gone, everybody he knew is gone or they're so old he wouldn't hardly even recognise them. Even some of his enemies he could even feel sorry for them, they suffered such terrible lives.

       56. IT WAS SO SAD & SO REAL, AS WE STEERED UP THE RIVER & we steered around this island that had been his, willed to him by some relative, & he was thinking how this crooked judge & crooked lawyer had gypped him out of it.

       57. HE USED TO LOVE TO GO TO THE ISLAND WHEN HE WAS A BOY & go fishing & all that. He had happy memories about the island, & there it was, still lovely with just a couple of old fishermen's shacks or huts on it.

       58. HE WAS GOING UP THE RIVER, THAT'S SORT OF SIGNIFICANT OF GOING BACKWARD IN TIME. Going upstream, back from whence the river had come, going back up river, backstream & backward in time at the same time. He really went backward in time because some of those village were almost unchanged, they were still tiny little villages & nothing had happened. It was just really sad all the way through.

       59. IT SEEMED LIKE THE FURTHER HE WENT THE SADDER HE GOT, & even at the end where they were praising him & tried to pretend like they thought he was such a big man, their hometown boy who'd gone to the big city & made good, he was feeling the emptiness of it all, the hypocrisy of it all, even when they praised & applauded him, supposedly reaping the fruits of sucess, it was all empty, just empty & hypocritical. Husks, husks, husks!

       60. THE ONLY THING I CAN THINK OF IS THAT IT MIGHT BE SOMEBODY REAL WHO ACTUALLY LIVES OR IS LIVING & NEEDS OUR PRAYERS, & pray that he meets one of our girls. And it just could be somebody that the Lord wants us to pray for that he'll meet one of our girls & find the happiness that he needs & he longs for, because he's so sad & so empty & so pitiful, so disappointed & so disillusioned, it's really pitiful.

       61. I FELT SO SORRY FOR HIM DURING THE DREAM I NEARLY CRIED! It was so real, all the detail, I could probably even think of more detail if I wanted to take time for it.

       62. ALL THROUGH THE DREAM THERE WERE FLASHBACKS OF HOW THINGS USED TO BE, flashbacks just like watching a movie. Memories of a big flood, horrible flood that he went through when he was a boy & how some of the people he knew, relatives & all were killed & swept away. (Maria: You could see it?)

       63. YES, YES, YES! IT WAS REALLY SCARY, goodness gracious, it was like I was in the flood with him! He was in the water & the river was rushing down & all these big trees were in the river. The river was just rushing like mad, it was horrible, people & trees & housetops & getting killed & all!

       64. EVERYTIME HE'D COME TO A PLACE HE'D HAVE A FLASHBACK OF HOW IT USED TO BE, he'd come to visit the place & what had happened there, the events that happened there, like a story in reverse almost. It was just like watching a movie, only it was more real because it was just like I was in it, actually in it watching over his shoulder.

       65. HOW REAL DREAMS CAN BE! Well, PTL, I don't see any other point, it just shows how pointless it is & how sad some of those Americans are. Even though they've got everything & success & praise of man & seem like they've got everything, they have nothing.

       66. IT WASN'T AS THOUGH LIFE HAD LEFT HIM BEHIND, IT WAS ALMOST AS THOUGH HE'D LEFT LIFE BEHIND, that the old was better than the present & memories were sweeter than today's realities. Even the bad memories looked better now than did the present day realities. It's really sad & pitiful all he'd been through.

       67. IT WASN'T LIKE WATCHING A MOVIE. IT WAS JUST LIKE BEING THERE. Each time he visited a place, even that was not like watching a movie, a flashback, he would see the place again in his memory the way it used to be & the folks he used to know & the happiness of his childhood & all that. Now it was all gone, all dead, all passed away it was really pitiful.

       68. MAYBE IT'S SOMEONE THAT REALLY EXISTS, SOMEONE THAT REALLY NEEDS TO FIND THE LORD. That's the only point I can see in having seen that big long dream. I kept waking up & going right back to sleep & dreaming the next installment. When I'm dreaming like that I'm not sleeping deeply, I was a little restless & woke up several times.

       69. WELL, PTL, THAT'S THE STORY. I don't know what you'd call it. "Sad Trip" is all I can think of, "Sad Trip." It was so like that phrase in that song, "Old Man River"--"Tired of living, but scared of dying."

       70. HE'S THE KIND OF CHARACTER I DON'T EVEN LIKE, but yet the dream actually made me feel sorry for him, really sorry for him. He was a kind of obnoxious, domineering, aggressive, pushy, typical American, tough, hard military-type, ex-footballer & all that kind of stuff, but that dream actually made me feel sorry for him, isn't that funny? So Lord, if it be Thy will, Thy will be done.

       71. IF IT'S SOMEBODY THAT REALLY EXISTS THAT YOU WANT US TO FEEL SORRY FOR, PRAY FOR, HELP HIM TO FIND YOU, LORD, if possible maybe through one of our girls somewhere, maybe in some town along the river, or some place in the river cities if we still have anybody there. One of those big cities along that river, Lord, run into them somewhere, or a litnesser on the street or something.

       72. THY WILL BE DONE LORD, HELP HIM TO FIND YOU, IN JESUS' NAME. Help him to find You, Lord, & the true love & happiness that he really seeks, the lasting happiness, not the empty pleasures of this world, but lasting joy, love & genuine happiness. Amen, in Jesus' Name, Thy will be done. TYL! We know You gave the dream for some reason!--In Jesus' name, amen.

       (P.S. 1982: In the dream he was then living in New Orleans, the big city at the mouth of the Mississippi in Louisiana.--Have you found him?--Or will you please try?--Thanks! ILY! Your love is the answer to everyone's problems! GBY! PTL! Thank You Jesus for Your love that turns our lives from a sad trip to a glad trip! TYJ!--Amen.)

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family