In 1993, Sonora first dreamed about angels. She was 25. Her daughter Shillo was almost 2.
“I remember it as if it was yesterday,” she says.
In Sonora White’s dream, Woodward Avenue (Detroit’s main north/south thoroughfare) was paved with black coal. People were lined up to enter a small white building surrounded by national flags. Joyful music emanated from within. Sonora ran back to convince her sisters and sisters-in-law to come with her. They refused. Returning, she saw her daughter enter the white building. Shillo turned, waved and called, “I love you, Mommy.”
Sonora broke down, falling to her knees. Following her daughter meant dying, leaving most of her family behind. The street was freezing. Pain shot up her legs. Her tears crystallized. Angels surrounded and warmed her.
They said, “Not everyone makes it into the building.”
Sonora had an epiphany. “I realized I can’t take on everyone else’s burdens. What mattered most was being with my daughter.”
She walked into the building. Her father sat in a chair upholstered in flags of many colors. He gestured to the chair beside him, saying, “Sweetie, I’ve been waiting for you for a lifetime.”
When she awoke the next morning, Sonora hugged her daughter.
Shillo said, “Mommy, I heard you call my name. What took you so long?”
“In the dream,” Sonora says, “I felt pain and indecision. After I gave it over to a higher power, the decision was easy. I was willing to die for my daughter.”
Years ago Sonora’s father told her, “You have a calling to be with people.” I agree. Sonora is the gracious yet capable chief medical assistant of my Detroit internist, Dr. Gordon Moss.
Sonora considers the dream she had 21 years ago the nocturnal equivalent of a near death experience. “My father was the only one who believed me.”
Years later, Sonora was suffering physical and mental abuse in her marriage. “My father said, ‘When you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, you’ll do something about it, no matter what it takes.’ God kept telling me to go forward, not to keep trying to save my husband. Finally, I said: I can’t do this anymore. As I did in the dream, I took a leap of faith. Once I decided to separate and divorce, a big weight dropped from my shoulders.”
For the last 11 years of his life, Pastor Steve White was a deacon at Peoples’ Community Apostolic Church in Detroit. “Even though he had just a 3rd grade education, my father could recite the Bible back and forth. Every Friday night he conducted bible study at our house for whoever wanted to listen. The front porch was his domain. He’d sit with his bible and his lemonade and talk to whoever came about what God has in store for them. When he died of sepsis 2 years ago, he had one of the biggest funerals ever.”
Shillo, Sonora’s oldest and the co-star of her dream, is alive and well at 22. She’s studying to be a veterinarian at MSU and is also a published poet.
Sonora also has 2 other children: Summer, 16, and Savion, 9.
Sonora keeps a journal by her bed to record her dreams. She’s done so since 16 when her aunt gave Sonora her first journal. Of her powerful dream, she says, “It helped me to move forward and know what’s important. It taught me that my first thought is usually the right thought and that angels look over me. I still get emotional about it because while I was so busy trying to take care of my sisters, I could have lost my daughter.”
Sonora’s father’s favorite aftershave was Old English Leather. His adoring daughter still smells the fragrance. “That’s how I know he’s still around. My daughter has started smelling it, too.”
(Has a dream influenced your life? I’d love to hear about it.)