July was quite the month for dreaming. I wish I could remember if I ate or drank differently. Or maybe all those tears during June and earlier in the month helped wash away the debris for a while so I could “see” more clearly inside my subconscious. Endlessly I dreamed of being in or moving out of a temporary place; of cleaning up a rental we’d lived in a long while.
I remember a large bathroom – one designed for lots of people – covered in detritus (bits of toilet paper, a stray sock, a dirty floor, empty paper towel holders and soap dispensers, hair in the drains), like after a group of campers had been there for a while. I saw a nickel and penny lying between my bare (?!) feet and debated whether to pick them up. (I did, but I WASHED THEM IN THE SINK.)
(Mark and Sarah were there, comfortably around the edges of my dream consciousness, also packing their suitcases.)
In one dream I was closing my suitcase when I noticed – in the main room of a cabin with a cathedral ceiling – lots of cobwebs, way up high, filled with grit. I found I could rise up the wall, gravity free, if I just pushed off with my toes (this made me SO happy…I haven’t had a flying dream in years). When I loosed the end of one massive cobweb, those pieces of grit fell, tiny black balls clattering like BB’s, to the surface of a dresser below.
And I had two very different dreams. In one I was standing inside a glass cathedral, looking around in awe, and I said “I made this with my words.” Days later I dreamed of escorting Steve into a huge building – like a hotel, really, with a multi-tiered open atrium that had office space on one level (and an entrance to a mall on the lower level – -what?!) – and jumping up and down as I told him “I MADE THIS! I CREATED IT!”
In his book, “Crossroads” and in “The Shack,” Wm. Paul Young writes metaphorically about how the Holy Spirit helps us – but only at our invitation – work on cleaning up what clutters our souls. In the latter, the metaphor is a garden full of weeds and old plants that need uprooting…the ground must be tilled and turned for the new seeds, for the good plants. In “Crossroads,” the main character is not a terrific person and his soul is a vast land surrounded with strong walls for keeping people OUT; he discovers within this guarded, protected land the homes he’s built over time for his Ego, for his Pride. And yet the house for Jesus is a ramshackle rancher…the land untended. Pride and its companion, Swagger, go around pulling up the good and beautiful plants (calling them weeds).
You may wonder what this has to do with grief, with Mark, with all of us as we struggle to find ways to carry forward. I think it has to do with coming to terms with what I have allowed myself to believe over time and why/how that happened; with coming to a truer understanding of who God is and what life is about, and what must be swept away, packed up and cleaned out in that process.