I dreamed I was me, but not the present me. I was in a culture where I felt comfortable, but more like a native village. I was about thirteen or so. I was chosen with seven others to leave the group and travel to a nearby school, where we were to be taught by craftsmen and mystics in one of eight categories. It was an honor to be one of the chosen to attend. We traveled for several days and finally arrived at a large clearing in the forest surrounded by small cottages where masters and their assigned students lived.
We were taken to a meeting in a building open to the sky but with columns and carved lintels that formed eight bays, grouped two per side. Each bay also labeled with the name of a gift or craft carved on the lintel. Each person’s name was called, and they were directed to one of the bays. I don’t remember what the names of the other bays were, but I was sent to Bay number 6, which bore the name of “Weaver.” The master there gave me a large carry bag, woven in a random pattern of grey, turquoise, and copper-colored bands of yarn. I recognized the master as a person I knew and respected in this life, one I was pleased to know as a friend and a wise woman. I remember thinking how blessed I was to have such a lovely gift, an opportunity to learn from this master, and also the additional blessing of friends to help me on my journey, both physical and spiritual. Then I was suddenly awakened, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get back to that dream.
All of us have dreams from time to time, some remembered, some half-remembered, and some forgotten when we woke from them. Some of the dreams were good, and some were nightmares. When I was young, it seemed most of the ones I remembered were nightmares that frightened me into calling into the darkness for my parents to come and chase them away. My calls were always answered, and the bogies were dispelled for another night.
Dreams seem to be a vehicle for things I need to consider or perhaps episodes I need to work through. I remember that often dreams in the Bible were messages that the dreamer was supposed to get regarding something God wanted them to know. At other times, God used God’s own voice or that of an angel to pass the message along.
Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, got several messages in dreams, each of which revealed what Joseph needed to do to protect both Mary and the baby Jesus. Peter dreamed about a sheet being lowered from heaven and containing all types of animals along with the message that Peter (and we) should not consider unclean what God had made as clean.
Joseph, son of Jacob, advised the Pharaoh of his time how to prepare for both the feast and famine to come. This event brought the tribe of Jacob to Egypt to escape the famine in their own land. Generations later, the Pharaoh of the time received messages in dreams about plagues to come if Pharaoh did not release the Israelites to return home. That Pharaoh did not listen to Moses’ explanation of the dreams, and so the plagues struck until Pharaoh agreed to let the Israelites go, and the exodus began.
God still speaks in dreams. I don’t know many who would not continue to be moved by the speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which we know as “I have a dream.” It has been a motivating ideal for countless people not only of the United States but the world who seek to, whether they recognize it or not, want to help bring the Kingdom of God closer to the current world. Even dreams of ordinary people can spark actions that help others to come closer to that kingdom, one that is needed now more than ever.
I have a feeling that the dream I had was unfinished when a cat landed on me and woke me up. I felt it was going somewhere, and I remember it so vividly, even days and weeks later. But try as I will, I can’t go back there. It’s like a cliff-hanger for a movie that won’t have a sequel.
So that leaves me with few options. Probably the most effective would be to accept the gift and learn what I can from it. I receive gifts every day that I don’t recognize, like the gift of a neighbor’s helping me to mow my yard with its crop of tall weeds, or who want me to knit something for them that is both personal and useful (they’re supplying the yarn and needles). The Weaver’s present of the carry bag brought me back to knitting, a craft I hadn’t practiced for years. It has also encouraged me to look for more gifts and messages expressed in dreams.
This time, though, I hope the cat will hold off for just a little while, letting me finish the dream before pouncing on me to announce it’s time for breakfast. Or was that God’s idea – a way to make me ponder what I remember and try to figure out the ending.
Image: Dream of St. Joseph, Rembrandt (between 1650-1655). From the Museum of Fine Art, Budapest. Found on Wikimedia Commons.
Linda Ryan is a co-mentor for an Education for Ministry group, an avid reader, lover of Baroque and Renaissance music, and retired. She keeps the blog Jericho’s Daughter. One of her domestic companions, unnamed to protect anonymity, is the cat referenced in the reflection.