I've been hounded for some time by a dream I had. I try to inoculate myself against a plague of anxious thoughts about it. I try not to make decisions based on what "part" of the dream I think I'm inhabiting, for surely it was a prophetic dream. I always tell people--if they believe in prophetic dreams at all: "You can't 'plan' around a prophetic dream." But does that stop me from trying it myself??
I shared the dream here in this very journal on January 12 of 2012, so it has been at least a year and a half that this dream periodically comes back as a churning undercurrent that occasionally throws up a spray. Happily, now, God has given me a framework of detachment from it. That detachment is always slow growing, a fragile seedling in the garden of the unconscious. Or maybe a constant willingness to pitchfork my faith as fodder for such an insubstantial little lamb. But eventually, the faith-work pays off.
Back then, I described the dream thusly:
I dreamed I was working on a building project with other saints. After the workday was finished, we were all invited back to an appreciation dinner. I arrived along with an older man. When we pulled back the curtain to the banquet room, we saw tables draped in white cloth, with people sitting waiting to eat. We were the last two to arrive, and I saw two places left empty. Each place setting held a gift for the diner. One place was at a table of older people--friends of the man beside me--who were very much engaged in lively conversation. At that place, a loaf of bread waited as a gift. The other table had an empty seat alongside my own husband, and its gift was a mystery, all wrapped and ribboned for opening. I considered both places, then turned to the man beside me. "Why don't you take this one here. I can make bread in my bread machine; and I don't know any of these people. You can sit with them since they're in your group. I'll take the other place." I treated it like a concession to what would most bless him.
So I went to be with the mystery gift and my husband. But he, standing behind his chair, acted surprised when he turned and saw me there. Immediately I knew I'd disappointed him...and myself. I looked at the gift in my hands and was suddenly crushed in my spirit. I had wanted this seat for the gift, for the more familiar companionship and for a place next to my husband--all of which would have been acceptable reasons, except that I hadn't been honest about what I wanted. I made the case that I was choosing this place based on what would be good for another, but in truth I'd done nothing of the kind. I'd chosen based on what I wanted for myself. Suddenly, the gift meant nothing, and my husband's disappointment as he turned his back on me to visit anew with the others at our table--this was a great chastening.
I woke knowing every part of this dream was deeply symbolic, and I prayed that I might be alert to learn from the dream itself rather than to have to walk such a sad path, all for the sake of the learning this truth. The bread He offers is NOT a bread I can make for myself. It is a gift. The people he sends to be my table companions should suffice, whether I sit at His right hand of honor or not.
I am the server, not the chef in this story...
Here is the full post of origin, but the dream alone is the content of today's musings, for today something "clicked" in my mind, and suddenly I see the purpose. Suddenly, the vine looks to bear fruit. Suddenly the lamb begins to graze without the help of my faith.
And THAT'S a relief! Sorry, but I'm still interested enough in myself that I don't want to stand alone in the position of being such a disappointment to a Dear One. Many prophetic dreams lately have had the flavor of being more personal--if not specifically for me, then for someone close to me. It has taken a year and a half to see that this one is more universal. In fact, I seem to be entering a period when God is showing me more of the universal aspects of my specific gift and calling. So be it.
Now, re-read the dream with me, and know "me" as the Church. The Bride, in the days of Her apostasy.
Paul's words to the Romans about Israel's own version of an apostate time--these echo with a sad and weary familiarly:
Israel failed to obtain what it sought. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
as it is written:
"God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear,
down to this very day."
And David says,
"Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a pitfall and a retribution for them;
let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and bend their backs for ever..."
So even my months straining to comprehend what the dream was saying to me...even the darkened eyes help define it. Marking this passage for commonality. And what of the glorious fact that eventually I see its meaning.
Surely, that also is good news for us all!
Finally, sense can be made of the symbol.
Finally, a new chapter from which to pray.
Finally, Simeon and Anna are stationed in the temple once again.