Archive for the ‘Dreams’ Category

NeckThe strangest thing happened this morning when I woke up with physical marks on my neck from an awful dream in which I was fighting off an attacker. Yes! And the marks are still actually faintly visible … although not tender and sore any more. (I just snapped this picture of the marks with my phone, and can’t figure out for the life of me why I didn’t do it this morning when they were more prominent!)

The marks are where a person might normally have neck creases, except that I don’t have creases there. And the space between the lines, particularly toward the right of the picture above my index finger, is faintly colored in darker like a bruise, and was sore like a bruise.

What in the world was going on last night?!

In the dream, a shabby-looking guy who vaguely resembled Robert Carlyle (saw him in a TV episode last night before bed) was coming up behind me as I hiked a beautiful but solitary ocean cliffs location. As I sped up, so would he, until we were both running full tilt onto a sandy beach. He was screaming something about the Woman, the Beast, Revelation, the Whore of Babylon, and End-Time prophecies … he wanted me to stop so that he could tell me his theories, but I didn’t want to hear any of them. Besides, the level of creepiness was so high that somehow I knew he was going to to try to falsely “judge” me (kill me) as the Whore of Babylon after telling me his theories.

So we got to the sand, he tripped me, and we were tussling together as hard as we could. Motherly instinct kicked in and because I didn’t want him to hurt my baby, I was fighting back like a banshee. I even pulled the bobby pins out of my hair and was stabbing him so hard with them that they broke his skin.

At that point I woke up with my neck hurting.

Too bad that dream incident happened, because it really was a lovely dream location that otherwise I’d return to. But now it’s ruined with the memory of fighting with the guy…

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Disaster daydreams

It’s been a while since I let myself fall into daydream about some kind of horrible disaster in which I save the day — I used to daydream about walking into the apartment and finding my roommate dead. Morbid, I know! — so on the way to work this morning, I let my mind wander and ended up dreaming of a nuclear blast happening while at work. Of course, in this daydream I was the one who rallied the troops, gathered the rations, sealed off our fallout room, and saved the day! The greatest challenge was keeping the survivors calm and still in our room for the minimum two days to survive the initial fallout. They wanted to go find their families, or were embarrassed about using the bucket in the corner for a toilet, or were afraid of the dark, or any other number of things that would start panic in the group.

Anyway, it was nice to indulge in a bit of disaster dreaming. It sounds a little twisted, but I’ve always enjoyed it and am a firm believer that, in a true emergency, you tend to do whatever it is that you have practiced/prepared to do. So if I ever had found my roommate dead, or if there ever is a nuclear blast while at work, I just might end up responding better than if I’d given the situations no thought at all. (Saving the day, however? Eh. That’s unnecessary flattery on my part.)

When I arrived at the office this morning, I looked up how to survive a nuclear blast just to make sure that my daydream had been reasonably accurate.

Too weird?

Another disaster that I actually dream about (not daydream) is that I’m on a sinking cruise ship. It’s not as pleasant as when I am awake and fully able to control the dream, but it’s happened enough times that I think I am getting the hang of it, escaping the ship in time to survive the initial sinking. (Hasn’t happened yet; I have always died so far.)

On September 11, 2001, I became the crisis response person for the community college where I was working. I’m sure it’s an official position now, but at the time they had nobody designated — how do you prepare for a disaster like that one when it’s been decades since any kind of war came to our soil?! Now, this was in Florida and not in New York, so the “crisis” that existed on campus was purely an emotional one. Students wandering around dazed. Staff wandering around dazed. Someone was needed to stay strong, coordinate counseling efforts, and provide ways for students to express themselves and deal with the shock of it all. And that was me — at the age of 21. When the provost snapped out of her daze about two weeks later, I remember that she seemed a little bit shocked and surprised that she’d appointed such a youngster to this role!

Anyway, I’m rambling here. Guess it’s time to properly get to work for the day…

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I’m pretty sure that I’ve been watching too much Castle lately. What a fun little murder mystery show it is, but when it gives me dreams like last night’s … shudder.

In my dream, I had killed a serial killer as he hunted me as his next victim. This guy had made it well-known that he planned to kill a total of five women … the “Final Five,” they were called … and I would have been the third. I’d figured out his identity; I’d learned his patterns; I’d solved the mystery. If I was to let him kill me, all that knowledge would go to the grave with me. I killed him in anticipatory self defense, but also because it was the only way I knew to save the final two victims.

So the deed was done, and for the time being, I kept his body in the trunk of my car while I went to work. His first two victims had been coworkers, so there was nothing but support from the people at work as we talked about “what if” he turned up dead one day. (No, I didn’t confess to them! Are you crazy?)

The grueling part of the dream, though, was me trying to figure out how to dispose of this guy’s body. If he could just go away quietly, everything would be fine. But every solution I came up with led to the body being found and a murder investigation being opened.

So with that dream in my recent memory, I am feeling pretty unsettled today. I tried to sing in the shower to make the thoughts go away, but had no voice yet as it’s still morning. Sigh.

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A vision of heaven?

This morning I had a “vision upon my bed.” Don’tcha like that term? (And by like, I mean “dislike.”) Some of the Bible writers use it, and it frustrates me each time because I want to know whether they were having dreams or if they were having visions. Certainly there is a difference … or not?

In this vision-slash-dream, Gerry was taking me somewhere where we’d be weightless for a while. We had to find parking for the car in a great outdoorsy woodland meadow, walk up a hill, and enter a collegiate-looking building.

The building was packed full of people, and when you’d think there should be a wall, there was a wide doorway into another room also packed with people as far as the eye could see. This place was infinitely huge on the inside! Each and every person felt like family, and there was no awkwardness in going up to random people and striking up a conversation. And those conversations? The people talked about God’s amazing work in their lives, how he had showed his greatness in their struggles and weaknesses, and his full and rich character. I never got tired of listening to the stories, and I never felt the sense that anyone was bragging or sensationalizing. These people’s eyes were so full of joy and their faces beamed with a bright and gentle light!

I knew that Jesus was in the room nearby, and although I didn’t see him, his presence was strongly felt. And somehow I knew that each person would get just the right amount of time with him one-on-one, and that his presence was enough in the in-between times.

We only talked with a few people, and then our time was up and Gerry and I had to leave. Turns out that we’d had five hours in that heavenly place, five hours that flew by! A person could spend a lifetime in conversation with those just within eyesight, and several lifetimes going through the adjoining rooms. Leaving was bittersweet, but we knew we’d be back and realized that this bit of time-before-our-time had been a precious treat.

Gerry and I went back down the hill to the car holding each other’s hands and praying and thanking God for each other. I was somewhat awake at this point and knew that it was time for me to get out of bed to go exercise, but we could still feel God’s presence with us and it seemed like the wrong thing to leave at this moment. So I stayed in bed and kept worshipping. Good choice. I’ll exercise tonight.

Such overwhelming and complete peace in that dream … that vision! I’ve never felt anything quite like it before.

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A few weeks ago I watched The Stoning of Soraya M. It was more horrible than I’d anticipated. Oh, not the stoning, how could that get any worse? But rather, the evil hearts of the men accusing Soraya. Her own husband and father set her up on false charges, terrorized “witnesses” to speak against her, and then gladly hurled the first stones at her. And for what? Her husband wanted to take a second wife and didn’t feel that he could support both women. So rather than giving a divorce, he kills her. She is a beautiful woman with an innocent heart. Not a spot of guile on her. These men were just horrible.

The movie reminded me of how Iran has only been under Sharia law for a short time. Many people in the film, which was set in 1986, remember the old days — the good days. And many people alive today remember living normally in their home country. Women driving, shopping, laughing, showing their hair. Literature. Art. Debate and politics. It makes me want to find out what happened, and how it happened so quickly.

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Another water dream

I have a lot of dreams about tsunamis and violent floods, and since last night, rogue waves are on the menu as well.

A friend, Melody, and I were on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, watching ice skating on a rectangular surface next to the water. There were nice theatre seats with an aisle down the middle, and if you were to follow the aisle, you’d go out onto a jetty sticking into the lake. Performers and friends from The Holy Land Experience were out on the jetty in their Scriptorium robes, practicing for a dance. It was a nice day to be outside, and when I wasn’t chatting with Melody, I was surfing the web on my laptop.

But a storm must have been coming in, as the lake was getting all choppy and black. Suddenly, a towering rogue wave crashed down upon the jetty, sweeping all the performers off to who knows where. Water from the wave spilled onto the shore and knocked over carts and vendors who had been setting up for the evening’s activities. It was about chest-high here on the shore.

I threw my laptop into my bag and ran into the water to help the vendors closest to me. I held onto a woman who was gripping an important bag that had her life’s work in it, and a man helped to grab the bag as well. We struggled to pull it up to dry land, but then another freak wave came and crashed over us. Now we were in water well over our heads, and the swirling water threatened to smash us into rocks or hold us under until we drowned.

I don’t remember how we got out, but we did, and then I was running up the hill to a telephone to call 911 about everything happening. The dispatcher didn’t seem to believe me as I described the scene, but I stayed calm and on the line with him.

Soon, everyone who’d survived the waves was evacuating to a passenger train. I kept the phone with the 911 operator pressed to my ear. The train wound up-up-up the steepest mountain I’ve ever climbed — it was dizzying to look down at the lake and at all the destruction below. At the peak of mountain, the train stopped as attendants ensured that we were buckled in and that everything was secure, because at this spot on the track they had to fling the train off the mountain in a sideways arc, one car at a time. Not every car was expected to make it, and some of us would crash down the mountainside in an ever-crumpling box of aluminum. I hung up with 911 for this.

Well, my car made it. As we wound down the other side of the mountain to town, I logged onto my computer and there was a message from about how to restore everything after a sudden power loss. The password he gave me was a match.

At this point I think a second dream started, but with some overlap. I was still soaking wet and still had my computer, but now my brother and I were walking through town with another friend. Passing the house of a coworker, our friend decided that it would be a bright idea to steal my coworker’s car. Zoooooom, he was in the car and off — just as my coworker came walking down the sidewalk toward us. “Hi guys, howzit going?” Oh boy, did I ever feel guilty. Couldn’t look him in the eye.

So…

An odd thing about this dream is how it was packed familiar names and faces. Every role was filled by a person I know, from the passengers on the train to the vendors at the lake, to the 911 operator, and more.

I remember thinking during the dream about how God has promised not to destroy the earth again with a flood — so I really have nothing to fear with all of these water dreams. (Now, earthquakes, meteorites, and fires? That’s another story.)

Painting: Jersey Jetty by Pete Maier

Edit 5-4-10: Wow, I just found a picture and description of this place — and it’s a real place! Interlaken, Switzerland.

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Dreams & visions

Amos is by far one of my favorite books of the Bible, although I tend to forget this during the year and only remember it when I’m actually reading it. It gives such a good look at one of the tricky parts of God’s character — his judgment in tension against his mercy.

The book opens up with God talking to Amos and listing several small nation-cities, how they have sinned, and why he has to punish them.

Damascus: “Beat down” their neighbors in the region of Gilead with no mercy. Punishment: The palace will burn down and the king will die.

Gaza: Exiled their neighbors as slaves to Edom. Punishment: The city walls will burn down, the fortresses will be destroyed, and many of the people will die along with their king.

Tyre: Broke their treaty with Israel and sold whole Israeli villages as slaves to Edom. Punishment: Fire on the walls, fortresses destroyed.

Edom: Chased their Israeli relatives with swords and were unrelenting in their anger. Punishment: Fire on the walls, fortresses destroyed.

Ammon: Committed cruel war crimes, including cutting open pregnant women. Punishment: Fire, fortresses, and the government leaders going into exile.

Moab: Desecrated the tomb of Edom’s king and burned his bones. Punishment: Fire, fortresses, and the government leaders dying in battle.

Judah: Rejected God’s laws and refused to obey him. Punishment: Fire on the walls, fortresses destroyed.

There was an earthquake two years later, which seems to have fulfilled many of these punishments. The one that intrigues me the most is the pronouncement against Moab. They dishonored the grave of an Edomite king — and you’ll have noticed that Edom is prominently mentioned as an offender itself. But yet God still judges for Edom when they are wronged. What this shows me is that God is more concerned about justice than simply punishment.

Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
An endless river of righteous living.

Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live!
Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper,
Just as you have claimed.
Hate evil and love what is good;
Turn your courts into true halls of justice.

Also in the book of Amos, I find things to wonder about in terms of modern application. How about this:

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?
Does a lion ever roar in a thicket without first finding a victim?
Does a young lion growl in its den without first catching its prey?
Does a bird ever get caught in a trap that has no bait?
Does a trap spring shut when there’s nothing to catch?
When the ram’s horn blows a warning, shouldn’t the people be alarmed?
Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it?
But always, first of all, I warn you through my servants the prophets.
I the Sovereign Lord, have now done this.

Disaster in a city = God has planned it = God has warned about it ahead of time. Very interesting to think about. So what about the destruction of New Orleans in Hurricane Katrina? Are these verses indicating that God planned it and allowed it — but also sent warnings ahead of time? What did these warnings look like? Were they to individuals and neighborhoods, or should I be looking for something bigger that was proclaimed to the whole city?

I mentioned God’s mercy in tension with his justice. In Chapter 7, God pronounces various judgments on Israel and Amos argues back on behalf of the people: O Sovereign Lord, please don’t do it. Unless you relent, Israel will not survive, for we are only a small nation. And then God relents and moves on until he comes to a judgment that “measures” the people and only punishes the ones who have done evil — the righteous ones survive and eventually begin to thrive again.

I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands,
And they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again.
They will plant vineyards and gardens;
They will eat their crops and drink their wine.
I will firmly plant them there in their own land.
They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them,
Says the Lord your God.

This book of Amos is such an encouraging one for me!

Last night I dreamed that I received a really short phone call from my old friend Michael. Reception was terrible, so I only caught a bit of what he said. But basically he was asking me to pray for him in his ministry and as he talked with people about the good news of Jesus. I think he was facing difficulties… After the prayer request, he hung up, the whole call being no longer than 20 seconds (totally out of character for the real Michael). When I remembered the dream during breakfast this morning, I prayed for him.

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