Thursday, August 13, 2009

Interpreting Dreams

I've never placed a lot of stock in the meaning of dreams. Mine seem silly and commonly disconnected with reality. They claim there are archetypal, metaphorical meanings to nearly everything we dream about. Maybe.

Lehi's Dream I can buy. His dream came as a revelation with much meaning and significance. Mine? Not so much. Now, some might say that I am much like Laman and Lemuel in that I haven't inquired of the Lord as to the meaning of my dreams. This is also true. Since I don't place much stock in my dreams, I spend little if any time trying to make sense of them.

I had a dream last night though, that has made me think a bit. Actually, it wasn't so much the dream as the circumstance that followed it.

I dreamt that I was sitting in a church meeting. I was near where the Deacons ordinarily sit when they are waiting to pass the Sacrament. The stand had it's usual railing wall along the front. Someone was speaking, but I didn't note who, or what was being said. Near where the chorister in our ward ordinarily stands to conduct the music, I saw Josh, my recently deceased friend, sitting at a small table and taking notes in a book. Occasionally, he looked around the audience. At some point he observed me looking at him. Surprised, he gave me a questioning expression to see if I responded. I did respond with an expression that let him know that, "Yes, indeed, I can see you!"

Acknowledging my response he promptly faded from my view at which point I awoke with a start. I no sooner had awakened, somewhat amused, than I was overcome with a heavy, crushing cloak of darkness, not unlike what Joseph Smith described in connection with the First Vision. It was smothering, opressively heavy, consuming darkness. I'd had a similar encounter with darkness while on my mission. Recalling the previous experience, I was not alarmed but rather turned to God in prayer and was released within a few moments.

I lay in bed pondering this circumstance for quite some time. If you've ever had a good foot rub, you may have had the experience of a lingering sensation in your feet that lasts long after the rub is over. I had a similar, lingering memory of this encounter with darkness that seemed to be recalled at the cellular level of my body. It was no longer oppressive or suffocating, but the residual memory or shock of it seemed tangible for quite some time.

I haven't concluded much from this experience. It seems to be a lesson in the enormous contrast between joy and misery, light and darkness. It is easy to dismiss the dream as a representation of the lonely longing I have to see Josh again. My heart and mind are still trying to process the loss. When I awoke, I was happy for the memory of the dream. I was pleased by the earnest, dutiful, but content look I saw on Josh's face and amused by the look of "yikes" on his face when he discovered himself exposed through the veil. There was nothing in the experience that seems even remotely connected with evil and yet darkness quickly came to counter my fun.

I know Josh's spirit remains in tact, that he's happily engaged in meaningful work and that I need not worry about him or the possibility of seeing him again one day. I knew that before this dream, no less than I know it now. Satan's intrusion hasn't affected that conviction in any way, so I really remain scratching my head about the whole thing.

If you, good reader, have any insights, I'd love to hear them.

1 comment:

Candleman said...

Last night at 12 Steps it occurred to me how fortunate I am that my first and automatic response to an encounter with evil was to pray. How blessed I am that I could pray with the utmost confidence of immediate aid.

The reason I have this blessing today is because of affliction and difficulty I've already faced in the past. Today, I am deeply grateful for those challenging experiences of the past.

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