On August 29, 2014 (Month 6 Day 3), I had an interesting dream involving ministry and a parsonage. I wrote the following in my journal:
I awoke to Mary’s alarm realizing that I had been dreaming. I was in a coastal town, because I seem to remember Palm Trees. I was placed back into preaching, because I was being shown the parsonage. It was an older home, one story I think, built in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
I was walking around the kitchen opening cabinet doors and finding the cabinets filled with food items and I reacted saying “Oh My Gosh!” I walked into the dinning room, to the left of the kitchen, and found more food and I was further excited, and responded “Oh My Gosh!” I was simply impressed by how much food was in the house, and that the congregation had put so much food in the house.
I never searched the house beyond the kitchen and dinning area. While I was in the house it was raining outside, wind blowing the shrubs by the house, along with a heavy thunderstorm.
I was intuitively aware that Mary was in my life, but I don’t recall her being present in the dream. I know that [a preacher and his wife] were there, but I remember talking with [an additional minister]. [The preacher and his wife were] somehow present, but [I was] not talking with them.
[Instead,] I was talking with [the additional minister], I don’t recall if he was present, but I was definitely talking with him and not [the preacher and his wife], or Mary. It’s almost like I could feel the presence of Mary, [the preacher and his wife], and [the additional minister], they were there but not there, almost as if I was alone in the house, but sharing what was happening.
Oddly, on the property was this out building separate and apart from the house by a sizeable distance, my memory [of the dream] wants to say [the building was] in the shape of a lighthouse. I went into the lighthouse and it was like it was designed to be a reading room, which could be used for solitary moments to retreat in order to think, meditate, and pray.
There was a solitary chair sitting in the room. Odd, to match this part of the dream, it was not raining when I went to this building; it was clear skies and bright sunlight.
The whole dream was in color, shades of blue in the house, with various shades of green in the vegetables and food, and tints of yellow in the lighthouse. I also remember [tasting] white frosting (icing) or cream cheese, which was on the food, and it being pleasant to taste.
It does not escape my attention that I have this dream on the day just before my birthday.
Like most other dreams, I was baffled as to its meaning. From my notes, it looks like the only real feeling I received from the dream was that I felt alone.
From my notes, it seems that I was content to remain with that. But Mary encouraged me to learn more. So at her behest I prayed about the dream.
I prayed: Abba, will you help me understand my dream from this morning by giving me the interpretation? The Divine responded:
Why do you need it? Don’t you understand?
Look, I don’t know about my reader, but for me, if I understood the dream, I would not have needed to pray. This would begin a very lengthy exchange that left me feeling more unable to understand dreams.
But at that moment, in my prayer, I replied: Not really, no. The Divine responded:
Then, ponder for a moment. Aloud.
So I pondered. I wrote in my journal: It felt very church of Christ, from the feel of the church of Christ parsonage, to church of Christ preachers, but I was, or at least felt, alone. The Divine responded:
What? To me, more of the same. So, in my prayer, I replied: ‘And?’ I don’t understand. The Divine responded:
Yes, you do. Continue.
So, I recorded that I was thinking. Then I asked: Am I going back to ministry? The Divine responded:
I recorded in my prayer that the idea of aloneness occurred to me. So I replied: church of Christ ministers really are ‘alone’. The Divine responded:
So what is the significance?
Again, I went to thinking. In my prayer, I replied: I am not ‘alone’ because I am not a church of Christ minister? The Divine responded:
Recall that by the time I was praying that prayer I had been away from the church of Christ pulpits for almost four years. So I did not understand. So in my prayer, I asked: What do you mean? The Divine responded:
Are you a preacher?
I replied: I suppose, in a way. The Divine responded:
You suppose? Then where have you been?
To that I replied: I thought I resigned from preaching. The Divine responded:
You never resigned.
What? I mean there it was like I said almost four years without being in a pulpit. I thought I had left those things behind. Yet the Divine seems to have candidly told me that I did not resign. Interestingly the Divine continued:
I’m working on you.
To which I replied: Ok.
I immediately added a question: Then am I going back to the church of Christ? The Divine responded:
To my ‘church of Christ’.
Perhaps my reader is as I was. I asked: What do you mean?
There was no reply. My prayer time went silent.
So I’ll take a minute and ponder the Divine’s response. You see, I come from a religious heritage and family that very much emphasize the importance of the religious heritage.
So for me and the dream, I was truly considering that I would be not only be returning to my religious heritage, but also to the pulpits thereof. Now, is that a bad thing? I guess it depends on which side of that discussion one sits.
For me, it is not a bad thing, but it’s not really something I am ready to fully embrace. Look, I know how these folks think. In many ways it’s like talking to a brick wall.
Will they listen? Sure. But they move slower than a snail when it comes to the Bible, hermeneutics, theology, and biblical interpretation. I was trained up within patternistic thought.
The Progressive cofc is not necessarily pattern driven, but they simply traded one set of poor hermeneutics for another set of poor hermeneutics and have thus developed their own brand of dogmatism. I’ve seen it. I’ve heard it.
Personally, I don’t want to be any part of any branch of my religious heritage. However, if the Divine were to put me there, then I would work there.
One might think that the Divine was doing that in that prayer, but that’s not necessarily accurate. The Divine conveyed “my ‘church of Christ’”.
While I am not exactly certain what that statement looks like, I feel certain that the Divine’s cofc looks nothing like the cofc that I have experienced.
With that mentioned, let me return to the prayer. There was no answer. All of the other times I asked questions, there was an answer. Since there was no answer, I took that time to ponder.
After taking some time to consider things, I prayed saying: But the dream did not convey a feeling about Rachel. The Divine responded:
What does that matter?
To me that was an appropriate thought. Considering that I intuitively knew that Mary was in the dream, and there was no other wife or wives in the dream, I assumed that the lack of that presence in the dream was significant.
So I replied: Um, I thought that was my ‘path’. The Divine responded:
Are you certain?
Okay, things went from not understanding the dream, to not understand what was happening trying to figure out the dream.
I have been forthright to say that I often wrestled with the entire experience. So when I had a dream that did not have a presence of an additional wife, I thought it was significant enough to pay attention to.
So I mentioned it. Then I expressed that I thought two wives was where I was supposed to go. Then the Divine’s response was a question asking me if I was certain. In many ways, I wasn’t certain that I was to have two wives. There are moments in 2016 that I have questioned it, but at this point I feel (believe?) that the experiential evidence is too great for it not to be the case.
But back in the prayer, I replied: What!? What are you saying? The Divine responded:
In a sense, the Divine was convey no information about two wives, but at the time I did not understand that. Yet the Divine asked:
Who says anything has changed?
That is an important question regarding what I had come to understand about two wives being in my future. So, in the prayer, I replied: Then why was Rachel not in the dream? The Divine responded:
You tell me.
My prayer notes say that the Divine’s response got me to thinking. I pondered about what Mary said about the preacher and his wife and who they represent. Mary told me that maybe the preacher and his wife represented a specific couple. So I asked the Divine if she was correct. The Divine responded:
So I inquired: Then what does it mean that I felt Mary’s presence, but not Rachel’s?
As soon as I asked that question, a thought came back to my mind ‘your life will be upended for a season, to put your life back together’.
I recalled that August 29, 2014. But that was a memory from an event way back in 2010, something that I shared back in Installment 8.
With that thought in mind, I asked the Divine: So, are you telling me that the last three years and the taking another wife was nothing but the upending, a trial, nothing more?
That is exactly what so many have told me that my life was – just a challenge to test me, other than that there was no substance to those years or the events that were occurring to me.
If that were proven true, so many around me would be so please, satisfied that they have proven me wrong and established themselves as factoid based.
With that in mind, it becomes impressive that the Divine responded:
You my son cannot see.
I can agree, that was my problem, and is the very reason I went to the Divine asking for the interpretation of the dream.
But the Divine was talking specifically about me thinking that my upending was nothing more than a trial. Importantly, the Divine continued:
And in not seeing you have fooled yourself.
Dear reader, that is NOT where anyone should want to be, and I didn’t like the Divine informing me of such.
In the prayer, I replied: What? What does that mean? The Divine responded:
Consider the dream.
So the Divine takes my attention back to the dream, and wants me to look specifically at the dream. The Divine continued:
What did you see?
I went back to the dream. I enumerated: Storm. Rain. Provisions. Material things like the house.
Those were specific things I noticed in the dream. The parsonage definitely was being rained upon, a thunderstorm rain, windy. The lighthouse building is located on the exact same property as the parsonage, but the lighthouse has clear skies and is bathed in sunlight.
Here in 2016, those dream aspects carry some possible meanings. But back then I had no understanding.
After I enumerated some details, the Divine continued:
Then what do those things mean?
Back in 2014, I was quick to reply: I don’t know, that’s why I am asking you.
Interestingly, at that moment, I recorded into my prayer that ‘my phone buzzed with a text message’. The Divine conveyed:
Check your messages.
So I checked my phone. Mary sent me several messages, but I present it in one quote since it represents her entire thought. Mary sent:
I had the thought that the [the preacher and his wife] in your dream are us, and you are Rachel.
Rachel may talk to [the additional minister] over the phone, hence not in person. She is with us and will be amazed when she sees all the provisions Abba has provided for us. The kitchen can represent our hearts and the food possibly represents what she is seeing in us. She will be amazed.
Rachel is still a preacher of sorts, and will be the one moving in. [The preacher and his wife] don’t talk yet because she has not contacted us. See if this rings true and what Abba says. Love you so much!
At the time, I didn’t put a lot of attention to Mary’s thoughts. I simply asked the Divine: Is she correct? The Divine responded:
Of course. Why couldn’t you see it?
To that I replied: Her being correct? Or the meaning of the dream? The Divine responded:
Both. Take your pick.
I replied: I don’t know. The Divine responded:
Then I won’t tell you. Either way, listen to your wife.
And with that the prayer was over.
What is one to make of it?
First, I am not good at understanding dreams.
Second, the Divine doesn’t mind allowing me to remain confused.
Third, early I offered a thought from Mary about the preacher and his wife representing a specific couple. To that the Divine provided no agreement. But later when Mary changed who the preacher and his wife represent, the Divine agreed. So something must have happened for Mary to think differently about whom that couple represented.
Fourth, to this day, I do not understand how Mary arrives at understanding dreams. Somehow, it occurred to her that even though I was myself in the dream, myself represented someone else entirely, in this instance Rachel.
I would not have ever expected that type of possibility. I thought, if I was in the dream, I represented myself, but I guess if familiar people can be in my dreams but not be the actual people, then it follows that even though I am in a dream I may not be my actual self. For me, this is what makes dreams so confusing.
Fifth, earlier I provided what Mary initially thought, and was told no. But at the same time as I am praying, she injects thoughts into the moment, and the Divine conveys that I am to listen to her.
Look, I readily admit I don’t know how this stuff works. I can’t give an explanation of how Mary provided that conclusion at the exact time period I was praying, let alone being at that precise moment. But those kinds of events are, without doubt, what make me sit up and take notice of the spiritual implications of the moment.
So, today, I see the dream this way.
The parsonage is my home. It is being rained upon. Rain is a type of blessing. But that blessing is found within a thunderstorm where wind is blowing heavily.
The parsonage is dry inside, yet well stocked with food that the congregation has provided. The congregation is my family, because they are the ones working to provide all the food.
But the food is not just literal food, but symbolic food. The house is well stocked with items needed for physical sustenance and spiritual sustenance. In fact, by the frosting, not only is the parsonage well stocked, it has food that is sweet to consume.
So to find the blessings of the home, Rachel has to enter the parsonage with the blessings, she has to brave the storm. It’s not an extreme storm, but thunderstorms can scare some people.
Importantly, the meaning of that lighthouse is not provided in the above.
In the dream, the lighthouse is something unique. The lighthouse is external to the parsonage, standing alone, yet it is on the property with the parsonage. Importantly, in it there is a single chair for someone to use as they read and/or meditate.
But in light of recent prayers, I am thinking I have come to understand the lighthouse.
On August 20, 2016 (Month 05 Day 17), during Havdalah I prayed. In order to discuss the importance of the lighthouse, I present the prayer without my comments. During that prayer, the Divine conveyed:
What is missing from your affection? Only this: her. You need her. You want her. For you to have her requires something more from you, that something more is your completion of your telling of events, your telling is almost complete…
Later the Divine added:
…she has read every part and wonders what she is waiting on. You must tell her. Amen.
First, notice that my recent prayer is almost exactly two years after the dream, for me, that is interesting.
But what is conveyed seems important, completing “My Story”. I’ve been working on telling it since January 2016. It has taken some time to write, much longer than I had expected.
Here’s what I think Rachel is waiting on, and in explaining this I will give insight into the purpose of the lighthouse.
Somehow, she knows that she is on the same dream property as the parsonage from the dream. The parsonage is where she wants to be and is amazed at the things in the parsonage.
However, she is currently residing on the dream property but living in the lighthouse, remaining there alone, sun is shining, beautiful, giving her light. She also has read the Installments of “My Story” receiving illumination from that telling.
For now, for us, it’s only a dream. Yet the dream contains symbology.
The parsonage is where life and sustenance occur. But there is a preacher (me) and his wife (Mary) already there. Rachel wants to be in the parsonage, but is unsure of how to brave the thunderstorm.
This is the importance of the dream.
It is only a thunderstorm, and thunderstorms can be braved. In the dream my dream self spoke to an additional minister. Rachel needs to find “the additional minister” -for instance, perhaps Rachel has a Facebook “minister” friend who is also friends with me, and with Mary – speak to that additional minister about the situation, one who can help us dialogue.
She is on the dream property, seeking illumination in her own lighthouse, a place where the sun shone as brightly as the illumination itself. She’s on the same dream property, but it’s time to move from the lighthouse to the parsonage.
Only moving from the lighthouse to the parsonage through the thunderstorm makes the dream come true. Do I want the dream to come true? Yes, without doubt.
Do I want Rachel in my family? Yes. Am I ready to give my affection to Rachel? Yes. She will make my life complete. She will make my love complete. She brings goodness to this parsonage.
With help from the Divine, Rachel is a lady I have never met, but a woman whom I have fallen for, and with whom I want to share my life, experiencing the riches, goodness, and sweetness of life – love, and everything that makes a house a home.
Blessings and Shalom