Category Archives: Dreams

Inside

“I’m not afraid of it, I just don’t trust it.”

I am climbing down the pool steps, explaining to my instructor my relationship to water. I am beginning one-on-one swimming lessons; truth be told, this is something I’ve dreamed of for years and years. Really dreamed–not just wished or planned or wanted to.

I’ve had these recurring dreams where I am in the water, fumbling about. Sometimes there are other people; sometimes I’m alone. Sometimes the water is murky, almost swampy, and sometimes the water is crystal clear. But always I am there, as I would be in real life, struggling for meaningful movement. And then, suddenly, I can swim.

It’s not that I am suddenly going some place or accomplishing fantastical feats. It’s just that in one moment I do not trust the water. And in the next, I do. I move freely, easily. There is no fear. I am exploring, moving, going where I intend to with no obstacles, no resistance. And I am filled with wonder. Not at the water. Not at what I see. Just at the support of the water. The ease of movement. The utter lack of anxiousness.

And then almost invariably, I wake up–and I wake up thinking, “So this is what it feels like when you trust God, when you are free in faith. . .” Or maybe that’s the thought that tells me it’s a dream and causes me to wake up. I don’t know. I also don’t know now if my few attempts at trying to learn–those brief flashes when it works and the water is holding me–are feeding my dreams, or if my dreams are informing me what it must feel like, so I know what I am looking for when I’m in the water. I suspect it is the latter. I am so certain what it should feel like.

And it does, if I ever relax for a few seconds, the way my instructor keeps trying to get me to do. It is almost like slipping into a dream, and if you try too hard, you wake up.

“This is actually a lot easier to learn when you’re a kid,” my instructor explains, shooing several children out of our way and into the deep end. “When you’re older, you spend so much effort trying to analyze every little thing.”

I do. My mind is churning endlessly.

“Also, as a kid, you don’t have all these years and years and years of learning that you can’t. As a kid, you don’t know that you can’t swim. By the time you’re an adult, you’ve had years of this feeling that you just can’t, building up inside of you.”

Yeah. Tell me about it. My mind is split between this conversation, the concentration required to attempt to relax my body and trust the water, my dreams. . .my God.

I slip under the water again. When I fumble, it feels like real life. When things click together, for even an instant, it is a flashback into my dreams.

Somehow, I have to do this. I have to learn how to swim. Because it is a glimpse into a beautiful analogy, an analogy that is not just heard, it is felt, in every fiber of my body. Faith. Hope. Peace. No fear. No effort. Letting go. Trusting. Knowing you will be held up by a force you cannot see, if only you relax.

When the water holds me, I feel like Elisha’s servant.

* * *

I was so scared to start swimming lessons. Not of the water. Scared I couldn’t. Scared I would be taught, and taught and taught and taught, and still the water wouldn’t lift me. I’ve wanted to for so long, but what if it was a dream? What if I couldn’t learn to trust?

I walked in the door, mostly because you have to be on time. My instructor said, “Are you ready?”

I answered, “As ready as I’ll ever be.”

And we went into the water.

Me and someone I don’t even know, yet somehow believe will keep me from harm.

“It’s so frustrating,” I said, “Because this feel like it should be easy.” I feel stupid. I feel illiterate. She shook her head.

“I’ve spent six, eight weeks even just sitting on the stairs with people, helping them with their fear. If you aren’t afraid, you’ve already gotten past the hard part!”

Later, I told her that I knew I hadn’t come properly prepared. But I knew that if I kept waiting until everything was perfect, I would never do it. I had to just come. Stop making excuses and do it. She agreed. “When would work for you next week?” Don’t lose your momentum now.

Want to know what else scares me?

Singing lessons.

I want to, so bad. I can’t explain why–or rather, I think maybe I could, if I used a hundred thousand words. Short of that, all I can say is that “It was midnight, and Paul and Silas were singing.”

But what if I can’t? What if I can’t be taught to sing? What if I try, and they politely tell me I’m a hopeless case? Where do hopeless cases go? Where does one get singing lessons when one is no longer school aged but has no past experience to capitalize upon?

But I have to go and find out. Because. . .

Because.

Because swimming is an analogy of the outside, and singing is an analogy of the inside. Because there is a difference between being on the outside of music looking in, and standing in the middle of music and letting it out. Because it is a part of you and always there. Because, though it is words, it is what words cannot be.

What does it mean?

Last night I dreamed. . .

There was a single mom and her (tween) daughter, facing ruins. They had both become seriously addicted to large amounts of expensive, coffee-house coffee. Like most addictions, this had left them in both financial and health ruins. Unable to quit cold turkey (but in dire money straights and seriously warned by the doctor of their health problems), they were resorting to making large amounts of their own fancy coffee drinks. The daughter threw a bit of a mopey fit because it “wasn’t the same,” but she wasn’t so much referring to the coffee as the experience of the fancy coffee places. Somehow, coffee at home seemed so demeaning and empty compared to that experience.

Then I woke up.

Der. . .what?

Monday the 16th

Today I woke up and remembered a dream, which for me is unusual. My dreams usually fall into 4 categories. (1) Barely remember I had them, and only if I try hard can dredge up some bits of them. (2) Remember them, but were clearly a rehash of something I was thinking about right before I went to sleep. (3) Have seemingly no connection to anything and are absurdly random and shifting, yet still able to mostly remember, and (4) Strangely crystal clear with nearly every detail intact–and sometimes quite lengthy at that.

Categories 1 and 3 are what I normally have (though remembering any semblance of a dream is unusual for me). 4 is extremely rare. This was a category 3 dream, which means random and shifting.

It started out that I was up in our woods singing hymns with a bunch of girls I didn’t know. Apparently, this was not the first time we’d done this. Apparently, it was becoming a rather regular thing for me to go up into our woods with a bunch of stranger-girls and sing hymns. Not all of the songs were ones that I recognized, but I was learning and generally having a good time, even though it was apparent I was not, erhem, the lead singer of the group. It was fall.

Then we were done and went back down to the house. There “someone” (unclear/unnamed) was telling me about “someone” (a vague acquaintance, a friend of a friend–in other words, also “unnamed” or a non-entity) who had just given birth after a very troubled pregnancy, which she had kept secret from everyone else. The troubled part, not the pregnancy part. Apparently, the baby had almost died about 4 times during pregnancy, and there had been a lot of emergency intervention. But she had refused to let it get her down or give up, and had basically kept the entire fiasco under-wraps, rather than spread around a very anxious drama. Only now that the baby was born–underweight, but seemingly healthy–was she actually talking about the grave danger the baby had been in the entire time.

Then the dream morph-shifted, and suddenly it wasn’t a baby of a friend of a friend of a friend, but was much more familial. It was unclear if the baby was a child of one of my siblings or sibling in its own right, or what, but it was definitely one of the family. It was hanging out with us, and shrieking and laughing with much vigor and good cheer–which was splendid, considering how many times it (or she, rather) had come to dying. More concerning was the fact that, though she had several teeth (top and bottom) and was old enough to laugh and shriek, she was still only about the size of a newborn–quite underweight!

In the end, though, her apparent good cheer and our delight and love for her seemed be outweighing the concern at her obviously troubled weight. When I woke up, those feelings of contentment and welcome for another little family member was all that remained. Fully waking up caused me to be a little disappointed it was only a dream.

The end. Y’all are free to psychoanalyze in the comments. (I know that certain people would anyway, so I figured I might as well get ahead of the game and call it open season.)