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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ignoring the Signs of the Times

Most of the time, the dreams we have as we sleep are jumbles of nonsense, occasionally entertaining nonsense, but nonetheless...nonsense.  Sometimes, though, albeit rarely, they actually have meaning. Recently I had one of those dreams, and as the meaning is quite obvious, well, let's just say that God is still speaking in parables.

Oncoming Storm

It was Holy Saturday and I was going to my Mom's friend's house to eat dinner with my Mom, my brother and some friends of hers. I had some obligations, though, and needed to go home, even though 8 pm rolled around and we still hadn't eaten. I told Mom that I had to go and wouldn't be able to come back for Easter. She was upset with me but walked me out to the car, said she'd drive, and as we were trying to get out of the garage, the Farmer (the dad and owner of the home and farm we were on) came and told us a tornado was coming. He explained that it had been announced on the radio, and that  getting out on those county roads was the worst possible thing to do. He was right, and at his invitation, we parked the car and got out. For my part, I got out of the car with a bit of resentment, almost poo-pooing the idea that it was going to be THAT BAD. I wanted to get home.

Curious, and hoping the Farmer was wrong, I looked towards the East through the garage window, and to my shock, I saw about 4 tornadoes whirling towards us across the Minnesota farmland, and two more forming: a total of 6. Six Tornadoes! On our very doorstep!  The wind was already picking up; the storm was IMMANENT.

We ran across the driveway in whipping wind, up the walkway and dodged inside, thinking that the farmer's young and adult children were coming, too, as they were also still outside. Once through the door, I  headed down the multi-tiered stairway. When I came into the first part of the basement, I found children playing there as though nothing was happening. Thinking that their parents probably didn't want to scare them, I said nothing about the storm, but asked one of the older kids where everyone else was. He pointed down a hallway. "Probably in there somewhere."  The boy shrugged and went on playing.  

We were still above ground as the farmhouse was built into a hill, so in order to be safe, everyone would have to go into an interior room that butted up against or perhaps was constructed into the hill itself. From where we were, I could look across the driveway to see the farmer's young adult children sitting on cement garden benches, laughing and joking.  I banged against the window, pointing at the looming tornadoes behind them. They just laughed and held on as they were being sucked around by the wind.

I was shocked to see a child out there, too:  a toddler!  He was climbing out of a shed window, clearly seeking shelter somewhere else and yet not understanding the danger he was in. Before my eyes, the wind ripped him from the window frame he tried so desperately to grasp.. I yelled and pointed, knowing the young men and women could see me through the window. One of the young  women laughed and picked the boy up when he fell to the ground, unable to get up on his own.  I kept waving to them, pointing to the door for safety, gesturing to them to look behind at what was nearly upon us.  I was watching the wind pick up, pulling leaves from the trees, pulling at telephone wires, nearly ripping them from their perches. Yet they just continued to joke and laugh as though they were on a roller coaster.

I thought they were insane. I was sure I was about to witness their destruction, and became more and more frantic.

I knew it was futile; they didn't seem to care, not even about the child in their presence. I knew that even if I climbed the stairs and tried to yell from the door, they wouldn't hear me. As it was, they were refusing to "see" me, even standing in the light of the bay window as it got darker and darker outside and the oppressive storm bore down on us all. 

I knew that I was standing in a very dangerous place, expecting that at any moment a branch could be ripped from a tree and thrown through the huge window, maybe killing us all. Still, though, I couldn't give up;  I wanted to stay as long as I could in hopes that they would finally come in and not be killed. I also knew that it was going to be my responsibility to herd the kids there inside with me back into other rooms of the house and away from this dangerous area.

I didn't know where the other adults were, or the Farmer, but I figured they were working, maybe even doing the same thing I was at other windows. Maybe battening down the hatches. As far as I knew, they were safe...and maybe they didn't know about the ones who weren't. If so, it was up to me to help get them inside and there wasn't much time left for them....

Thankfully, I woke up without witnessing the disaster, but I was shaking, and the meaning of the dream was very, very clear.

For those who don't think in terms of allegory, look at the characters, and the numerous children of all ages present in the dream.  God the Father was the Farmer who invited us into the House to shelter us from the storm. All the people there...His children. And as we were there on his property, He considered US his children as well.  [Theological point:  adopted sons and daughters].

I went in to take shelter, found more children, turned and saw others outside who would not come in. They ignored the invitation, they ignored the warning and thought the weather was a joke, something to take pleasure in with no eye to the consequences. [Theological note:  the weather was the signs of the times].

No matter what I did, they laughed and ignored what I was trying to tell them, and I knew the Farmer had spoken to them as well as we were all coming in. [Theological note: the Farmer was a good shepherd who had come out to bring in His sheep]

I actually suspected, in the dream, that the Farmer was still going about his property, rounding everyone up who would heed his advice and take shelter in his house. [Theological note:  House of Israel, which now = the Church.]

Another point, consider what I and probably others were doing in the dream:  trying to get people to come in and out of the storm that was obviously going to decimate them. They weren't people I knew, but I recognized them as "family".  I wasn't shouting and insulting them, but simply pointing out what was going on, out of concern for their safety, trying to get them to SEE and wanting them to come IN to be safe and LIVE! And yet...they didn't.  [Theological point:  the Church is Missionary, seeks the lost, and it is the responsibility of all the faithful to carry out this mission of SALVATION].

Even there, I knew that I also had a responsibility to the Farmer's children who were in the room with me. Because I was there, it meant they were entrusted to my care and I had to protect them as well.  In fact, they were my primary concern and I knew I'd have to leave the others to their demise in order to ensure the safety of those who were in the House to be certain they would not be sucked out by the tornadoes.

Maybe others will see other things in this. I've kept the "interpretation" at a minimum, and I should mention that I have left out some details that are more specific to the people in my life who were in the dream.  What I recounted here is the "public info". Take it for what it's worth. I publish it here as I do believe God speaks to us in dreams, using them to tell the parables that can only reach us if we're open to them.

Someone else may read it as gibberish, and if so, I take no offense at that. All I will say is that I had a dream, this one meant something, and I find it's meaning very obvious. Too obvious to ignore.

My friends, we can all read the signs of the times. We can see what's coming at us, and we know it is our baptismal obligation to live out the Mission of the Church within our states in life. What is that Mission?  To bring in the lost, to aid those who are among us, to build the Kingdom of God. To be salt of the earth. To be leaven.

1 Corinthians 9:16-17
16 If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!
17 If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.

1 comment:

Melody K said...

Funny how dreams do sometimes speak to us of God. I once had a dream that the landlord paid us a surprise visit in the middle of the night (he was no one I recognized, and at the time we actually owned our house). Of course the place was a mess and I was totally not ready for his visit. After I woke up, I thought to myself, "Who did he think he was, to come like a thief in the night?!" Then the light bulb went on in my mind.