Monday, February 21, 2011


Do you have recurring dreams?  "Clean" recurring dreams?  Be careful now!  A common one for me are floods.  It’s almost a direct correlation to what’s going on in my life at the time of the dream.  Dream of floods = Overwhelmed with life.  The subconscious takes me to aquatic symbolism as I feel wave after wave crashing over my head.  The more I struggle, the deeper I seem to slip beneath the surface.  Without words, I can hear myself calling out to God, raising my arms upward in hopes that His grip will meet mine.  I taste the saltwater.  It burns my throat.  The smell of the ocean penetrates my nostrils and as I reach the point of submission, I suddenly wake up.  Not wanting to connect the dream to my reality, I get out of bed, go about my day and try to forget.  At least for the moment, my head is above water.

The floods of life come unexpectedly, don't they?  We never expect when the storm surge is going to hit.  One minute, we’re safely aboard the boat that is our normal life, navigating the waters, confident, commanding the vessel and comfortable with our destination.  And in what seems like an instant, we get knocked off the deck by a rogue wave that leaves us dazed, bewildered and sometimes unconscious.  The ocean takes us under and with every amount of strength we can muster, we fight to reach the surface once again.  Panic stricken, we helplessly grasp at the liquid that surrounds us, hoping to take hold of something that seems physical, normal, solid.  And when we realize that the fight is useless, we submit.  At least that’s what I do in the dream.  I never drown.  I never reach the shore.  And I never seem to get back on the boat.  But upon waking, I realize that the dream is over and the flood has ended.

I love the wording that Eugene Peterson uses for Psalm 18:16 in The Message. “But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning.”  I guess there are times when we just walk around in a dream.  The flood rages around us and pulls us under.  We struggle.  We fight.  We breath in ocean.  We spiral in the undertow.  And then we submit.  We surrender to the flood.  And we wake.  But one thing I've learned from these dreams is that all of my struggles are pointless when you get right down to it.  No matter how hard I try to control the elements around me, I continue to sink.  I continue to be overwhelmed until all of my strength is gone and I give up.   

I'm learning that life can be chaotic, out of control and sometimes really sucks.  It's filled with disappointments, struggles, tragedies and Happy Meal Toys that serve no purpose what so ever.  Some things in life just cannot be defined with a perfect A + B formula, especially in faith.  And I'm learning that's OK.  When we stop trying to make sense of everything that won't fit into our perfect life "box", we begin to see God for who He really is: mysterious, uncontainable, a little chaotic and in many ways, undefinable.  But that's His problem, not ours.  He just wants us to be who we really are: little children; confused, frustrated, rambunctious and always filled with wonder and awe.  (See Matthew 18)  Children accept life as it comes to them and God as He is.  Sometimes it's not without a little rebellion, but when we quit fighting, quit struggling and finally just submit, that's when He shows us who He is.  The flood stops.  We're back on the boat.  And we're again confident and comfortable at the wheel.  But there's still that question of purposeless Happy Meal Toys.  


Cheryl Ensom Dack said...

I like this, Jake. I don't have ocean dreams. I have houses with sliding glass doors that don't lock and the enemy somewhere out there! But I get this. I feel it.

Anonymous said...

Great food for thought. BTW don't you remember working your way down to the bottom of your Cracker Jack box only to find another cheesy, no-good rotten, worthless, "prize?"