Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dreaming of moving along

I awoke with a dream that combined two themes that have been recurring for me for years. One is stealing cars. One is winding up in buildings where room after room opens into another room, no halls, just rooms.

I described a residential version of the latter before. Last night the scene was a restaurant. I think I was leaving at the end of the meal and turned the wrong way. So I wandered through employee areas, then storage areas, then through doors off the storage areas into rooms where no one had been for decades, then into places that perhaps no one still alive knew existed. At one point I found a garage door that used to connect the restaurant with the outside world, but someone had erected a concrete wall to keep people from entering that way. Darn, so close to getting out.

I followed more doors. Eventually I popped out unexpectedly through an unused door into the dining room. My appearance startled a waitress so that she dropped a customer’s salad on the floor. Sorry, just passing through. And out the main door this time.

It occurs to me how this is a little like going through doors in the sci-fi miniseries The Lost Room that showed on the Sci Fi Channel this month. Of course my dreams about the room through the next door have always been potluck, not where I decided to go, but maybe the theme is not mine alone.

Then in the parking lot I was faced with a dilemma I often face in dreams. My car wasn’t anywhere nearby. I forget if I had gotten a ride to the restaurant or magically came out somewhere far away from my car. Either way my solution was one I’ve frequently used in dreams. I hotwired a car and drove off to wherever my car was.

Of course in real life, I don’t know how to hotwire a car beyond what I have seen in movies. It’s strange how different dreams can be. In dreams I get concerned that someone can trace all these thefts to me through my fingerprints. It doesn’t change my actions. It just occurs to me sometimes that my fingerprints are on file somewhere, having been taken for my medical license and for my volunteer work. That’s actually real. Yet when I’m fully awake I know my fingers never have been anywhere that would cause the police to knock on my door. There is this transition between dreaming and being awake where facts like that suddenly dawn on me – whew! There are a number of reasons I prefer to live in reality than in my dreams.

Such dreams are about discontent with what’s here, about moving along to someplace I’d prefer. It’s about exploring all possibilities, accepting whatever comes. It’s about doing whatever needs to be done, without malice, but without worrying too much how it affects people. And the God who is constantly with me while I’m awake has no presence at all during my dreams. I don’t even remember He exists when I’m dreaming. Somehow I don’t need Him for direction, strength, and comfort in my dreams. So why do I in reality? It’s an interesting question.

In reality I’ve explored about as many possibilities as I ever will. I hardly ever find a door where I don’t know what’s on the other side. In my dreams, my next move always beckons me. I’m never confused about that. One can say my journey through the bowels of the restaurant is just like a man refusing to ask for directions, but that’s not really it. It does hit me I made a wrong turn, but then there are doors I want to explore and do. I can honestly say in my dream, “I meant to do that,” not as a cover-up. There is no issue in my dream of whether something will turn out well or not. There is just the next door.

Real life is not so automatic. There are choices, and I can see beyond to various possible consequences of any choice. There’s uncertainty. There’s confusion. That’s what got me praying to God again in my thirties. And strangely enough, God responded. I never look for God in my dreams that way. Nothing prompts me to do so.

Perhaps God so fills my consciousness that He is the universe in my dreams, when He is not that in reality. Perhaps God would rather life be automatic. Perhaps He’d rather hear “thank you” than “help me”. I find it hard to believe He wants me to steal cars. Maybe if I were more patient, I’d walk. That’s a good possibility for me in reality.

Whatever the nuances, I always find my way out in dreams. It takes persistence. It takes exploring more possibilities, no matter how many dead ends there have been so far. That’s how I found God, unless that’s how He found me.

So what is “out”? Am I there today? Do I have to wait to die when some part of my consciousness will continue outside of the constraints of all these rooms? As in all things I ask God these. Right now He answers, “you need to eat something”. OK, more doors later.

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