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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

where your treasure is

i had this dream last night. lately i seem to be having a lot of very short, very pointed dreams that wake me up at the end like someone flipped a switch. i'm not one to read into dreams too much, because most of the time i think dreams are just a show your brain puts on out of jumbled bits of your day, or something you thought about for five seconds last week. but every once in awhile i see something that i know instinctively means something.

in this particular dream, i'm sitting by a creek in the mountains. it's absolutely beautiful in that sharp, saturated way that the sierras are. the air smells amazing, and the creek, while cold, is not numbingly cold. for some reason i've been trying to get to this place and i know without dreaming about the travel time that it's taken me a long time to get here. i look around for a moment, satisfied, then look back at the things i've brought.

sitting behind me on the sand of the bank are several heavy containers. i open the largest up to find books. stacks and stacks of them hoarded like treasure. i open a second one and there are knick knacks, christmas decorations, and other stuff from around the house. another contains paints and brushes and the like. i feel very protective of these things. i pick up one of the books and begin to read, and soon i'm totally absorbed. i have no idea how much time has elapsed until i realize that i'm drenched. i pull myself away from the story i'm reading with great effort and see that i'm surrounded by water. the creek has risen into a river, and me and all my things are in the middle of it. i panic, fearing that all the things i worked so hard to bring with me are gone, and dive down under the water. books and odds and ends are buried in the sand; other objects swirl around and away. i try frantically to rescue everything, dragging them out by the armload and dumping them on dry ground, but i've lost a lot. finally i collapse on the shore, my wet treasures spread around me. it's only then i notice that my children and husband are not with me. i run away from the pile of things searching for them, and i see a group of people i don't know playing and talking and laughing on the other side of the creek.

one of them says, "what is this place?"
another answers, "it's paradise!"

and then i wake up.



Steve Nelson said...

I've been reading (and teaching) a lot on rivers from the Garden of Eden all the way through to the Revelation vision. One thing I can tell you is that it would be a very good thing to have every part of your life washed over by the River.

contrarian 78 said...

I was very struck by John Bunyan's narrative on what it is like to cross the river to Paradise. Far from being pompous about some gift from God given at the beginning of his conversion, he shows fear and trembling and even doubt.


Now I further saw, that betwixt them and the gate was a river; but there was no bridge to go over, and the river was very deep. At the sight, therefore, of this river the pilgrims were much stunned; but the men that went with them said, You must go through, or you cannot come at the gate.

The pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the gate. To which they answered, Yes; but there hath not any, save two, to wit, Enoch and Elijah, been permitted to tread that path since the foundation of the world, nor shall until the last trumpet shall sound. The pilgrims then, especially Christian, began to despond in their mind, and looked this way and that, but no way could be found by them by which they might escape the river. Then they asked the men if the waters were all of a depth. They said, No; yet they could not help them in that case; for, said they, you shall find it deeper or shallower as you believe in the King of the place.

Then they addressed themselves to the water, and entering, Christian began to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he said, I sink in deep waters; the billows go over my head; all his waves go over me. Selah.

Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother: I feel the bottom, and it is good. Then said Christian, Ah! my friend, the sorrows of death have compassed me about, I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey. And with that a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him. Also here he in a great measure lost his senses, so that he could neither remember nor orderly talk of any of those sweet refreshments that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage. But all the words that he spoke still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, and heart-fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in at the gate. Here also, as they that stood by perceived, he was much in the troublesome thoughts of the sins that he had committed, both since and before he began to be a pilgrim. It was also observed that he was troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits; for ever and anon he would intimate so much by words.

Hopeful therefore here had much ado to keep his brother’s head above water; yea, sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then, ere a while, he would rise up again half dead. Hopeful did also endeavor to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us; but Christian would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; for you have been hopeful ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah, brother, (said he,) surely if I was right he would now arise to help me; but for my sins he hath brought me into the snare, and hath left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have quite forgot the text where it is said of the wicked, “There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm; they are not troubled as other men, neither are they plagued like other men.” Psa. 73:4,5. These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters, are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him in your distresses.

Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was in a muse a while. To whom also Hopeful added these words, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole. And with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again; and he tells me, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.” Isa. 43:2 . Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian, therefore, presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they got over.