08 January 2010

Friday Five: Dreaming

How funny - two posts in a row about dreams. Odd.

Anyway, Sophia at RevGals has the Friday Five today, and it's a good'un. I'll let her bring you in:

With the beginning of my college teaching semester I have been having some unusually intense and memorable dreams lately--especially related to my Women and Religion class. With the beginning of a new calendar year many of us are engaging with dreams of another kind: planning, brainstorming, setting intentions or resolutions, etc. And many churches will celebrate the baptism of Jesus this Sunday, reading the Gospel account of his vision of the Holy Spirit as a dove and the "beloved child" words of [God] that set him off on his mission sharing [God]'s dream for the world. So let's take a few minutes on this (where I am at least) lovely snow-blanketed Friday morning and share about the many different dreams and visions in our lives.

1. Do you tend to daydream?
Oddly enough, not as much as I once did. I am as absent-minded as they come, but my lack of attention to the here and now rarely, if ever, happens due to a flight of fancy. I'm usually thinking about something concrete, whether it's the church, faith, football, books, or something else I'm experiencing/pondering at the moment. When I was a kid, however, I often found myself getting scolded because I wouldn't/couldn't stop daydreaming about anything and everything.

2. Do you usually remember your night dreams? Do you find them symbolic and meaningful or just quirky?
I do remember my night dreams, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they are deeply symbolic and meaningful; these dreams come during the stressful times in my life (death of loved ones, during my divorce, moving, trouble with work for myself or Beloved). Sometimes I have nightmares, and for the life of me I can't identify a cause - they just happen and then they're gone. I've shared in the past about dreams (also here) that seem to be the mental equivalent of flushing toxins out of my system. And sometimes my dreams are just plain weird, and no, I can't say anything more than that.

3. Have you ever had a life changing dream which you'll never forget?
Yes. About a month after my Grandpa Johnson died, I dreamed he came and sat on my bed, healthy and much younger than I ever knew him, and we talked about life and how much he loved us. I had similar dreams when my Grandpa Janke and Grandma Johnson died as well, and I've often dreamt entire conversations with Larry Meyer, my campus pastor and mentor. I'm not saying every dream is a message from God, nor am I suggesting everyone dreams their prayers, but I will say this: my faith was strengthened by all of these dreams, because they seemed to be holy moments.

4. Share a long term dream for one or more aspects of your life and work.
I have a few. I'd like to be the campus pastor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln someday (relax, Eric, I'm in no hurry). I'd like to publish a book and sell enough copies to actually make a profit. I'd love to see if I'm up to the challenge of PhD level work on Bonhoeffer. But the dream overriding them all is to be a good husband, father and pastor first, and if that doesn't leave room for the rest, I'll be just fine.

5. Share a dream for 2010....How can we support you in prayer on both the short and long term dreams?
I'd love to see our campus ministry community double in attendance and activity by the end of the calendar year. I'd love to be pushing 100 in worship by December, with small groups meeting nearly ever day of the week in some shape or form. I'd love to have the sense that we're building leaders for the church, not just entertaining students as they pass through their years at Iowa State. I think that ought to be enough to pray on, don't you?

Bonus: a poem, song, artwork, etc. that deals with dreams in general or one of your dreams.
I've posted this many times before, but it's just so beautiful I keep coming back to it. I first discovered this poem in Garrison Keillior's collection Good Poems, and it always makes me think of those I love who've died, and how much I dream of seeing them again.

Four Poems in One

At six o'clock this morning
I saw the rising sun
Resting on the ground like a boulder
In the thicket back of the school,
A single great ember
About the height of a man.

Night has gone like a sickness,
The sky is pure and whole.
Our Lady of Poland spire
Is rosy with first light,
Starlings above it shatter their dark flock.
Notes of the Angelus
Leave their great iron cup
And slowly, three by three
Visit the Polish gardens round about,
Dahlias shaggy with frost
Sheds with their leaning tools
Rosebushes wrapped in burlap
Skiffs upside down on trestles
Like dishes after supper.

These are the poems I'd show you
But you're no longer alive.
The cables creaked and shook
Lowering the heavy box.
The rented artificial grass
Still left exposed
That gritty gash of earth
Yellow and mixed with stones
Taking your body
That never in this world
Will we see again, or touch.

We know little
We can tell less
But one thing I know
One thing I can tell
I will see you again in Jerusalem
Which is of such beauty
No matter what country you come from
You will be more at home there
Than ever with father or mother
Than even with lover or friend
And once we're within her borders
Death will hunt us in vain.

"Four Poems in One," by Anne Porter from An Altogether Different Language: Poems 1934-1994 (Zalond Books).


  1. Beautiful dreams with your loved ones--thank you for sharing them.