I had a set of vivid dreams last night.
(Wonder where the line is between bad content and nightmare? LOL)
The first started in a weirdly arranged apartment, with painted cinder block walls, that was a total disaster. Piles of stuff everywhere on the floor, no attempt at organization at all to be seen anywhere.
The rooms were all fairly small, and kind of oddly shaped, and in an odd arrangement. The kitchen was off of a bedroom for example.
It’s not anywhere that really resembles anywhere I know of in real life, but I knew this place was mine. (No kid or other housemate was involved anywhere in either dream.)
One of the leaders of the church (in real life) came to the door in the dream. Now, in real life, I know this guy’s name, but am pretty sure he’d have no idea what mine was, so it’s not like he’s a friend or someone who knows me well or who would have the foggiest idea where I live.
Last summer he gave a message using an illustration involving his extreme battle against crabgrass in his lawn… complete with pictures that looked to me like a perfectly kept golf course type lawn… and apparently were supposed to be pictures of its “awful” problem with this apparently bad grass. So he’s someone I’d consider to have standards much higher than mine on things house related.
So I let this guy in, and for some reason, I have to go through the house and show him every room, and what’s in the room.
Even in the dream this was painful and shameful.
But his tone wasn’t harsh, or shocked, or discusted, or blaming, or any of the other tones I would expect as a response from someone, both in the dream and in real life.
It was a saddish tone. One that clearly didn’t approve of this house in the first place let alone it’s condition, but was along the lines of “You don’t have to live with this. You can have better than this.”
No condemnation for not having it better or doing better… or a “You have to fix this”… or a “You know better”… just a gentle sadness, no matter how bad the rooms and the piles of stuff were.
Even so.. it was still massively painful as the tour went through everything…. a feeling that stayed over when I woke up the first time.
And my main thought was being really glad that none of the pastors at the churches I’ve attended in the last 7 years or so make house visits regularly like some of the ones I went to when younger did.
I went back to sleep, and right back into a new dream in the same house, with the same guy, with an entirely different tone. In this dream, he was clearly in charge.
He gave instructions to be carried out, then disappeared, then came back to check and re-direct, and then disappeared again.
And then came the bulk of the dream, which was spent basically chasing him around as he went down the street to random neighbors to have me ask them to help with a very particular task for each of them. The main problem here was that while he was able to step directly to their doors, there was this huge ditch between the street and their houses that was deeper than I am tall that I had to climb carefully into, then crawl back up and out of to catch up to him to get to their house.
Where when I arrived, breathless and covered in dirt and mud, I would find him already talking to them, and waiting on me to finally get there to ask them. They all said yes, even though it was humiliating, and I got the impression that the only reason they were saying yes was as a favor to him, not me. Not so much a pity feel, but just a feeling like they were strangers. (None of them stood out as being anyone from real life.)
So I’d come back to the house with them (the ditch being gone on the return trip), and they would help me do whatever small specific task they’d been asked to do, then they just sort of disappeared and it was back to chasing off to the next person’s house.
Eventually, some of my family members came by, and took away a dresser and a bookshelf… the only objects even resembling tools for organization that I’d seen involved… leaving that room empty but for the pile of junk several feet deep covering the entire floor. They were upset because I was changing the house.
I wasn’t exactly upset or anything by this confrontation… just sad. The guy came into the room a bit later, and I told him what had happened. He didn’t react much, positive or negative, about the development. Just acknowledged it, and moved on with re-directing for the next part of the task in that room.
I went over to the opposite corner of the room where he’d told me to do something, but instead of completing it, I curled up in a ball in the corner… tired, dirty, and frustrated that all these little tasks were so hard and only making small dents of progress. But this time he hadn’t left immediately after giving the new instructions.
I asked if he could do it for me since he knew what he was doing, or if one of the recruited neighbors could do it since they were experts on each little task he made me ask them to help with.
I was told no, that he was doing it, by having me do it. And that it had to be done by my choosing to do it and follow through with making it change.
Not mad tone, not sad, just matter of fact.
I woke up with the thought on my mind that all of the home makeover style shows really make things a lot easier by sending the families away for a vacation while they tear everything completely apart and rebuild.
Somehow it’s so much easier to just give them permission to have at the entire thing, knowing they will be going through every single thing in the house…. than it is to be there when they are doing it and have to tell them “yes, you can throw away my dresser. Yes, you can go through my closet. Yes, you can rip down that wall”.
So so much easier to just turn it over, walk away, and come back to a house that in no way resembles the one you left… and is all nice and fancy and clean and uncluttered… with the only things openly visible from the old house being things that were just extremely cherished for the positive memories.
Never do you see them sad when they return because their old beat up couch got thrown away. But had they had to be there for the process to approve the decision individually… or even be the one to haul it out themselves… would they fight it more? Being less able to see the future picture than the professional designers, and attached to the object that bring them comfort in the current moment?
There’s several different things from the dreams that I think are in it intentionally as a point to be gotten…
But the first and strongest one was that even after the big choice to give God command…. I still have many many areas of little choices that I still have to make the call to allow his plan to happen and follow his directions on achieving that end result… or to curl up in a corner. There’s no running off on vacation and walking back in to everything completely changed. (Well, maybe for some people… but they seem to be the lucky exceptions)
Also, a reinforcement that he’s not mad when I do end up in the corner. Or in the mess in the first place. It’s not the choice he wants, for my benefit, but it’s not the end of the world either. It’s just something to deal with and keep moving on even when the dents seem so small.
Even when I’d rather just turn the keys over and let that cover everything and go to disney.