This morning, I woke up to one of those dreams with a cast of thousands. Gwen and I were going to some show at some stadium and I had a part in it. But I had forgotten my script in the room, so I went dashing back to get it. Halfway to the room I realized I had no keys and no time to get back to Gwen and no cell phone to call her and no idea where I was and no one would help me for various reasons, etc. It was a good, frustrating dream about anxieties and inabilities trying to find a way to the surface to be redeemed. It was a good post-Lent dream about facing the possibilities that were uncovered during the long season of turning toward death and leaning into life.
As I meditated on the dream, I remembered a blog post I wrote last September about being reminded to “Pray and not faint” (Luke 18:1 KJV). I translated the word of the Lord to me as, “If you come up against the impossible, my friends, pray with abandon.”
Generally, I have been pretty successful at listening to that word and doing it since then. I not only did not faint, I think I got better at praying. The most immediate results were that I grew up some more, I faced some more fears, I reconciled more relationships, I withstood some major meltdowns among my intimates and God built some new capacity in me and the church. Now, as my dream seems to indicate, it is back to square one – time to face the next big things and the big societal things (that did not pray with me) and not faint…again. It is time to take a few more little chunks out of the hide of the monsters that we are all facing. Joshua and I were talking about a few of them yesterday when we met, and they are still much like what I was noting last year:
“Some days I feel surrounded by a spirit of disengagement. It’ s not that everyone is possessed by it, of course, but so many of us seem to be trying to survive by keeping away from threatening or even challenging people, by hiding from the overwhelming facts of gigantic governments and corporations fighting for power, by avoiding enormous info machines dominating communication, incomprehensible food production and invasive medical care turning us into things we can’t imagine. In my neighborhood, people try to turn a blind eye to the constant threat that the thousands of guns littering the zip code will be used when the thin fabric of community finally tears.”
Post Lent, it is always tempting to keep eating chocolate, to return to the bad habits we gave up for Jesus (or at least for Lent), to let our spiritual belts out a few notches and to re-insulate ourselves with the fat of the false promises which dissipation offers us as a substitute for being truly safe and happy. It is tempting to go back into some numbing habit that puts us into a stupor of avoidance rather than pray.
I feel blessed today that my interpretation of my dream is like an alarm bell – a stupor alert. Jesus ended his word to his disciples with, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8) Rather than sinking into the frustrations of my inabilities churning around in my unconscious or cowering in the face of the monstrosities of my time, I need to pray with abandon. I need to trust the Lord and be found trustworthy. I need to pray and not faint…again.