Day Two: Nightmares

Do you ever have nightmares? What about recurring ones? I used to photograph weddings and my nightmares would begin about this time every year.

It used to be that churches would not schedule weddings during Lent. Then wedding season was in full swing the Friday after Easter. Ash Wednesday became a trigger and my psyche knew it had 40 days to pull itself together.

The nightmares were different, but each one mostly the same. In the dream, I’m struggling to fit all of my equipment into my bag or car. When I finally arrive at the church, the bride is standing at the threshold of the sanctuary. One foot has just stepped forward in preparation to walk down the aisle.

I run up to her, clutching my camera in one hand, and grabbing her arm with the other. “Wait. I’m here.”, I tell her as I’m trying to catch my breath.

Then I awake with my heart pounding so loudly that I’m sure it will wake my husband.

My other recurring nightmare only happened during pregnancy. Each time I dreamt that I left my baby on the top of my car in the infant carrier. Then I drove away. Good stuff, eh?

Over the years, I’ve realized that nightmares are the language of the inner self. One part of the self attempting to communicate with the rest. In my dreams, part of me is afraid of ruining the day, failing to show up, and not being dependable.

Then eventually I realized that another part of self was reminding me that it’s not true. I’m reliable. I’m dependable. And I want to show up and make it a better place.

Perhaps Lent is like a nightmare, but not because of the things we give up for forty days. Rather, it’s a time of searching and revealing. It is a time for the Spirit to show and speak to the part of us that is hiding, the part that wants to be holy, but doesn’t know how.

Take a moment to reflect on your most recent dream. What is your inner self saying? Then spend time talking to the Spirit about it.

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