Sunday, March 11, 2007
Dreaming a Prayer
Last night I had an unusual, and unusually vivid, dream. It was a good dream, at least mostly -- not at all like the extended technicolor nightmare I had when I accidentally took two nortriptylene before bed instead of one -- so I don't think it's meds-related. It was also startlingly like a certain kind of fantasy novel, the ones where characters from a bleak, ugly reality find themselves transported to someplace happier and prettier, with better weather. Think Oz or Narnia.
So in this dream, I and someone else (I don't know who) were living in a dark, decaying urban landscape full of garbage and sewers and totalitarian police. And somehow, I think by crawling through the loathsome sewers, we reached, instead, a warm, sunny world, very bucolic. In the dream, I sat on the dirt floor of a cottage (two small rooms, whitewashed, with a thatched roof) as fresh air poured through the window and birds sang outside, while a very kind man -- a healer of some sort, or maybe a priest, clad in a simple white robe -- patiently explained to me how things worked in this reality.
I wound up back in the decaying reality at some point, and my companion and I were separated (or maybe my companion hadn't been with me in the sunlit world). I was fleeing through alleyways, trying to find the portal back to that peaceful cottage, when I woke up.
I lay blinking in the dark, thinking about the dream: and then I realized that the healer in the dream had been someone I actually know, one of my sickest and most troubled hospital patients, who's a frequent flyer at our ER. The dream-healer was my sleeping vision of, or hope for, what that man would be like if he were well and whole. And then I started thinking about other damaged people I know, and putting them in that world, too: consciously populating it with my ideal versions of people who desperately need any healing they can find (think Thomas Covenant, without violence).
Can a dream be a prayer? The Bible talks about God speaking to us through dreams; do we ever speak to God that way?
Whether the dream itself was a prayer or not, my conscious process of populating the cottage and its environs after I woke up certainly was.
I've been praying on and off for that patient ever since. I hope I don't see him at the hospital tonight.