Sunday, March 21, 2010

Insight in a dream

Last night I had a rather interesting dream...

My dreams have been somewhat erratic and rather more intense since we set the clocks ahead for daylight savings time (it's like self-imposed jet lag, but I figure it's just another Lenten penance). Generally my dreams make no more or less sense than anyone else's. Two nights ago, for example, I dreamed I was running in some kind of marathon race through an abandoned, post-apocalyptic urban city center.... carrying a full grown live sheep on my shoulders. Really.

Last night, however, I had a theological insight in a dream. Maybe it was the mocha chip ice cream I ate right before bed.

In this dream, I was talking with a young man, a college student I suppose, who had started attending Mass after a long absence from the sacraments. I was discussing his return to the Church, and he mentioned to me that he felt the need to attend Mass because (in his words), "I want God in my life."

What I told him, in the dream, was, "God is already in your life. I know He is, just from the fact that you exist. He is in your life, sustaining you in existence. No, you don't need to come to Mass if you only want God in your life. You come to Mass to worship God, because YOU want to be in God's life."

That's all I recall of the dream, and I woke up shortly after to the sound of the rooster crowing. (Why on earth did we decide to put the coop on the side of the house closest to our bedroom?) But I woke up with a feeling that I had just realized something profound. And while I don't recall any of the other circumstances of the dream, that particular snippet of conversation remains in my memory.

I think there is some truth to be found there. God is in all of our lives. You cannot escape from that truth. You can ignore Him. You can pretend that He isn't there. You can go years without thinking about Him. But none of that changes reality. God is there. He Who Is, the one who gave His name to Moses as "I AM," is the root and cause of all existence, including our own. The Almighty who knows all, who sees all, who understands all is always aware of our needs and conditions. To put it simply, He is always there with us.

Our decision is simple. We can either ignore Him and pretend like He isn't there. Or we can accept the reality that He is there with us and direct our lives accordingly. When we make the decision to be active Catholics and participate in the sacramental life, we say to God, "I know you are always with me, Father. I want to be with You, too."