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At 6 A.M., I woke with this dream:

It is August, the evening of my arrival at the Eastern Point Retreat House for my eight-day directed retreat. Animated conversations of other retreatants draw me to the dining room for buffet supper. I search among them for my friend Pat, but she has not yet arrived. I’m concerned. Winds sweep dense levels of humidity from the Atlantic’s surface that borders the complex. I feel clammy, heavy.

At first, the dream’s setting, EPRH, thrilled me, the Jesuit retreat house that I had frequented for decades at Gloucester, Massachusetts. Profound spiritual cleansings had buoyed my spirit, until home for a while; and the emergence of entrenched habits resumed their former dominance.  

Then, I looked deeper into my psyche: Animated conversations of other retreatants exposedthe seepage of inner chatter, warring against my practice of meditation and spiritual reading that blocks “conscious contact” with Higher Power. This had been true at Gloucester, as well; only within its silence could I settle down to fully engage in its critical work, guided by my director.

In my present circumstances, I yearn for the same depth of silence in my psyche. This is not happening as much as I would like. I feel clammy, heavy. My body has never died before and I need guidance in prayer and from other spiritually minded persons. Yet, control still has mastery, despite my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps; though, such sparring does yield spiritual growth. Time is of the essence.

In the dream I also noted anxiety over the absence of my friend, as if unable to surrender to the grace of the retreat that necessitates psychic change. This image speaks to existential loneliness, casting me adrift in powerlessness. Therein, I eventually find my God who companions me through end time. No one else can serve this purpose.

So I plod along, one day at a time …

At 7 A.M., noise from a workman’s truck near my home roused me to this dream:

I’ve been hired to manage a large estate in the United Kingdom. I am well, my present age. Two white-haired bachelor brothers live there. I’m attracted to one of them. Later, I’m driving on the wrong side of the road and someone corrects me. I make the change.

My inner world appears busy, charged with managing a large estate that reeks of entitlement, privilege. Such were the imprints from my beginnings that sheltered me from the life’s hardships, and because of which, I did not develop in many areas. Relationships limped, at best.

In the dream, I am well, my present age—Perhaps a glimpse of what is to come: energetic, willingness to help others, compassionate, at least I hope so, since lifelong breathing issues have compromised such involvement. It heartens me to know that my present body, afflicted with chronic illness and pain, will have its last breath, “in the twinkling of an eye…” (I Cor 15: 52) and will change.

My attraction to one of the white-haired bachelor brothers speaks of my instinctive need for an intimate companion, still active in my psyche. Perhaps in the life to come, this need will be fulfilled in the vision of the Holy, already glimpsed in prayer—Such bliss serves as windows opening onto the Eternal.

In the meantime, I’m glad to know that someone is around the corner to correct my driving on the wrong side of the road, monstrous psychic snags I still create, especially when noting further diminishment of my body. This is working out …

At 6:45 A.M., I awoke, shivering, with this dream:

On Sunday morning, I attend brunch at an elegant country club with flower-bedecked tables laden with choice foods, attended by aproned servers. Stylishly dressed families jam circle tables in the dining rooms that overlook the golf course. The chatter is deafening. Because I’ve a need for a restroom, I go in search of one. The next awareness I have is of a hand leading me from the men’s room, located in the basement through labyrinthine musty stinking corridors. The soot-encrusted tiles feel cold beneath my bare feet. I’ve lost my shoes. Bleary-eyed, exhausted, I plod along.

This dream could have causal factors: taking my thyroid medicine at 5 A.M., then turning on Relevant Radio, a recently discovered Catholic FM station, rather than resume my sleep. Just wanted to hear what they’re talking about, I mused, having been a non-practicing Catholic since May 2007, though still one at heart.

The smooth tones of an Archbishop, repeating himself at intervals, intrigued me. It felt like I was seated in the boardroom of a Fortune 500 Company; the commodities under discussion were the souls of the Archbishop’s nine thousand parishioners and plans to revivify their spiritual practices, as well as help his struggling young priests return to prayer. All in all, a rosy picture emerged of his Archdiocese.

Again, it was my curiosity that activated my Dreamer’s correction as noted above.

The image of the Sunday morning brunch suggests an essential feeding during a church service; the elegant country club, the veneer of the Catholic Church; the chatter, the gibberish of prayer; the men’s room, the undercover manipulation by the patriarchy; the basement, the shadow/unacknowledged sinfulness of the Catholic Church; hand, the right green forearm of salvation as depicted in Medieval stained glass windows; and the loss of my shoes, the absence of purpose.

The sickening aftermath of this dream lingered into the day, eventually dissipating in the writing this blog; its lesson: beware of curiosity and its contagion.

Or perhaps the dream is all about my shadow, not the Catholic Church.



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