Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Only in my Dreams ...

Last night, I had that dream again.

The same version I’ve had throughout my life. It’s mostly about academic strife and being lost – some strange vestige of my childhood psyche.

It’s always about the same: Not being able to find my classroom, not having the tools for class, not able to get to class, or missing several classes and not being able to catch up when I get back to class. It usually encompasses some form of being totally lost while trying to get to my class. Sometimes it’s a version of me as a child -- becoming more and more scared and tangled in a labyrinth of rainbow-colored elementary school halls.

Other times, I am a high school teen in fashionable clothes (the kind I never had in high school but always wished I did), completely unable to get to class in a larger-than-life drab building with lots of stairs. It’s like my legs are stuck in cement and no matter how long I slog on, the class never appears. It’s very fitting that in the teenage version I don’t seem to care as much about not being able to find class, at least at first -- until it hits me about a half hour into the class, like a wall of pure dread: I have no idea how to get to my class. I haven’t been to my class all year, I’ve never been able to get there, and I’m going to flunk. In fact, I don’t even think I have the book for the class. I’m doomed. How will I ever make up all my missed homework? What have I done?

Last night was a newer version: I was in college. Or maybe some professional school or work training. All I know is there were lots of adults around, and I felt like an adult. There were groups of happy-looking professionals taking pictures together. I was in a strange old fashioned dark building with domed ceilings, brick, and decorated tile architecture with antique wood benches. It seemed sort of like a big hotel or convention center, but a really old one. I had to get to a classroom somewhere, but things were blocking my way: Strange doorways that looked like a classroom might be behind them, but they opened up instead into large luncheon buffet areas. A large wooden bench blocked my way in a hallway, only to find that the top part swung sideways on a hinge so I could open it and climb over it. Or, I would turn to go down a hallway where I thought my class was, only to find there were three hallways that looked exactly the same, slanting in slightly different directions. There were other weird parts as well that I can’t remember, they are just too fuzzy.

For some reason this dream hit home more than the others. I guess because it’s been a long time since I’ve had one and it took this particular dream to realize this is a recurring theme that has seemed to stick with my all of my adult life. It brought back the memory of all the other dreams. 

So what does it mean?

I mean, I know I have always been directionally-challenged, that is no secret. I was once told I could “get lost in a round room,” and unfortunately I couldn’t disagree with that. I tend to get lost easy. Definitely in big weird hotel/conference center buildings. I’m sure I got lost a lot when I was little looking for classes as well.

But I don’t recall it ever filling me with absolute dread or causing me to miss an entire class. I also struggled a lot with academics as a child, so that could be another branch of my subconscious messing with me. I stayed up late at night reading, so I was always tired in school. I tended to daydream rather than focus and I just didn’t apply myself well. I got through high school with the least amount of effort I could to get by. I snuck away from the lunchroom to read poetry in the library. I was too caught up in my emotions and boyfriends, and I was a bit of late bloomer in the maturity department. 

I remember getting to college and being surprised at my academic ability, like: “Wait, all I have to do is study and do my homework and I can get A’s? Ohhh ...”

I do remember being frustrated with my seeming inability to focus and figure out how to get good grades when I was younger. But again, I don’t know if that was enough to cause a lifetime of recurring dreams.

So I don’t think these dreams are really about being lost or missing class at all.

I think it’s something else. The dreams must be a reference to something I just can’t reach in my adult life. Something that is blocking my way, altering my route, and messing with my head. Somewhere I’m trying to get, but just can’t figure out how. That thing I need that is just out of my reach.

If I’m honest with myself, I’d say there are a few things like that going on right now.  I’m in a rut when it comes to some life goals I am desperately trying to reach, and I’m having a hard time finding my way out. Some things I’m trying to accomplish lately seem out of my control, no matter how hard I try. I’m not a quitter, but I’ve begun to find myself wondering whether I’ll ever get said goals -- and that fills me with dread.

But maybe … I should learn from my dreams.

Just maybe, it’s a way for my subconscious to reveal that I have what I need to get there – just like I did as a child.

Back then, I couldn’t figure it out yet because I wasn’t in a place to “get it” emotionally. I need a strategy to get to where I need to be, but I just don’t know how to find it yet because it hasn’t been revealed to me. It’s lurking out there somewhere, behind a weird door that I haven’t opened yet. I need to think about it, and pray on it more.

I’ve got to find that lost classroom.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 

Proverbs 3:5-6