I stand in a meadow at dusk.
The last light of day sweeps waist deep wild grasses in shimmer-shadows of purple and silver.
My twenty-two year old self stands facing me. She smiles her freckle smile.
Twenty-two year old self looks at me and giggles; practically bounces in her silence. I stare and remember; I used to be bouncy. Yes, I decide. I can be playful again.
I look into her eyes long enough to notice the speckle-sparkle brown within. Fewer creases mirror back.
Then, with tenderness, I give her permission to go. She recedes into the grove near the meadow’s edge and I continue toward to mountain.
Maybe you don’t believe in the power of dreams.
I believe dreams can act as a gateway between our subconscious, our soul, and our awakening.
I believe dreams can be a visual guide or a warning or an affirmation.
I believe dreams – no matter the content- invite a curiosity to explore what new or deeper truths there are for us to learn about ourself, our Creator.
If, like me, you have been a vivid dreamer since childhood, I believe God can use the subconscious let-down of our mind in sleep to connect and progress our spiritual development as an adult.
Find this a little whack-a-doodle? To that I say yes. It’s a certain kind of mystical magic that happens when the ancient stardust compounded into the very cells of our being meets the luminal liminal space between our awake and unawake selves under the stars.
I receive the imagery in this particular dream as divine gift and answered prayer to questions I have been asking about my own spiritual deconstruction and progression of faith.
She meets me in the meadow as a reminder that the joyfully alive, playful, most spontaneous parts of my personality are not lost. Dormant perhaps, but still accessible within.
The doctrine and world systems I held as a young adult were beneficial and necessary then, but now I can release them. Release her. I can walk on.
I have dismantled the faith of my college days. I have expanded. I will allow myself to do so. Even if – no- even though I don’t look the same, and both I and my community aren’t sure what to do with that yet. Change happened so gradually over the years. Tiny imperceivable shifts until the accumulative waves have moved me great distances.
Suddenly my church of fifteen years feels estranged.
Suddenly my spouse stares at me as if a stranger to relearn.
What do you do with an expansion of self when you discover the new self no longer fits into the same life?
Their discomfort is not a crisis of my faith I remind myself. Continue.
I fill my lungs with wind and allow myself to be carried forward.
I am changed. I don’t want to go back, but I don’t know the way forward yet.
I am used to moving surrounded by people. I am used to being understood. I am used to being articulate about my beliefs or maybe not needing to be when there is little difference to explain. This new revolution? You don’t know until you know.
I stand on a new ridge overlooking the landscape of my past. Wind whips wild and rejuvenating through me. More God Yes Breath surrounding. Eyes darting wildly in search of a travel companion.
I am alone, but not panicked.
Although millions of adults my age are also in process of dismantling and reconstructing not only their personal faith, but the institution of Christianity (in America especially) as a whole, I am still alone. Just as you are also alone in the unfolding. For the hero’s journey in any classic myth and ancient tale is a solitary revolution of leaving the known place toward the unknown.
Compiling the team of traveling companions for this uncertain road produces a jarring and janky jamble of podcast hosts, authors, and atheists who offer genuine expressions of love to me as I trust the unfolding. I find rest in new spaces and am awash in gratitude for these star guides and these anchorings.
She waves from the meadow’s edge of my dream, but I don’t see. My gaze is set forward. I lift my face toward the breeze and inhale in thanks as I continue toward the unknown and the yet discovered.