Sunday, September 13, 2009

Recurring Dreams

I wonder sometimes if I were the only person who had recurring dreams as a child. I had two distinct dreams that were repeated over and over that I remember still so clearly today over 50 years later.

In one dream, I look around me. I'm no longer on earth, but on some planet far away. Looking around, I see nothing, but I sense something is terribly wrong. I feel an itch on my tummy and reach to scratch it. My hands touch something terribly moist. With all due trepidation, I look down. My skin is gone over the entire trunk part of my body, baring the internal organs within a slick membrane.

::Gasp:: Looking around, there are creatures moving towards me. They seem humanoid, and their abdomens are stuffed, but clearly with human insides. I realize they are intent upon my guts for their next meal. I run this way, then that, but I am encircled. Closer, closer they come. I'm screaming now. "No! Leave me alone! Noooo!" They grab my arms, and move in for the kill. "No! Please don't! I don't want to die!" Just as they reach to grab my innards, I wake up.

Oddly the second dream was even more horrific to me. I fall asleep. I'm like any child, wandering, exploring. Then I look up and it is Jesus. This is not good at all. I begin running. Jesus runs after me. Up stairwells, down stairs, in and out of buildings, Jesus continues to chase me. Suddenly I discover I can fly. Into the air I go, but looking behind me Jesus is right on my tail! "I don't want to die! Please don't make me die!" Jesus keeps pulling closer. We soar through a maze of obstacles but he stays with me. Closer and closer he inches towards me as we fly through the air, the wind whistling past. My breathing is fast, then I begin to scream. MY heart is palpitating and "Please don't let me die this way!" Tears flow down my cheeks as I scream out loud, but most of the time Momma doesn't hear me because of the attic fan. Jesus reaches out to grab me and I know in that moment I will be dead and then... I wake up.

I told a Catholic priest this story many years later. He laughed and said I was playing out the poem by Francis Thompson entitled Hounds of Heaven.

. . . I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him . . .

In this poem amidst the author's own fears he flees the inevitable encounter with the Christ, trying to escape the love that awaits him. It was a marvelous theory I think, but marvelously wrong. My explanation was much simpler.

Bed Time Prayers.

Yep, each night as a small child we would kneel down and say our prayers.

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
But if I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

This guy was the original grim reaper and I was his target. From about ages 6 up to around age 12 the dreams recurred far too often, leaving me each time with palpitating heart, and sheets drenched in cold sweat. Clearly the prayer did it's job. It sure scared the Bejeezus out of me.

I don't think they do that much anymore. Most of the prayers today are about loving gentle things rather than the harsh realities of death. I think it is better now than then.

No comments:

Post a Comment