Sleep upsets the baggage cart of our daytime thoughts and experiences, jumbling them in ways that often make no sense.
The Preacher and I both dream. Some of those night journeys are nonsensical and entertaining, others are upsetting. Rarely have they been messages from God.
In one of my dreams, the Preacher, with obvious sadness, explained that the following week he would marry a second wife. I began wailing. Real wails, with tears. “Do you have to? Really? Do you HAVE to?” I asked, and he answered with a grave nod. Some new government regulation, he said.
My caterwauling woke the Preacher. He reached out to wake me. When I stopped sniffling, I told him the dream. He was as relieved as I that it was only a dream. Apparently, I’m all the wife he can handle.
Rick is a fairly placid man, yet his own sleep journeys take him down paths he never travels in the daytime. During one of his nightmares, which included thrashing and angry grunts, I tried to wake him up, easy-like, by patting his arm. Apparently that entered his nightmare. Up came his fist, landing firmly on me. He woke up then, but had no memory of the dream.
Recently, he called loudly for help in his sleep. I reached out to wake him. This time he didn’t clout me. “What were you dreaming, Hon?” I asked.
“Statues,” he mumbled. “Angry statues. Come to life. Chasing me.” I found that slap-the-bed-funny, but the dream disturbed him so much he had to get up to wake it off. (And no, he watches no zombie shows.)
Neither of us had a clue what fragment of real life wove itself into his night-time ramblings that night – or on another, around the same time. He started talking, crossly and loudly. “Go get it,” he demanded, following that with yet another howler, “You were man enough to ride my bike into the lake, now be woman enough to get in there and get it out!”
Sleep doesn’t only generate bizarre dreams. It produces interesting writing. Once I woke with a bit of what seemed like brilliant prose demanding a place on paper. I wrote it down, but the next morning found this odd shopping-type list: Streetlights and tea lights, umbrellas and yardsticks, fancy leggings and a million island dressing. Covered bridges. Dirty dishes.
Not quite Pulitzer. And definitely not a message from God.
In scripture, God often spoke to people through dreams and visions, but he always made the meanings clear. Any message from God today, dream or otherwise, will always agree with what He has already revealed in the Bible, which is why it’s so vital that we know what it says.
I’m grateful I don’t have to force our nonsensical dreams through some distorted, unbiblical spiritual filter. I’m content to call them what they are – the puzzling nocturnal ramblings of one of God’s most fascinating creations, the incredible human brain.