I had a really weird dream the other night. And the weirdest thing about it was seeing the ways in which my dream world overlapped with the real one.
In the dream, I was talking with a friend about the devastating state of the world today. We were in a barren, outdoor setting – the kind you see in a post-apocalyptic or zombie movie. There was another catastrophic danger on the way, but I don’t remember now whether it was an asteroid hurtling toward earth, a super storm, an alien attack, or a deadly disease. Maybe we weren’t sure in my dream, either, but we knew that something was coming. We also talked about an impending world war, but we didn’t even know which number to give it because there had been so many.
At that point, a single thought occurred to me, and I said to my friend, “I need to write about this in my column.”
In my dream, this posed a dilemma. My column is always upbeat and positive. In each one, I try to include something useful, a bit of insight or inspiration that offers encouragement and perhaps some helpful advice. The situation in my dream didn’t give me much to work with.
“I’ll ask God about it,” I told my friend in the dream. “He’ll tell me what to write.”
My friend didn’t think that was a good idea – which was unusual, since in real life she is a very God-centered and faith-filled person. Before I had a chance to ask her about it, I woke up. The last thing I remember about the dream itself is that my ankle had started itching, and when I looked down at it I saw a bloody red rash starting to creep up my leg. Which probably meant that the next catastrophic event was in the “deadly disease” category. It also meant that this was the perfect time for me to wake up.
So – where did all THAT come from?
As I thought about it, I was able to see where different elements in my dream may have originated. The friend in my dream had a birthday recently, so she was on my mind. The devastating typhoon in the Philippines had just occurred. It was a few days before my column was due, and I didn’t yet know what I was going to write about. And recent newspaper stories I’d read included a movie review of a film about a futuristic war, as well as articles about the coming flu season, the asteroid that exploded over Russia earlier this year, the anniversary of Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds,” and the discovery of a faraway planet similar to earth, with the implication that UFOs and life on other planets were distinct possibilities.
From all of that, plus the continuing battles among our government leaders in Washington, and the scandals here in Minnesota in the Catholic Church – which has always been my home – there’s been enough sorrow, gloom and doom lately, here and around the world, to generate any number of nightmares.
And yet, there were little rays of hope and sunshine, even in my dream. I laugh now, wide awake, knowing that with everything that was going on in my dream, I was still thinking about my next column. And I’m comforted by the fact that even in my sleep, I wanted to ask God when there were questions I couldn’t answer on my own.
As dismal and depressing as this dream was, I’m looking now at all the positive and practical information it gave me. It reminded me to get my annual flu shot, and to offer prayers and financial support for survivors of the typhoon. It gave me a good excuse to call my friend, the birthday girl, and share the story with her. It let me know that I may be spending a little too much time reading and watching the news.
It also gave me something weird and interesting to write about in my column this week. And it reminded me of how integral both my writing and my faith are to me, and how much a part of my life they have always been.
The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on November 14, 2013.
©Betty Liedtke, 2013
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