Recurring Dreams

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All of us have recurring dreams in our collection of days – or should I say, collection of nights? Some are universal in nature, as I’ve learned through sharing my dreams with other people.

There’s the one where it’s the day of the final exam, and I realize I haven’t attended the class all semester. Besides that, I don’t even know where the classroom is! Almost everyone I know has had this dream.

Then, in keeping with the school theme, is the dream where I am sitting in my desk and discover that I don’t have any clothes on. Or, it is time to get out of my desk, and my shoes are missing. Or, it is time to take a standardized test, I don’t have a No. 2 pencil, and none of my classmates have an extra one for me to borrow. Who hasn’t had a dream like this?

There is also the dream where I am driving and need to stop my car. As hard as I push down on the brake, the car keeps rolling. I swerve every which way to avoid a collision, and finally wake up in a cold sweat. Thankfully, this happens in dreamland, and not in reality.

These three are among those I find common in other people’s nighttime adventures in dreamland. I’m sure there are others, but I want to share four dreams that I have had this week – three are variations of one of my own recurring dreams, and the other is an adaptation of one of the ones noted above.

Three nights this week, I have had dreams about moving. I believe these are somehow associated with the number of times I’ve moved from one home to another in my life, especially during my preacher’s wife days. In each of these dreams this week, I am packing up to move from one home to another. In the first dream, I am busy collecting last-minute items, only to discover that I can’t find any moving boxes to put them in. I am in a hurry to get the bookcases unloaded, the kitchen cabinets emptied, and my clothes out of the closet. I am in a panic, because everything has to be out of the house in a matter of minutes, when the movers will arrive.

In the second dream, I am also packing up to move. However, in this dream, I have to make decisions on what belongings to take and which to leave in the house. I find myself taking items down from a kitchen cabinet, placing them on the counter, and having to choose what goes with me and what stays. It’s the same with the bookshelf. I am allowed to take some books, but not all of them. Time is running out, and I have to decide! Again, I wake up trembling, my heart pounding, and my brain confused about what is real and what is a dream.

With the third moving dream, the moving van is packed and ready to go, and we have to get the remaining items loaded into the back of a mini-van. Where the vehicle comes from I haven’t a clue, because I’ve never owned a mini-van. Among the items that must fit into the vehicle are my cedar chest (which contains lots and lots of treasures from my life), several suitcases of varying sizes, a mirror (which will break if we aren’t super-careful), a stack of moving cartons, containing who knows what, and me and my two sons. In this dream, Wade and Brian are little boys. My husband is driving the moving van, and is impatiently waiting for me to do what I have to do. I am doing my best to stuff all this other stuff into the mini-van, so that I can follow him wherever it is that we are going. And, like the first moving dream, I awaken suddenly, still confused about what was dream and what is reality, thankful that my sons are grown and there is no moving day in my immediate future.

The fourth dream, and the one I find the most amusing as I look back at it, involves the universal theme of the dream of being naked in class, with a slight adaptation. I dreamed this one last night. In this dream, I was sitting in the last pew of a church during a communion service. The church resembled the one where Brian works in New York City. Ushers were directing everyone – by rows – when it was time to stand up and walk down the center aisle to partake of the elements. When it was time for our row to stand, I inched along the pew and entered the main aisle. As I walked in line behind the other parishioners, I realized that I had on nothing more than an extra-large “I Love New York” t-shirt that I sometimes wear for sleeping. And I was barefooted. I tugged at the shirt as I walked, making sure that it was long enough to cover the evidence that I didn’t have on any underwear. Thankfully, the hem of the shirt hit my legs slightly above my knees. When I got to the chancel area at the front of the sanctuary, the minister handed me the bread, which I then dipped into the goblet containing grape juice, held by another minister. Neither showed any sign that they were surprised at my attire, or lack of it. Same as in Methodist churches I’ve attended everywhere, I paused at the altar to kneel and pray. My sister, who was standing behind me, and who had suddenly appeared out of nowhere, nudged me to tell me that we weren’t supposed to do this – that I was the only one kneeling. Everyone else was returning to the pews. When I got back to the row where I had been sitting, it was full. There was not room for me to sit. There I was, in my oversized t-shirt and no shoes, standing there, trying to figure out where I was supposed to go. Thankfully, I woke up before I embarrassed myself any further in dreamland, but wondering what in tarnation that dream was all about!

I am sure that someone could analyze these dreams for me and tell me something profound about my psyche to explain these crazy nighttime flights into fantasy, or more likely, some kind of warped reality. I certainly don’t know what makes me dream the way I do, or what makes these recurring dreams part of my life. I have no explanation for them, but I do find them amusing at times. At least, none of them are terrifying dreams, as some I’ve had at times in my life. I can smile as I write this account of my collection of nighttime dreams, and imagine what fascinating world I might visit tonight.

And I always wake up – safe in my bed – thankful that it was only a dream. And that I’m not out in public – naked!

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