So, stuff has been happening … you know how in life ‘stuff happens’. Stuff I don’t know how to deal with, stuff I don’t want to deal with, stuff I am just downright resistant to. (keeping in mind my number 7 status and all that). And as this ‘stuff’ accumulates, so my propensity to deal with it decreases. I tend to withdraw at moments like this, to hide away and to blur my mind with as much distraction as possible. In my case its podcasts, if there is a podcast on the internet chances are I have listened to it in the last few weeks. My desk is a mess, a pile of unread books and unfiled papers. Talk about a visible sign of an inward resistance.
But today is Ascension Day. The day Jesus ascended into heaven, into ‘reality’. I’ll leave it to your pastors and teachers to explain what Ascension Day means theologically, but for me, today, it means it’s time to get my sh*t together and to rise ‘above’, to face reality. It’s not going to be hard, it’s just going to take some conscious decision-making and some good old-fashioned, ACTION.
But herein lies the paradox, the mystery and the beauty of this reality. All I need to do is show up. God will do the rest. I know this because I dreamt it. Yes, yes I did.
The Ship Dream, in two parts …
Part One: I am on a ship, with a whole lot of James Bond lookalikes, in their suits and ties and dinner jackets, all looking identical, all milling around a gaming room. I am the ‘investigative reporter’. Only problem is I have no friggen idea what is going on, all these people identically dressed, all handsome, all smart, but all so alike I cannot work out who is who. Skip to the next scene, the ship has disappeared, presumably sunk, or destroyed, I am not sure which, but I know it’s no more. Now of course, I am a little anxious. I didn’t figure out the story, identify the ‘goodies and the baddies’. I pick up my phone to go through the pictures I took on the ship to see if I can piece it together, but the pictures are not the pictures I took, nor the scenes I witnessed. Instead of people, what I see reflected is a garden – a beautiful, lush little garden full of multi-coloured flowers. In the wreckage that was previously a gaming ship, only the garden remains.
Part Two: I am now bobbing on the sea on a piece of wood – I can only guess it’s part of the wreckage of the ship – on the piece of wood I am trying desperately hard to hold together a make-shift shelter. Whilst I am balancing on the piece of wood, trying to hold together some sense of security, I call out to a little girl who is treading water a little way away from me. I am trying to coax her onto the wood, to encourage her to safety. Eventually, after much persuasion, she agrees to hold on to the side of our makeshift raft and as she does that, just as she puts her little arms onto the edge of the raft, a large, white, platform type ‘thing’, comes up from beneath the surface of the water, gently scoops us both up and deposits us on dry land.
Now, I am sorry, but that was a pretty magnificent dream wouldn’t you say? It reminded me to surrender the complexities, to hold on to my life ‘rafts’, to allow myself to be carried and to let God make beautiful the confusion that is seminary life.
Ascension Day, the day on which Jesus left us, left us with the knowledge that we have all we need to deal with the ‘stuff’ that comes our way.
It’s time to sort out my desk and get back in the game … God wants to garden.
Happy Ascension Day friends!