We had our first mid-week fellowship last week, and we had pizza and played trivia. I love trivia, and whenever I play, I inevitably get asked the question, “why do you know that?” The answer to that is the same reason I tend to have a lot of TV shows and movie quotes at the tip of my tongue, I have trouble sleeping. I can’t pinpoint when my sleeping troubles started, though I think it was during seminary. It wasn’t because of the workload, which was a lot, but because I kept getting ideas at night, and then I can’t sleep. Sometimes I just think; well, as long as I am up, I might as well learn something. Therefore, a lot of trivia gets stored away.
I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. It’s for a lot of reasons, and so I’m not going to go into those specifics, but I’ve started praying a repetitive prayer every time I’m trying to fall back asleep. I pray, give me dreams, not ideas. I take dreams pretty seriously. There are some that are silly, but when I dream, not only am I getting life-giving rest, but I also believe I am receiving a gift. It is a gift of insight into what I am going through in life. I also receive the gift of discernment and direction. Give me dreams, not ideas.
Dreams are incredibly powerful, and meaningful. It says in Isaiah in the beatific vision that when God and God’s people are in harmony, old people will have visions, and young people will dream dreams. Dreams are not less than visions, they are just different delivery vehicles for ways the Holy Spirit is calling us. Too often, we don’t take our dreams seriously. This is different than desires, or imagination. Dreams are another level.
When I listened to the Chaplain of the Senate, Barry Black, a few weeks back. A young senator from Illinois (you’ve probably heard of him) asked him for some advice on a big decision he needed to make. Chaplain Black’s question for him was, “what are your dreams telling you?” So that is the question I have been asking myself. About my own life, about my family, my friends, my vocation, church, community, and all of the rest of it. What are your dreams telling you? Dreams are a gift, and so I want to put that question in front of us, and ask us all to offer the prayer; Give me dreams, not ideas