Posts Tagged ‘river of fire’

Because this was one of the most profound dreams that I have ever had (and it has stuck vividly with me over the past 8 years) and because I actually reference it often, I thought I would write it out here.  (The bulk of this was taken from a MySpace blog that I wrote in 2005, though I have filled in the rest of the dream somewhat.)

In the spring of 2002, I had a dream I will never forget. It was a wondrous dream, stemming out of books I’d been reading (‘Great Divorce’ by CS Lewis and ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ by John Bunyon) and an intense passion for holiness and purity and serving God that stemmed out of my internship with AIM the fall before, the New Testament class I was taking with Dr. Fairchild and even recent conversations I’d been having with friends.

And in the dream I came to a great and wide river. It was a turbulent river and on the other side was God’s country (as best as I can define what I understood in my dream). I was not alone, there were others who stood beside me.  And though it wasn’t in the dream (or I simply don’t remember it), we had all been on this journey together.  And when we had at last come to the border of God’s country, there was this river. And I knew we had to cross it. But the river was a river of fire. Everyone hesitated. But something drew me on. I knew I had to trust God that it was okay for me to cross. So I went right in.

And I remember that the river burned, the pain was real and yet somewhat distant as though a memory after the fact. It hurt, but it did not kill. I was not sure how long I was in the river, but I came to the other side. And when I did I was surprised to see that the heavy backpack which I had carried upon my back was now empty. All the weight had burned away. I felt light and clean and pure…
In fact, I woke still feeling light and clean and pure.  And that feeling lasted almost all day long.  I have had nightmares which I can’t seem to shake for  hours or days.  But this – this was wonderful and I would not have wanted to “shake it” even had I been able to….

It was actually a two part dream.  The second part was rather weird (and perhaps somewhat heretical) and involved God’s country having (or being) a cafe with high tables and in the center of the tables were miniature Hershey bars.  And they had to be small because even just a little taste was so pure and so real chocolate that you could hardly stand it.  It was marvelous! And God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit (in body – hence a bit of tritheism there) were serving us in this cafe.  And I, like Peter, didn’t feel that was right.  I should be the one serving, I kept thinking… and so that second part of my dream was bizarre and it has had its own meanings and implications in my life.

But the river of fire has stuck with me.  Though more faded than I’d like, the memory of it is almost still tangible.  As though even now I can somehow remember the feel of the burning and of feeling so clean and pure.  And this dream has resurfaced over the years in a myriad of ways.  And I suspect God will continue to bring it to mind as He continues to work in my life…

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I think often things come upon us and when we get through them we look back and see how God used that to work out something in our lives that needed worked out… Though there are times, and perhaps more frequent for those who are contemplative by nature or highly aware of their own spiritual journey, when we can see what God is working in us in the midst of it.  But have you ever known ahead of time what was coming up?

I haven’t even hit the curve yet, where the road bends back around that huge precipice which blocks my sight.  I’m not there yet.  I can’t even really see it.  But I know it’s coming.  I know the road will be rough and the terrain unfamiliar and the vegetation won’t agree with my stomach and the flowers will give off a smell that is almost too much for me.  I will meet strange creatures which I will fear but who are really only trying to befriend me…  Yes, somehow I know the road ahead.  And though I continue forward, I do so almost with a fear and trepidation.

Three things have begun to be woven into my life.  Or, rather, there are three strands which have now taken on a distinctive color and have captured my eye and are coming closer and closer together on the tapestry.  (And yes, I switched metaphors – I do that frequently.)  First of all, over the past couple of months, and perhaps through a particular friendship, I have become more and more aware of my OCD tendencies and how they affect little parts of my life.  I had already become aware in grad school that when I get stressed, I clean and organize more – as if trying to control the portions of my life that are left to my control!  But in recent months more little aspects of the OCD have been seen (and understood) more plainly.  Numbers, organization, order, lack of spontaneity, lists, patterns, social issues and control.

Control has also come up a great deal in the book I’m reading.  Invitation to a Journey frequently mentions how even when we have a relationship with God we try to control it and grow on our terms.  Over and over again – or perhaps I simply pick it out because I need to – he talks of relinquishing control fully to God.  In every aspect.  And to be honest, he mentions many areas in which I had never thought of control as being controlled or controlling.

And then there’s mime.  Mime.  O how I love mime!  I love the beauty of body and space and movement and expression and creating stories without saying a word.  I love the silence and depth.  I love the technique and teaching and creating and performing pieces.  I love mime!  But I hate the box.  I hate statues.  I hate anything that has to do with doing mime “on the street” and I really hate improv.  Now it is true that I enjoy mime improv more than speaking improv. And it is also true that I have already come a ways in growth with improv – in fact, I taught a mime improv class at the National Creative Arts Festival back in 2006.  But that’s just it.  I taught.  And to teach you have to have a plan.

I like plans.  I dislike improv.

I have come to realize more fully over the past few weeks (but it’s been gradually culminating for months) that the reason I hate telling random people that I am a mime is that I fear they will ask me to demonstrate, or to come and “mime” at their party or for a street event.  And the reason I hate this is because I don’t know what to do.  Not that I don’t know technique.  But I don’t know how to let my mind come up with it spur of the moment.  I simply don’t know how to play.  And it’s even worse when others are around.  For then I over analyze and I fear they will lead me down a path I don’t want to go on. (I was the same way in  acting class, always fearing during improv that someone would give me a title or position or past that I didn’t want.)  And, really, what’s at the root of all this?


There it is again.  And so I clearly sense that God is preparing to work in me on this issue.  And to work hard at that.  And I sense that mime and learning how to play and improv is actually going to be a means to and/or a way to show how God is working in my life.  And is it ever going to be difficult and painful!  I am actually quite scared.

But like that dream I had, where I stood upon the banks of the river of fire, knowing full well I must cross, I will not give the fear a foothold.  I will dive into that river of fire.  For though I may feel the burning of my skin, I know it will not be the death of me.  I will allow the river of fire to burn through me and purge me of this area so that I may come out the other side, pure and clean and light, no longer with that burden on my back…

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