Friday, July 4, 2008

what a dream I had

I think that's the first line of a song I know, but cannot identify at the moment.

I fell asleep as per normal as I put my son to bed, balanced on a six-inch slice of single mattress while he settled down. I often drop off before he does, and awake at about this time.

I dreamed that he and I were alone on a small inflatable boat in an unfamiliar lake or calm inlet, and that the boat was slowly sinking. I was partially in the water, while he sat in the dry, higher portion facing me. We weren't very far from land, and I had a paddle of some kind. I had to get us to shore before the boat sank completely, or at least get close enough that I would have a chance of swimming us both to the shore successfully if we capsized. There was daylight.

Many towering rock formations protruded from the calm waters, like my idea of the Apostle islands (probably smaller), and I was rowing backwards towards the shore in such a way that I could only correct my course by looking around every few minutes. While paddling frantically I also worked to keep him still and calm, not wanting him alarmed or impatient -- hoping his four-year-old's judgement wouldn't get us into deeper trouble. Fortunately he had a rock or something he had picked up in his hands and was focused on this thing, on not losing it.

Steering somewhat blindly I noticed at least twice that without realizing it, we had come through a tight or dangerous place, or through a narrow passage that was our only option, as if guided. I was thinking (in a bare second of pause) that God must be lending a hand, and that reassured me even as the boat sank lower and lower in the dark water.

Interspersed with these scenes, towards the end, were those of another dream in which my son had painful symptoms of an ear infection. He was in the car with his father and I, and we had to get through and around some series of hindrances in order to get him home.

Finally, in the dream of the water, we managed to come safely through and around the rocks, and we gained a seawall close to the beach before the boat became completely submerged. I was able to hoist my son onto dry land before climbing up myself, and the big problem became his concern over the little rock, which he had misplaced after coming ashore. I was relieved that we'd made it without panic or injury, and grateful for the feeling that we were aided somehow by divine power.

After I awoke and staggered into the bathroom to wash my face, I relived the dream. And a line like one of Max Lucado's came to me -- 'the sinking boat of human endeavor.'

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