I generally do not remember my dreams. I do not often remember even having them. I do remember having had a couple of nightmares. I only recall ever getting two of them, and I don't remember the story lines; rather, I remember only the fact that I got them and that I would wake up shaking. They showed up right after my conversion. Ever since, I have turned to God every night for protection from this kind of evil toying with my unconscious mind, and no nightmare has again appeared.
Although I do not generally remember my dreams, I know I must have them. I fall easily into deep sleep, and that means I am dreaming. Without REM sleep, one cannot renew one's body on a daily basis and becomes sleep deprived in spite of having slept. I am not sleep-deprived. I am almost immediately in REM sleep and can wake up fully refreshed after few hours than most.
In all, there are only three dreams that I can remember. Two arefrom bygone days; both hysterically funny, which is probably why I remember them since in both cases I woke myself up laughing. I also remember the one I had last night, a serious and insightful one, something more than a simple dream I think. I will let you judge.
For reasons I do not now recall, I was driving along our crooked, hilly, Maine-woods, farm road that travels the edge of the White Mountains far from anywhere, anything, and anybody. Suddenly, I saw a young girl walking the road, dressed in black clothes, with a cowl over he head, carrying a bundle. I called her over and asked if she needed help. She said yes and pulled back a corner of the wrapping of the bundle, revealing what seemed to be a mass of bloody flesh, telling me that it was a baby although I could see no head and hear no sound. "Give me a ride to the hospital," she said in a demanding voice.
The scene seemed very strange: miles from nowhere, covered in black, a face I could barely see, bloody flesh wrapped in a black shroud. My instinctive caution kicked in. Stop! Go no further! If I let her into the car, who knows what might happen. What would she really do with and on this ride?
I told her to stay put, that I would be back in 15 minutes. Then, I turned the car around and drove the five minutes back to the farmhouse I had just left, the place where I grew up (not only in the dream but also in reality). I forced Donnie, my husband, to leave the table where he was eating with the rest of the family, explaining what I had seen, and insisting that he come with me to help this girl, spooky as she might be. Shane, my grown son, also at the table, put into the some "weapons" of the tire iron type.
With Donnie at the wheel, we zoomed back to where I had left the girl in black, but she was not there. So, we turned back and went to the hospital. (Yes, that means we would have had to go past the hospital on the way to picking her up, but in the dream there was no hospital on the way to pick her up but there was one along the same road when we turned back). When we reached the hospital, we learned that her story, which I had doubted, was true. No one had picked her up; she had walked all the way there; the bloody bundle of flesh was a baby, who was doing fine as was the mother. When I went to her room, she was with a friend. Nonetheless, I entered.
I tried to hide my identity, again for reasons I do not recall, that made sense at the time of the dream but not now (as so many things in a dream do). However, she told me that she knew who I was because she had just found me on Internet. (I know not all these dream elements make sense since she had just delivered a baby and would not have been up and about using the Internet; one does not have computer connections, at least not yet, in hospital rooms; and all she had to go on was my face so she would have had to google a mental image, obviously an impossibility. Nonetheless, in the dream it all made sense.) Both she and her friend, it turns out, worked as junior-level specialists in my professional field and, therefore, after googling me, she understood who it was who had refused her a ride.
I felt very guilty about not picking her up. I felt guilty about my desire to check things out before doing the task before me: giving her a ride to the hospital. I felt guilty about my feelings of reservation. I felt guilty about not returning on time. I especially felt guilty about being afraid -- of what, a newborn baby and a young mother in need?
The rest of the dream occurred synoptically, with many years rolled into a few flashed images. As a result of my feelings of guilt, I became the godmother to her son. Over time, I helped her with him as he developed as well as in their daily life. (There seems to have been no father involved.) I became her emotional support and physical helper whenever there was a need. The relationship was not peer friendship. It was more one of mothering. And suddenly I awoke.
I don't think that this was an unprovoked dream, nor do I think it was provoked by me. Last night, like every night, I asked God to prevent Evil from taking over my unconscious mind and send instead dreams about Him, so I was not expecting this kind of weird dream.
I also do not think that it is a prophetic dream; that is, I don't think that something like this is going to happen. There will be no lady carrying a new-born baby down our old farm road where I will be driving past. The likelihood of my driving our old farm road is preposterous. I rarely go to Maine, and when I do, I don't go to that part. Once in the past 42 years since leaving there, I have driven past the farmhouse because I was nearby and wondered how it looked. Especially nonsensical is the idea of Donnie and Shane eating breakfast at our old farmhouse. They have not taken a trip together since hiking the Appalachian Trail in 1987. Donnie's leisure schedule has never coincided with adult Shane's. Moreover, the nearest hospital is 13 miles away and located in a nearby city; hospitals in the USA are not, for pragmatic reasons, located along isolated winding roads in farm country. So, for practical reasons, I don't think this is a prophetic dream.
I do think it is an intentional dream, a lesson that I have probably needed to be taught for a long time. I have no idea if my interpretation is correct, but I do have an interpretation. It goes something like the following:
(1) If someone is in my path, like the cowled lady, I should help immediately. I have not always done so; I have often hesitated.
(2) I should not delay in order to run for help in determining the authenticity of the task (the command to take her and something that I was unsure was really a baby to the hospital), evoked by the image of running for Donnie just as I run to a priest for confirmation of a locution and simply wait for more confirmation if no priest who takes locutions seriously is available.
(3) It is not of my concern whether the person will use the help appropriately; I have occasionally hesitated when approached by panhandlers.
(4) Doing the task with lack of alacrity may result in someone else being sent to help (the friend who was in the room with the cowled girl) and/or the ultimate assistance is less powerful or requires more complicated intervention than when I jump right on it (the cowled girl ended up walking a distance that she could have avoided).
(5) My safety was not at issue; this raises the question whether I am too self-protective physically or, more likely, emotionally at times when it comes to taskings.
All those "feelings of guilt" in the dream, I interpret as showing me my weaknesses, with the intent of the dream being to educate me. In the dream, I felt guilty about those weaknesses (and ultimately "made up" for them). In real life, I should trust God enough for me to move on out with any divinely imposed tasking without hesitation rather than waiting and repenting for the wait.
The authenticity piece troubled me initially. Fr. Thomas Dubay in his book, Authenticity, the book that has become second most helpful to me after the combined volumes of The Cloud of Unknowing and the Book of Privy Counseling, says to check with a priest (my preference always) and, if that is not possible and there is no immediate way of confirming the authenticity of a locution, to wait. I interpret this dream as saying the opposite. I would love to hear what he would have to say about the dream. Maybe I will write and ask him. In the interim, I will continue to check with a priest where I can do that quickly. Otherwise, if the prompting/tasking is not in contradiction to Scripture (so far, nothing has been), I will simply do as Fr. Barry once suggested after questioning (make that, grilling) me about a locution: do it and see what happens.
Does anyone have other insights? Has anyone received instructions through a dream? This is a first time for me; I don't want to over-interpret the dream. (Hm, there I go hesitating again!)