Deep sleep for me these days, is a rarity. My ever growing nine-month old son still enjoys snacking throughout the night, and I'm one of those parents who succumbed fairly early on to co-sleeping for the sake of "ease." What might have been easier then, is no longer easier now. If I had known then what I know now, I might have tried a little harder to keep the baby in his crib at night...However, that's not what this is about.
This past week I was allowed a couple nights of fairly deep sleep. I know this because I actually engaged in dreaming on those nights. The first night of dreaming, I don't even remember. However, the second stood out to me and had some strange correlations to current events (of which I wasn't really aware of).
It was this last Friday night, and I was staying in a beautifully vintage-looking hotel room with my sister, my now sister-in-law (future sister-in-law then, because she married my brother the next day!) and her bridesmaids. My sister, myself, and Isaac shared a bed. And boy was it a comfy bed! No wonder Isaac slept so well that night. Anyway, the dreaming had started...
Honestly, the first dream I had that night had something to do with me being forced into prostitution for the sake of protecting my family from some really awful men. A little disconcerting, yes. But that dream had less of an effect on me than the one that followed. In this second dream, I found myself sitting in what appeared to be a press conference. There was a large attendance, and facing all of us were a board of leaders for the Presbyterian Church of America (I grew up Presbyterian and was well aware of some of the controversies within that particular denomination). It appeared as if one of the women within that group of leaders had been recently elected to a position of leadership. She made a speech, after which spectators were given the opportunity to ask questions.
A man sitting next to me, raised his hand and asked her, "What is your stance on homosexuality within the church?" The tone in his voice was antagonistic, as if trying to set the woman up for failure. Despite her answer there would be no winning. Although, she did her best with her response to take an unbiased neutral position, there was, sure enough, an uproar.
She began to be surrounded by people from very opposing viewpoints, yelling hateful accusations at each other and at her. "You are what's wrong with this world! You hate-filled, intolerable filth!" "No, you're what's wrong with this world! You sin-ridden garbage!" I don't remember other specifics words, but in the dream, I started crying. I was overcome with sadness and frustration, and I couldn't take it anymore.
I stood up.
And started yelling. I pointed my figure, and spinning a circle around the room, addressed everyone. "You, you, yes, you too..." Not leaving anyone out. With tears streaming down my face and agony in my voice, I shouted "Will you PLEASE, above ALL ELSE, just love God and love each other?!! Above ALL ELSE?!" Above political opinions, above your own judgements and convictions, above yourself...Will you love God and will you love others?
Interestingly, in the dream, my dad joined me in standing up and proclaiming the same. That the most important thing needed to be love: for God and for others. And from that the rest would fall into place. And that was the end of the dream. I woke up shaken.
After telling my husband about it the next day (Saturday), he was looking at Facebook on his phone and began telling me about a large protest that happened in Roseville that day (the day after my dream). This protest consisted of both Right and Left wing groups, as well as neutral parties. It was a big deal because of the presence of groups that were known for being more violent. I was unaware of these protests until after the dream, but find it interesting that I had that dream when I did. Coincidence. Yeah, I don't think so.
I'm still praying over the significance of that (admittedly, a little half-heartedly because I'm fearful of the boldness that God might be calling me too...just being honest). But I feel confident in the truth and power of that simple statement to "love God and love others." Sometimes it seems as if we all get a little too focused on our opinions, and the opinions of others that we end treating each other like crap. We get judgmental, self-righteous, and end up causing WAY more division than unity. We focus so much on the "rightness" or "wrongness" of homosexuality, abortion, racism, the economy, religion, etc. that we forget we're dealing with human beings, just like ourselves. Who are probably in need of love just as much as we are. But because of our own misguided actions, we leave this "love" in our dreams...I say "we" because I do it too.
Dream with me some more though...What if we humbled ourselves enough to truly learn love from the Author of it all? What would happen if we really did set aside our strong opinions so that we could treat each other better? Even just on an individual level. Could that have societal repercussions (in a good way)? I think so.
I can imagine a wealth of healing, joy, and peace that might come from that.
Love God. Accept that our opinions of what needs to be done in this world or what needs to be changed in the person next to us is flawed. Those opinions don't seem to have worked up to this point, and they probably aren't going to work in the future. Someone else has a far better plan and opinion, and it might do some good to step aside and let Him work.
Love others. Be intentional about being nice, respectful, and viewing each other as beautiful children of the Most High God.
Above all else.
Will you PLEASE, above ALL ELSE, just love God and love each other? Above all else.
"And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”