Once again I was awakened by fierce night sweats last night. If you have never felt these, they are hard to explain. Most people think you just feel hot. It is so much more than that. It feels like you are trapped in a microwave, cooking from the inside out, and if you don’t get out of the covers or clothes RIGHT NOW you will explode like a potato left too long in the mic with pieces jettisoning against the glass to slide slowly to the bottom. Anyway….
I was in the middle of the most delightful dream. As I emerged from the cloud of my dream I was happy and joyful and just wanting to get back to sleep to experience more. But I suddenly realized that my innards were roasting and that I had to throw off the covers, turn on the fan, and possibly move to Antarctica. I was not happy about this interruption. Once things had cooled down and I was back to my shivering self, I realized I could not remember what I had been dreaming about. What was it? It was so clear when I first woke up. Now it was a swirling cloud of vapor. I concentrated and calmed my mind—trying to recreate that feeling of wonderment I had before the reality of the microwaves kicked in. But it was gone. I could only find wisps of the dream remaining—vapor trails of what was or could have been. Bits of happiness. Feelings of fulfillment. Snatches of peace.
It made me think of another kind of dreaming. Those goals, ideas, and hope-to-do-someday plans that keep us fired up when we are young. Lofty ideas. Challenging hopes. Napkin-drawn blueprints for a life we want to build.
How many of us lose those dreams when reality butts in? We were going to start a bed and breakfast, write a novel, travel the world, become a missionary. But we lost a job, had kids, got sick, experimented with the wrong obsession, and the dreams faded. It is frustrating and exasperating.
How do you pick up old dreams when they’ve been lost or put on hold for the unexpected or even for different or shared dreams? How do you coordinate old dreams with new realities. Or do you? Maybe you dream new dreams. Bigger dreams. Dreams that encompass your past, present, and future. Dreams so big only God can make them all work together, reforming the misty possibilities into concrete realities.
That is the kind of dream I want. The kind that includes my messy life—the hot flashes and tea drinking and sign reading (hello, my name is Marilyn and I am a sign reader) and apologies and dirty baseboards—all of it. I want the kind that are too big for me to do by myself. I want God-sized dreams.
And, if it is not too much to ask, I would like to remember them.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Ephesians 3:20–21 MSG