I am swimming in warm, crystal clear, shallow water near a sandy beach dotted with palm trees. Suddenly, the beach is nowhere to be seen and I am swimming–rather, trying to stay afloat–in wild, dark, cold, deep water with no land in sight. I wake up in a cold sweat.
I am driving down a winding road next to the ocean. As I move along the road, I notice the water level of the ocean rising until the road is totally covered in front of me and behind me. I can no longer see where the road ends and the water begins. I am driving blind as the water rises further up the sides of the car. I awake, terrified.
I am walking along a path in the country next to a dam. Suddenly the water in the dam rises and spills over the top. Next thing I know, I am in the middle of a lake with no shore line in sight and the brown, murky water is well over my head.
These dreams and many others, with a watery theme, occurred frequently in my life a few years ago. I frequently dreamed of rivers, lakes, oceans, and floods with myself as the main character, struggling against the rising tide or pounding waves.
I believe that God can speak to us in dreams, but also that this is a not a usual form of divine communication today. Often, through dreams, our hidden fears, needs or memories can be brought out into the open and, hopefully, be resolved.
I remember once preaching a sermon on the dreams of Joseph and how God gave him big dreams to guide him in his life journey. My parishioners at the time called it ‘The Amway Sermon’ and gave me a good razzing about it for months to come.
While I wouldn’t go as far in my affirmation of everyone’s ‘God-given dream’ today, I still hold that the dreams we dream have a way of calling our attention to areas in our life that need resolution, reparation, or release. As much as they fulfill this purpose, one could say that God uses dreams to guide us.
I found out there has been not a little amount of research undertaken into dreams, their causes and meanings. While I won’t go into details now, I discovered a common interpretation from both professional counsellors and psychologists and more mystical sources to say that water symbolised life and all that life brings. Drowning or struggling in water relates to ‘drowning’ under pressure or stressors and an inability to keep control of one’s life.
I would say that summed my life up perfectly.
During that period in my life, after several wake-up calls (a good name for dreams?), I made some changes. Things settled down. The water dreams stopped.
That was two years ago.
The other night I had a dream. Yes, it was a water dream.
I am in a suburban area of a city on a cold, rainy day. I am walking alongside a reservoir and the water level is rising. The levee was doing its best to hold in the immense volume of water that could, at any moment, flood not only the city, but my life. The water rose until it was lapping over the top of the levee. I kept on walking. The rain continued to fall. The clouds seemed to become darker.
The levee held.
The water didn’t overflow.
I didn’t need to swim for my life.
There was no flood, no waves, no storm.
The sun came out.
All was well.
All is well.
I know because I saw it in a dream.
I believe God gave me that dream.