Dream of: 17 March 1995 "Uncomfortable In Church" 


carefully scrutinize religious symbolism

I had walked into a church. Since I knew that I didn't go to church, I felt rather uncomfortable being there. I vaguely thought I was supposed to meet my wife Carolina at the church, and it was for her benefit that I was there. I figured at least I would listen to the sermon and maybe I could glean something from it. Mainly I thought it would be good for Carolina to hear a sermon.

I was standing in a large room with hardly anyone in it. More than anything, the room reminded me of a kindergarten class. Different kinds of tables – some round, some square – were scattered around the room. All the tables had chairs at which people were gradually sitting down. I thought I needed to go ahead and take a seat.

Since I didn't much like socializing with church people, I looked around the room for a chair where I would be most inconspicuous and would be left alone. To my left I saw an empty table with one large chair and several smaller chairs. I thought of taking the large chair, but then decided that would make me look like I thought I was someone important, and I decided not to.

At another table I saw another chair off by itself, but some eye glasses were lying on the table in front of the chair, an obvious sign that someone had already taken the chair. The longer I delayed, the more people filtered in, and I began to realize I was going to have to sit at a table with other people – like it or not. Finally, after heading to a table over to my right where only one woman was sitting, I pulled out a chair and sat down.

No sooner was I sitting than I realized several people were actually at the table. The woman whom I had at first seen sitting at the table was staring right at me as if she knew me. To my surprise I heard her call me by name, and I looked at her more closely. She was perhaps in her late 30s and had a rather pudgy face. Slowly I vaguely recognized her as someone whom I had represented in a bankruptcy case. Since I couldn't remember the case, I hoped that it had gone well and that she would have no reason to dislike me.

When a man sat down on my left and the woman introduced him as her husband, I turned to him and said I recognized him. Actually I was uncertain whether I recognized him, but I didn't want to offend him.

When the sermon finished, I was sitting in a pew in the back of the church. I was unprepared when a woman began passing around the collection plate, for I hadn't even thought about giving anything. What should I give? Five dollars? Twenty dollars? I wasn't anxious to give anything, but I pulled out my wallet, and flipped through the bills I had inside. When I noticed the woman on my left count out three dollars to put in the plate, I decided to do the same. That sounded cheap enough to me.

When the woman with the plate reached us, I noticed that she had been handing out small white pieces of paper to people who put money in the plate, but that she had just run out. I understood the pieces of paper were to be used for tax purposes, so the donation could be deducted from taxes. She said she was sorry she had run out, and she asked me if I needed one. I mumbled, "I'm a lawyer." I thought it sounded more informal to say "lawyer" than "attorney," so that was usually how I referred to myself. I had told her I was a lawyer so she would understand that I was in business for myself and that I did indeed need to write off the donation. The woman seemed genuinely sorry she had run out of white papers, and I thought it really didn't matter; it was, after all, only three dollars.

I had written a paper to give to Carolina - actually two papers. One long paper was white. The other paper was more like a long strip, and it was red. I noticed if I laid the red paper horizontally over the white paper, together they looked like a cross. It seemed appropriate that the cross-beam of the cross should be red – the color of blood. I thought I would put the papers together like a cross and leave them outside Carolina's window for her to see.

Commentary of October 16, 2015

Anyone who claims that "all things are possible in dreams" certainly does not have a firm grasp of dreams. Many things are not possible in dreams. Maybe such people mean to say that one can "imagine" anything in dreams, although I myself would not even go that far. For example, it is impossible for 2 plus 2 to equal 5, even in a dream. No matter what our level of dreaming, this cannot actually occur. However, perhaps in a dream, someone could delude himself or herself into imagining and believing that 2 plus 2 equals 5.

This slippery slope of believing that all things are possible in dreams carries over into other areas, such as "seeing the future," for example. Although someone might "imagine" a possible future in a dream, it is impossible to actually "see the future" in a dream. The same can be said for "changing the past." Although a different past can be imagined in a dream, the actual past can never be changed, not even in a dream.

Although it is difficult to deny that "anything can be imagined in a dream," it should still be obvious to the thoughtful that many things are actually just as impossible in dreams as they are in waking life.

Dreams have limitations. Such "anything-is-possible" beliefs about dreams seem as uncomfortable and untenable as many dogmatic religious beliefs. For just as in life, many things are actually impossible in the world of dreams.

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