Day 64: Stress Dreams & Spirit
Updated: Jul 21, 2022
Stress dreams about the “start of school” never seem to go away, even for a full professor in a freestanding seminary.
I awoke with a start this morning, my body recovering from an adventure day yesterday (more on that to come). I had just been in the car with my parents and the president of my seminary, Kent Millard. We were casually chatting together, going out to breakfast at a local diner. I was sharing my delight at welcoming a friend of his into my classroom via Zoom—a Jerry Zehr, with book The Peacemaker’s Path—and my folks were pleased and seemingly content to be along for the ride toward a nice breakfast. It was Monday morning…
…which slowly began to dawn on me, in that dreamtime heaviness and inability to focus, that my class was to have started by now, actually two hours ago. I was miles from my notes, not dressed appropriately, and had no car or independent way to get to class. Even if I left immediately, I would have lost two hours of the classroom time, so the class plan was all off, would need refinement. I was in a pickle and embarrassed to try to fix any of it on a delightful outing for breakfast together. I could not get back to sleep without re-entering the dream.
At 5:45 a.m., I gave up and simply got up, smiling. Such bemusement and predictability before 2.5 days of intensive teaching, tomorrow morning, which is Monday.
I’m pleased with the preparations, regardless of how my dream-self may portray it. I’ve spent more time in some unexpected places—a Sarah Coakley article on the kind of “definition” the Chalcedonian Definition is, Cynthia Bourgeault’s fascinating (and esoteric) understanding of the Trinity as process more than Personhood. Reading and reviewing some of the classically Christian theological underpinnings with which I enter into/conceive of faith-integrity amidst interreligious companionship has been much less tender or raw than in previous years. I’ve often been as prepared as I needed to be for a class while skimming or avoiding much depth-engagement with conservative Christian habits of mind. They were too painful to enter into for me. But something has shifted in me…
I could feel the liveliness I once knew in a fascination or devotion to Christian lenses onto the world now much more conceivably pluralistic—Trinity, Incarnation, Day of Pentecost. I didn’t mind getting inside the density of intellectual arguments, though it’s not how rationality comes naturally in me.
I guess I simply love the adventure of creating, co-creating, crafting, then holding a teaching-learning space for folks who are on a spiritual-awakening path, whether they want to be or not, whether they are conscious of it, or not. The six-petaled flower inside the Chartres labyrinth pattern is where we’ll begin together… We’ll walk into the center, in prayer, then spend time with each ‘petal’, in an order the circle will determine.
And Spirit will show up. Always does, blessed be.