Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jesus Loves Me As I Sleep

Meters swum today: 1600
Playing on the iPod: Ray Lynch, from The Sky of Mind

I had a nice dream the other night. Usually I have dreams and they flit right through my head and disappear. There are exceptions (remind me to tell you about the "Tree of Life" dream sometime) and They Must Mean Something, Roger but I have no idea what.

Anyway, I used to live in Salt Lake City, and in this dream I was back there visiting the church I grew up in (Zion Lutheran near downtown, in case you were wondering). The inside had been redone but it was otherwise the same. The service was already going - in fact they were serving communion - so I just sat down quietly in the back. A guy nudged me and said, "Go on up for Communion." I said, "Oh, I shouldn't. I'm a stranger here." He said, "There are no strangers here. Go on." So I did. Instead of those cute little machine-stamped wafers, they were serving this sweet honey bread and a kind of wine that, unlike every wine ever invented, didn't immediately make me want to throw the heck up (wine and I, we never got along that well).

When I sat back down the guy said, "Hang around after the service. We're going to sing songs." The service broke up and I started seeing all these people in the congregation that I knew, or used to know, or something. Some of 'em I could actually give you names and faces (Christina Obermann! Third grade Sunday school with Mrs. Utzinger!) and the rest were just those people you know in dreams even if you don't know them in real life. I kept walking up to people and saying, "I bet you don't remember me." The response was always, "Of course we remember you!" and usually a hug. "Welcome back! Will you be in town long?" I kept trying to say that I was just passing through. Was I? No idea.

So after all that we all sat around the piano and this pastor came out. I remember him pretty clearly because he was so goofy-lookin'. I mean not ugly, but he had a "shock" of red hair, kind of a beaky nose, wide eyes and, well, acne. Obviously very young and very into this being a pastor thing. He sat down at the piano and said something along the lines of, "Well, it doesn't matter how we got here, or what happened to us before we got here. We're all here now, and that's what's important," and then he started playing a hymn (I think it was Crown Him With Many Crowns). I woke up during the singing.

This Must Mean Something, Roger. You don't spose God's trying to tell me I'm part of the great human family, albeit in a rather Christian sort of way? I've had dreams about that church before and they're always very pleasant (which contrasts with the time I spent there in real life; I sort of hated it, actually). You grow up in a religion and it sticks with you, whether you stay that religion or not. I've more or less accepted that I'll always have Lutheranism as kind of a background color in my life. That's okay, really. I mean, it's part of my history. Buddhists wouldn't have any problem with my also being a Christian. It's the Christians who would get all upset.

Well, anyway, was a nice dream. If I ever figure the rest of it out, I'll let you know.


David Isaak said...

Hmmm. A Buddhist in Texas, but before that a Lutheran in Salt Lake City.

You seem to be a permanent outsider.

Jen Ster said...

Well, of course. The better to cultivate that writerly angst.

Joan says hi.