I work with a spiritual director once a month, kind of a religious therapist. She’s been wanting me to track my dreams. Most people think in terms of dream symbolism (like Daniel and Nebuchadezzar, whose story we’re reading right now in the Daily Office), but I generally know exactly what my dreams are about. And last night, I had a life-changing one.
I saw a dark blue cave, and God invited me in, to nearer presence with him.
God’s message: Enter in.
Enter in to quiet.
Enter in to safety.
Enter in to healing.
Enter in to trust.
Enter in to him.
It was a vision I dreamed, just before I woke up. I didn’t actually do the entering; the invitation was the point. “There is a deeper place you can go. So come in.”
Writing this post is my acceptance. “I will enter in, Lord. I do come in with these words.”
I woke up with this picture in my head, and immediately wrote down God’s gentle words.
I wish that I could draw or paint the picture I saw, but I have no artistic ability at all. Later I did Google blue caves, though; all the images show underwater caves. There are apparently several bluish caves scattered around the world’s oceans.
In some ways this painting by John Eric Sparicio is closer to the vision I had because it doesn’t highlight water as the earthly caves do, but my vision was black, dry, with gray rocks and a blue glow. Still, this artist often paints on spiritual themes, so his work has its own validity and affirmation.
When I see my spiritual director, she’ll want to explore the symbolism of the cave, but what’s more important right now is that I had no fear of the cave; I knew God and his people were inside. I was very comforted by the invitation, and the revelation of this previously hidden chamber.
When you stand outside a cave, you have no idea how deep it is, how many chambers there are. Last year I was in Carlsbad Caverns, a national park in New Mexico, and it was huge.
God’s cave, by definition, is infinite. And Jesus was buried in a cave, as we heard two Sundays ago at Easter.
The cave I dreamed of was the gateway to larger life; but you have to Enter in.
Death of course is the human gateway; and as I get older and nearer to it, thoughts of my death naturally occur. But I wasn’t afraid of this cave at all; I was so thankful to be shown the entrance while I’m still here.
“You, Josh, can have all these things, quiet, safety, healing, trust, if you enter in.”
I smile now just to type that!
Last night’s sleep was very healing for me; I’ve been sick since Easter, and now I’m fine. But I have an agenda too, an invitation to keep.
I guess the reason I’m so shocked and thrilled by the dream is that (how to say this?) I’m very close to God already. These last few years have just been fantastic that way. Not only do I run the Daily Office website and blog, and completed a cross-country pilgrimmage two years ago, I recently got to do 200 podcasts of short readings from A Lesson of Love: the Revelations of Julian of Norwich. She had visions too, and they’re revolutionary.
The maleness and femaleness of God—and of Jesus our Mother, Jesus our Lover—is totally relevant to a Gay Spirit Diary. If sexuality is at the core of personhood, that’s where God is too; inside our bodies, inside our souls.
Fr. John-Julian, who did the translation and arranging of this first book by a woman in the English language 600 years ago, told me that “once you get involved with Julian, all sorts of things start to happen!” He casually visited her parish church 20 years ago, and a week later was asking his bishop for permission to change his name and found a monastery in her honor. Fr. JJ was an activist priest, not a contemplative, but God had other things in mind.
The Order of Julian of Norwich in Wisconsin is the only male-female religious order in the Episcopal Church. I need to visit it soon, after I talk to my spiritual director and after my friend Peter’s upcoming visit with me.
So I don’t know what this inviting vision portends, but a new chapter in my life opened last night. I wonder where I’ll be a year from now, or ten.
In that blue cave, no doubt. Thank you, Lord and Holy One.++
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