Dream a little dream

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Courtesy Unsplash.com

Courtesy Unsplash.com

With all this time on my hands now, I have a whole bunch of it to think about all kinds of things. The latest is dreams,more accurately whether or not dreams come from anywhere, specifically from God. Obviously we know God has spoken to people through dreams, there are plenty of examples throughout the Bible, but what about to us not so saintly ones? Does God speak to us through dreams?

Everyone has dreams, and I know I certainly have my share of them. Some I know come from maybe having had one beer to many before going to bed, and some might come from something I ate, but then there are others I really wonder about, especially the ones that repeat themselves.

We all have dreams and in doing some research I have learned there seems to be two different schools of thought on whether they mean anything or not. Freud believed that all dreams were the result of some secret wish. When he first started discussing dreams he claimed they all had to do with sex, however after his book The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text came out, he did modify this some. Others believe that certain dreams mean certain things, symbolism. or example if you dream about oranges it means you will have good health. There is even something out there called the Dreamer’s Dictionary which will help you interpret them. So who do you believe? Like it seems is true with everything these days, there is no right answer, it all depends on your interpretation of what is written.

I can only go with my experience with dreams. As I began this post, I have all this free time to analyze everything, including my dreams and I have found some interesting patterns. One thing I have noticed, in fact I noticed this many years ago, is that I have dreams that constantly repeat themselves. They are not always the same, sometimes there are varying details, but 99% of the time they are similar enough to say they are the same. I believe these dreams are trying to send me a message. I will discuss why I believe some of these dreams come from God in a minute. I have also noticed that when I determine what the message is supposed to be, I no longer have the same dream. I had one recurring dream that started about 1984 and finally about two years ago I figured out what it was about, what it was telling me. When I took care of business, I stopped having the dream. Interestingly enough, my father had once told me he had pretty much the same dream.

Okay, so are dreams, whether all or some, messages from God? Does God try to send us messages, warnings, or prophecy? Again there are two schools of thought here as well, depending on whether you believe in God or your don’t. Obviously I do believe in God, so I do believe He speaks to us. Obviously in the Bible there are references to God speaking to people in dreams, and I believe he still does. However, we need to be very careful on this, because just like God can speak to us through dreams, so can Satan.

How can you tell the difference? Simply by reviewing the dream, the whole dream and nothing but the dream to see what the true message is. This isn’t always easy to do, like with the dream I mentioned above. If the message of the dream follows what God and Jesus teach us, then it is from God, if it contradicts what they teach us, then it isn’t from God, but from someone else.

I had another recurring dream, nightmare really, where I would enter into a deserted building and would be attacked by some unseen evil (Satan?). I would wake up feeling like I was suffocating and screaming for help, usually waking the dog, the cats and even once in awhile Tonya. I had this dream several times over several years. I finally realized after I fell off of that darn truck, that it was from God and He was sending me a very clear message. The very night I realized what He was trying to tell me, I had the dream, I made a conscious choice in the dream to not go into that building, indeed I walked down a completely different street. Not only did I not wake up in fear, I have not had the dream since.

Do I think every dream I have comes from above? No, only the ones that repeat themselves, and that I can’t seem to forget throughout the day. I believe God speaks to us in many ways. I know I didn’t always realize it, nor did I listen, but I think He is always speaking to us. Whether it is from God directly or from your guardian angel (another concept I have been pondering lately) He does guide us. So dream on and take the time to look at your dreams, you don’t need books or help from others, just think about the dream, what it might mean and go from there. Maybe it is God Calling.

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The Virtue of Patience

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Courtesy Unsplash.com

 

We all know that patience is a virtue and for some of us it can be one of the hardest to follow. Like now for example. I have been out of work for three weeks now and have been working to get my freelance business going. But the work is slow coming in.

I know I need to be patient and use that other virtue, perseverance, to make it go. It is kind of like the parable of the sower and the seeds that fell on the fertile ground. They need to be watered and nurtured; it takes patience for them to grow. (Luke 8) The same goes with my little business.

As I think back over my life, I have not always been patient, especially when I was younger. I knew everything there was to know and no one could tell me any different. I knew more than my sisters, I knew more than my mother, I knew more than my wife and I certainly knew more than my father. It’s funny how as I got older they all got so much smarter. I think of my dad each and every day, things he said to me, things he taught me. Someday I am hoping to see him again so I can tell him I am sorry I didn’t listen and thank him because I am listening now.

I bring this up because one of the reasons I am patient is because my father made me realize what truly is important in life. It wasn’t money, it wasn’t stuff, it was family, it was love, it was being surrounded by the ones you love. My father wasn’t always one to say he loved us very much, and he never said he was glad we were around, but we knew he was. One day, a little while after my mother passed away, I remember him telling me how he never realized how much his family loved him and what great kids he had. That meant more to me than anything else he ever said to me.

Okay, okay, back to patience. Because my father taught me, maybe more showed me, what was important in life, I am now much more patient than I ever was. Even though it is going to be tough for a little while, we will make it. We just need to hang in there, be a little more budget conscious and trust in the One who has never let me down before.

I don’t know what my father’s dreams might have been. I don’t know if he never pursued them or attained them, but somehow I think if I reach mine that will make him happy. And with the help of God and patience, it will happen. If not, it won’t be for lack of trying.

A person is prudent not because he never makes a mistake, but because he corrects his errors. He shows his prudence in preferring to miss the mark twenty times rather than give in to an easygoing ‘do nothing’ attitude. He won’t rush into things foolishly or behave with absurd rashness. He will run the risk of his decisions. Fear of failure will not make him give up in his effort to do good. As we go through life we find ourselves coming across people who are objective and know how to weigh things up, who don’t get heated or try to tip the balance towards that which favours them. Jose Escriva, Founder Opus Dei

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A Light on a Hill

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light of the world

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast called “The Epiphany of the Lord.” Pope Benedict XVI called it the “mystery of the manifestation of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to all peoples” (Angelus, 1/6/12). This is the day the Magi visited Jesus in the manger bringing various gifts. (Imagine “We Three Kings” quietly playing in the background for the rest of this post.) These wise men from the east, left everything they had to follow the star to where Jesus lay, to see the “newborn king.”

God provided the light for the wise men to follow, just as He provides us with that same light. Some of us (I was certainly one) cannot see the light, or if we do, we choose not to follow it. (You know that whole following the narrow path thing again.) We stay in the darkness. We know that Jesus is the light of the world.

The problem today is that it is hard to see that light, there are so many clouds, the light has trouble breaking through them. We live in a world where other, dimmer, lights have taken over. Things are more important to many of us than each other. Money, status, possessions, have all become new gods that we worship. Not only do these distract us from the light, but so don’t others who don’t want us to follow the light. Christians are persecuted all over the world because of their beliefs. Even in our country, once thought of as the “shining light on the hill” those who openly profess their faith are ridiculed and demeaned. “Keep your religion in church where it belongs” we are told.

 For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. –  John Winthrop, First Governor of Massachusetts, 1630

I think we may still be a shining light, I just am not so sure if it is the same light.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Now as you may know, (as you would if you read my past entries), I recently lost my job. Prospects aren’t all that great when you are closer to sixty than 40. I am going to try to make it work by editing, proofreading and writing. You can help me out in two ways: If you or anyone you know needs any work done, you can contact me either through Elance by clicking here or via my email: thewaywardcatholic@gmail.com  No job is too big or too small. Thanks!

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Do we need to make mistakes?

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Courtesy Unsplash.om

As I talked about a few posts ago, I lost my job and am currently unemployed. However, that doesn’t mean I am not working. Besides doing some freelance editing work, I am also trying to get my writing into gear, as you may be able to tell by the frequency of my posts this is one way.

The day I lost my job, I had tweeted about it and had mentioned that now I would have time to pursue my dream of writing. There was a reply asking what I would write about. I replied to the reply that maybe I could help others to not make the same mistakes I did. Then there was a reply to the replied to reply, saying “Just remember, everyone has to make their own mistakes.” And of course, this started me thinking:  “Really?”

Do we really need to make our own mistakes? If there are people who an help us to not make mistakes, wouldn’t the prudent thing to do be to listen to another’s advice? There is an old saying “If I knew then, what I know now”, and another is “As you get smarter, your parents get smarter.” What are these saying? As you get older, you get wiser. You learn things, most of the time the hard way. If you knew then what you know now, or if you knew what the results of the decisions you made would be, you would have made different choices. The same as when your parents would try to advise you about something, you would do the opposite, failing to realize that they more than likely made the same mistakes.

Now, I know we can’t undo what has been done, we can only move forward, but if someone can guide you through the journey of life, you might be advised to listen. Of course, there is a problem, one I am facing as I think about writing a book with some of the things I wish I knew then that I know now. How can you prove things would have been different? Since you cannot change what’s done, and as usually is the case (at least in my life anyway) one poor choice can lead to many others, how can you share this credibly?

After falling off the back of that truck and seriously thinking about lots of things, I know what my first mistake was, and it led to many others and significantly changed the course of my life. But how can I prove that? And to go back to the original statement, am I really better off because I made that mistake? Obviously I think not, well in some ways I am. Therefore, it isn’t best to make your own mistakes.

Now, as I have said before, everything happens according to God’s plan. Maybe this was His plan for me, to mess up my life so I would come back to Him. (This opens up a whole different theological can of worms however, like, if I hadn’t made bad choices, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and hence not following God’s plan.) I also feel it could be part of that plan for me to write and help others.

So as I sit in my little house on the lake, listening to the cold wind blow and watching the fire burning in the stove, this is what I am thinking about. How can I tell my story?