Saturday, May 28, 2011
My Own Private Tornado Alley
Killing, being killed, having tortures inflicted on me, being buried alive: these have been staples of my night world for several days now. I’ll spare you the details. You have to sleep tonight.
I know that these are not omens of the Rapture. That already happened. I have not been exposed to violent imagery this week—outside the NHL Eastern Conference finals, where the Boston Bruins won Game 7 last night, 1-0, one of the most exciting hockey games I’ve ever watched. Yessssss! But there were conspicuously no fights last night, and no minor penalties, the first time that’s happened in a playoff game since 1993.
Maybe it’s the book I’m reading, G-Dog and the Homeboys, Celeste Fremon’s powerful study of youth gangs in East L.A. and Fr. Gregory Boyle’s mission among them, the subject of his own memoir, Tattoos on the Heart. It’s a hard life in the projects of Los Angeles, and the writing is gripping, but nowhere did I read of anyone having nails drilled into their brains or . . . Sorry, I promised no details.
I cannot find anywhere on line a definitive Catholic teaching on dreams, which is surprising, considering that Freud founded an entire industry on dreams, and it seems to me that he was one of the most malevolent influences of the twentieth century. (Don’t get me stahted, as my fellow Bruins fans would say.)
How would the Church explain dreams? Angels? I wouldn’t blame angels for my dream world. Natural causes? No, I’ve been sleeping very comfortably in the suddenly soft, crisp, late-spring air of eastern New England, with the window open behind my head. If anyone can point me toward a catechesis on dreams, please comment below; and if, as some have told me, you have technical trouble commenting on this blog, friend me, Webster Bull, on Facebook. I am interested to learn more.
Meanwhile I am left with my experience, and my own working hypothesis. From where I sit this morning, dreams, especially bad ones, are messages—from God, from angels, from a misplaced pillow, I’m not sure it matters—that undermine our certain, complacent sense of self. We may go to Mass every day, say a daily Rosary, attend Adoration, perform the moral inventories involved in daily examinations of conscience and regular Confession. Still we are broken, wounded, unfinished. Still we are mysteries to ourselves. I think I know—and I know I do not know, the moment I wake up from a dream that seems to bear the thumbprint of Hannibal Lecter.
And since this experience of waking up to my own mystery is ultimately a positive one, no matter how negative the dream, then I will go ahead and credit God for my bad ones, as well as my good. At least, He’s my working hypothesis. What’s yours?
Posted by Webster Bull at 6:03 AM