tricyles and broken nails

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for something I found rather interesting and fun... (don't worry, I'll get back to the trip soon - Day 4 was the highlight, in my book!) :) But this was just too good not to blog about.

So I had one of those nights last night - you know, the kind where you make yourself go to bed because it's late, and you ought to... and then you just lay there. Blinking. Wishing you were asleep. Thinking about all the things you could be doing that would be more productive than laying here in the dark thinking about all things you could be doing and blinking, wishing you were asleep. And then two hours later you wake up, realize you were asleep, and then lay there some more, wishing you were still asleep... I did eventually fall back asleep, and just before I woke up (1/2 an hour before my alarm?!?! after a night like that? oy. and oh, yes, there's already coffee, here at my kitchen table at 5:17am.... that time stamp down there is not kidding - I really did get up at 5:00am today) I had the coolest dream.

There was this conference - I think it was on different aspects of worship, maybe? Not sure - but my friend Cheryl was scheduled to be one of the conference speakers - Jenn, too. Neither one of them had the least idea what they were going to speaking on, and pretty much figured it out on the fly. Jenn, I am pretty sure, spoke on sacred dance or something. Cheryl taught on the practical technical dimensions of pulling off a Sunday morning service. The conference was held in an outdoor amphitheater, and there were a lot of people there, all of whom played various roles in the church.

Following the conference, there was a retreat of some sort at this small, out-of-the-way, relatively obscure little church with an outdated building (you know the kind - the ones that were constructed in the early 70s and never remodeled... this one had a craft room that doubled as storage closet, and to put anything away you had to interrupt the kids working on their projects and fold up the tables to get into the room...). Cheryl was speaking at this retreat too, and she was closing her session with worship. Sometime before the session, she taught me the chords to this new song she wanted to teach. She was really excited about teaching it, and she played piano and I played guitar - except I was borrowing someone else's guitar - one that belonged to the church - and the strings were all rusty and not tight enough, and it wouldn't stay in tune, and I was so afraid that a string would break and hit me in the face - which is bad enough, but with all the rust, it would've been worse. Someone offered to loan me their guitar, but the wood and the strings were totally warped and it wasn't any good either. So I'm telling Cheryl that I need to go get my own guitar, and she's all confused about why that would take any time the way I'm explaining that it will - because mine has been sitting there, the whole time, completely in tune and ready to play. I felt a little foolish, and excused myself anyway, and told her I'd be back in a few.

Well, as dreams go, I'm not sure where I went, but the next thing I remember is running late and trying to get back to the conference before the session starts, because I know Cheryl's probably internally freaking out about me not being there yet - but I'm driving along, and these two cars whip out around me, one on the left and one on the right, and then they stop, right in the middle of the road, and these two high-school-aged boys that were driving get out, and I'm not even sure what they were doing, but I went around them, and I was like, yo, next time could you maybe just pull over? And I kept going, but now, instead of being in my car, I was riding a tricycle, and I was way late, now. And I tried running down the sidewalk without the tricycle, but I had all this stuff, including my guitar, and it wasn't any faster, and I didn't want to just leave the tricycle there in the middle of the sidewalk, so I tried scooting along - you know, when you grab the handlebars and push off with one foot while you're standing on that otherwise purposeless step on the back - and then my sister came along and I think she might have actually taken the tricycle, and tried to get me to go faster because the session was starting - and she rode right through a newly constructed section of sidewalk. (I think there may have been someone else along at this point in the dream, but I can't remember who, or when or why they got there.)

It wasn't just any old sidewalk either - on the sides it was regular cement, but in the center it was all these large square red brick-like tiles - very precise - someone had spent a lot of time making this look nice, and it was all still wet cement. And now there was this three-wheeled track driving crazy through the whole thing... The woman who was laying the sidewalk was down in a ditch at the side of it, and she started to yell, then took a deep breath, and said, "no, hon, it's alright. i can fix it," and waved my sister on. But she kept talking under her breath, and said something that caught my attention - something about dead-end jobs and leaving them - and I asked her about it, if what she'd just said was true of her -and she ended up telling me her story - how she'd been doing this job for years but felt so stuck in it, and had finally just taken the risk and quit - and how she didn't have a clue what she was going to do now. She didn't have a plan. She'd just quit. And I spoke into her life, and told her that she was going to be okay, and that God would take of her, and that He was proud of her for setting off on a road that would be freer and would help her to find who she was always meant to be. And she climbed out of the ditch, and we hugged (her name was Pam) and it was such a cool appointment with destiny, you know? Like I was just supposed to be there. So she starts asking me about myself, where I was going, etc. and someone comes flying out of the church to tell me that the worship part of the session is starting and they need me now.

So I go dashing into the multi-purpose room to discover that it is a very small retreat - less than 20 people on folding chairs gathered around one end of the room where Cheryl is standing at her keyboard playing the new song, and I drop all my stuff on the floor (at a perfectly quiet moment in the song, so everyone heard it, but hey, at least it was on the beat, right?) and Jake's there and looks at me funny, like, "where have you been? this is so not like you?" and I'm looking around and most of the people there are from his dad's church. I just sort of grin, fix my guitar strap, plug in, and step up to the mic - we're at the chorus - and the room just erupts in worship - and I discover that not only are my fingernails too long to hit the strings properly, but one of them is all torn up and keeps getting snagged on the strings. I make it about half-way through the song and finally just give up. There's no way I can keep playing. And then the music transitions into "Come, Now Is The Time To Worship" - and that song talks about coming just as you are to worship... (completely late, frazzled, unprepared, and with broken nails?!), so I did - and as I woke up, I said, "Okay..." :) So here I am for the day, God, just as I am, to worship...

That was a crazy dream... and it feels (again) like there are dimensions that are probably just stuff from life - but others that might be God trying to tell me something... Time will tell, I guess. :)


Cheryl said...

Wow, that is a crazy dream... and the detail that you remember about it!!!

Ruth said...

That was so funny! It's like a glimpse inside your head. Sometimes when I have dreams like these they serve to bring to the surface a prevailing emotion or situation. Can you identify how you were feeling while you were travelling through this dream trying to accomplish these things all the while being distracted by important things and getting bogged down with wet cemment and riding a tricycle of all things? Was it the excitement of a challenge? Striving? Frustration? Resentment? Confusion? Contentment about getting the job done?

By the way - I'm loving reading about your little trip while I'm cooped up in my little office.

Happy said...

Cheryl - hee hee - yeah, it was totally crazy - but you did a really good job! :)

Ruth - my head has a lot of interesting :)

The whole tricycle thing...

Tricycles are the fastest way to get somewhere when you're the right size to ride them... faster than walking anyway - but for me, it was totally the wrong vehicle for getting where I wanted to go. It *was* a little frustrating, but it was all I had at the time, so I was making do, I think. And once it was taken away, I had time to stop and actually impact someone's life in a significant way - although it was the fact that it was taken away that led me into that conversation in the first place. I was so struck by how much grace that woman showed in the moment - she had every right to be totally torked at my sister for ruining her work (tho the pattern was actually pretty cool...) :) But she just took a deep breath and let it go. I remember thinking in my dream that she was so Christ-like, even if she wasn't a Christian, and that I wanted to be more like her. And then to have the opportunity to let her know that God loved her and would care for her, and to see the tears (good ones) that came from the healing/freedom the gospel brought to her - it was just a sweet moment. Kind of sad it was only a dream, but I'm sure there will be any number of equally cool real ones in my lifetime. :)

I think the biggest take-away with the whole tricycle thing for me was that it wasn't the right way to get where I needed to go - which seems incredibly significant to me in this season of my life. Some might say I committed career suicide, giving up a prominent role in my church the way I just did to take a back seat... I've actually not even been attending church all that often of late, taking time to just dig in, read, rest, and bike on Sundays - it's been so refreshing, but so... I don't know what, honestly - I never thought I'd find myself "unchurched" - and comfortable with it. BUT I also have Torch - our young adult/college group - and it IS my church, in terms of the relationships and life-on-life things that make the church really the church, and maybe that is what makes the difference right now. All the same, from a professional perspective, I quit climbing the church version of the "corporate ladder" in a major way, and while what I do as worship director at Torch is important to the 100+ people it affects, my sphere of influence is considerable smaller now... BUT - my walk with God is so much the richer for the time that I now have to devote to it... which seems the better way. I don't know - that may be what the dream was getting at - I was hesitant to leave the tricycle in the middle of the sidewalk, so I went back for it and tried to make it work (this happened metaphorically for me in December) - and then it was taken - and where that led was to a good, but unexpected, place. food for thought, anyway...

well - this comment's post-length now, so i'll cease and desist. more to come on the trip in a day or two. :) and glad you're enjoying it!