Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Ugly Dream

Last night I had a nightmare. I don’t often remember my dreams, never mind have nightmares. It woke me up out of my sleep at a little after 4AM. Struggling to go back to bed, I couldn’t help but analyze what it meant. It was a very graphic dream, in many way revolting and repugnant but the analysis proved worthwhile even if I lost some sleep.

The dream started off at night. I was out with some friends at a rock club seeing a band play. Not real friends, dream friends. The kind where you are best friends in the dream and you wake up realizing you have no idea who they are in real life. It was very dark, kind of Goth-like. We decided to leave the club and walk around the city. That brought us to a subway. We descended the stairs onto a dank subway platform. The walls were streamed with condensation and the lights were dim. Grime lightly coated the walls from floor to ceiling. There was no one there, just me and my dream friends. We decided to jump from the platform onto the tracks. We started walking away from the subway station toward the black tunnel of the underground subway system. Surprisingly, I was not afraid. It felt exhilarating. Into the dark we went. We found a dimly lit hallway to the left of the tunnel. As in most dreams, suddenly my crew of friends disappeared and I went into the hallway by myself, curious by the noise I heard down the corridor.

Wide-eyed, I walked toward the noise. I realized as I was walking that the walls had turned to dirt. Everything was dirt. The sides, the ceiling, the floor, all dirt. As if someone had just started digging and made this hallway. The scene never changed. The entire cavern was dirt and it was lit by construction lights all the way through. The noise was getting louder. I started passing people. At first they looked disturbed and possibly homeless. Not unusual I thought for a makeshift hideaway in a subway system. I kept walking, a little on guard but still eager to see what lie ahead.

What I encountered as I came to a room at the end of the hallway was, to say the least, unnerving. There were people everywhere in this large dirt room. In fact, the hallway wasn’t really a hallway but a passage way to an integrated system of hallways and rooms. I looked around the room at people in varying degrees of decay and death. Some grotesquely injured, eyeless, horribly wounded but they were still living. I know this as they were all talking but I couldn’t make out what they were saying over the collective noise they were making. It looked like a battle scene after a bomb explosion. I kept walking onward down the hallway. The corridor system only went one direction, downward. It got darker and dirtier as I went. Dust hung in the air and I somehow lost my shoes. Barefoot, I went on trying to avoid decaying people, blood and human excrement. I was horrified by what I was witnessing but I needed to see what lie ahead. It was like a bad car accident, you want to look away but you can’t.

As I walked on the hallways got narrower and darker. The construction lights were farther and farther apart and it was hard to see. The rooms got more and more crowded with people. This time they were not decaying, they were angry. Posters and defaced pictures of families hung on the walls. The posters were scrawled with accusations and profanity, hastily written and fastened to the dirt walls. The pictures of happy families had similar writing on them and images written over the faces. The people were yelling at me, pleading their case for why they were there. Their behavior was disturbing, they chaotically ran about, yelling, trying to be heard and pointing to the posters and pictures for me to see. I was trying to read them, to take it in and hear their complaints but my mind was rushing about. The hallways and rooms were so small, it was hot and I was starting to panic. My head turned right and I saw a teenage boy, hair black as pitch and dirty trying to play a broken black electric guitar.

My mind slowed down and I came to. I had to get out of there, a girl was yelling at me as I turned around and started running. I had to find my way back. The people and the very walls of the caves were telling me that I couldn’t get out. There was no way but I didn’t listen. As I found hidden stairways, I went up. I knew if I went down, going up would get me out. I was desperate to find my way back to the city streets. As I found stairs, I used them, ignoring the voices that told me I couldn’t leave. Desperate to be spared I cried out to God, “Lord, please save me! Please get me out of here!” My last staircase brought me to a train station but I was not on the platform, I was in a baggage room and I had to squeeze through a tiny door where your luggage comes out to be free. It didn’t look like I’d fit but I was desperate to try. I was not alone others had found their way out and they were getting through. I scrambled to the doorway and stuck my head in. It was a struggle but I made it. The next thing I knew, I was in a courtyard of an outdoor shopping center. It was filled with tourists on cruises who had ported for the morning. They were all walking around discussing how great their vacations were going with one another. I walked up to a vendor selling wind chimes and bought a gigantic wind chime made out of kitchen utensils and pot lids. (Okay, this is a dream don’t forget) I took the wind chime and started walking home, barefoot and dirty, toward my parents house. I was anxious that they would be worried as it was now 8AM in the dream and I had been gone all night without so much as a phone call.

I woke up feeling unsettled. What could all that mean? I was so glad that I was able to get out in my dream. Most dreams like that involve running in circles and into dead ends until you awake with a start but in this one, I saw it out to completion. I was saved by God. He showed me the way out. I lay in bed, eyes open, wondering where all this came from. The decaying, disfigured people, the posters and pictures, the shouting. What did it all mean? I started to drift off again when my mind began sifting through the images like a shoe box of postcards. I saw what was there and I heard what the people were saying. They were grief-stricken by their lives. The accusations on the posters were about them and what they thought their loved ones had done to cause them such pain. The defaced pictures were their families, and the writing and the images on them was a constant reminder to the people in the caves that the smiling faces of well put together families, to them, was a lie. The injuries and decay I saw was the outward manifestation of how the dying people felt on the inside. The cave was their hell, their entrapment in their pain. There was a way out but they didn’t know it was there. They never bothered to find it. They had resigned themselves to the dark, dirty cave. They sealed their fate in their own mind. Prisoner to their grief.

That really is just it. So many people do this. I see them every day. They create internal, mental “hells” for themselves and almost subconsciously imprison themselves. As they stay in it, they get worse, never better. Downward they go, angrier and sadder they get. Unable to understand, there is a way out.

Grief comes in all forms. Deaths of loved ones, lost relationships, dysfunctional families, innocence of childhood lost, all kinds of grief. It is as simple as people mourning something they can’t have back or fixed. I found the way out in my dream and in my life. I cried out and asked God for help.


  1. This was an excellent analogy of the message God has given you. Thank you for sharing :) Still praying for you {hugs}

  2. Very Dante's inferno - people suffering in direct correlation with the hell they make of their lives. I am perversly grateful that you had this dream so you could share it with us.

    Love, Jasmine