Two dreams about My Grandfather and Faith

In honor of All Saints day I have been reminded of my paternal grandparents who we lost last year seven months and seven days a part. I haven't had many dreams of my grandmother and I find that strangely comforting. But I have had profound dreams about my grandfather. He was a simple man of few words and our relationship was always very distant as, I feel, most of his relationships were.

The first dream was while he was still alive, just after my grandmother died.

While my grandfather was in the hospital, the doctors told the family he had about two weeks left. Two days after hearing that news, my wife, children and I drove down from Seattle. 2 hours into our trip I got a phone call informing me that he had passed. The second dream was a few days after he died.

Unassuming Parousia and Inclusion
The dream began with my wife, Titus, and I living in a blue house in the middle of a grassy field. There was a knock at the door and our demeanor changed immediately to fear and panic. I grabbed a gun and had my family hide in another room as I answered the door. At the door stood another man and his wife asking for a place to stay. My default stance was distrust and I told them they could pitch a tent in our front yard. They were happy to do so as they also seemed paranoid. I  take this to be a symbol of the brokenness of humanity and the world.

All of a sudden there was a flash of light and I was in a crowd of people less than a hundred but more than fifty. We were in a glass dome about 500 feet in diameter. In the middle of the dome was a golden house. The house was small, maybe two bedrooms. It looked like it was built for a 60's suburb. The golden color was less gold and more brown mustard. There was a sidewalk in between two small, manicured yards and a mailbox at the end of the sidewalk.

The crowd and I stood looking at the house in confusion. The front door opened and Jesus walked out. The crowd gasped and fell prostrate as he walked to the end of the sidewalk. I, too, fell down and uncontrollably wept (this, falling at the feet of Jesus and weeping, is not an uncommon theme in my dreams). Jesus stooped down towards me, lifted my head and body with his hand, looked me in the eye, and with a slight, joyful laughter in his voice, said, "There is no need for that - I'm here now." I was overwhelmed with joy.

Immediately, as dreams do, I was on the outside of the crowd looking at others have similar experiences. Then my attention was drawn to the glass dome, or, more importantly, to the thousands of people on the outside of the dome looking in with melancholy faces. My heart broke. Soon enough I caught the face of my grandfather in the crowd outside. We looked at each other for what seemed like a long period of time with silence and stillness that spoke volumes. When all of sudden and without warning, automatic, sliding glass doors, like those at supermarkets, opened up and the outsiders flooded in with rejoicing and shouts. My grandfather and I hugged and my joy returned.

Pilgrim's Prayer

After my grandfather passed, my family spent considerable amounts of time cleaning up the house that my grandparents lived in for about 50 years. My dream begins here, in that process. In my dream my uncle Robert told me to go to my grandparents' house and take anything I wanted to have as a memento or any of my belongings that I had left there. When I first pulled up I saw this miniature 3-wheeled motorcycle near the water meter (which is not something any one in my family would have owned). I grab it and push it around the corner of the "old house" that my grandparents kept on the property. As soon as I rounded the corner, my grandmother walks over to me. And even though she had died about seven months before, in my dream I was not surprised at all. It was as if she hadn't died, which doesn't make sense to the logic of the dream as I was there to clean up the house left empty by their passing. She asked, "what are you doing with that motorcycle?"

I responded, "Robert said I could have it." As I finish the statement my grandfather walks around the corner. I am dumbfounded. He is supposed to be dead. We look at each other with the same understanding - both of us completely surprised at his standing there. We embrace and cry. My grandmother has no idea what is going on. I say, "I thought you were gone."

He tearfully looks at me and says these cryptic words, "If I have died already then don't worry about it, but if I am still lying in the hospital bed come to me and pray the Pilgrim's prayer over me." I assure him I will and the dream ends.

I love studying and reading theology and scripture, present and historical. I had never, in my conscious recollection, heard about a "Pilgrim's prayer." I knew that there probably had been many prayers for pilgrims, and, so, out of shear curiosity I decided to look it up. One of the most famous pilgrimages, still very active, is found in Spain and is called "The Way of St. James." The pilgrimage ends in the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, which is named after the Apostle James who, according to some legends, is buried there. There is an ancient prayer, the Pilgrim's Prayer, that is recited by pilgrims and reportedly offered in the Pilgrims' mass at the conclusion of the journey:

"O God, who brought your servant Abraham out of the land of the Chaldeans, protecting him in his wanderings, who guided the Hebrew people across the desert, we ask that you watch over us, your servants, as we walk in the love of your name to Santiago de Compostela.

Be for us our companion on the walk,
Our guide at the crossroads,
Our breath in our weariness,
Our protection in danger,
Our inn on the way,
Our shade in the heat,
Our light in the darkness,
Our consolation in our discouragements,
And our strength in our intentions.

So that with your guidance we may arrive safe and sound at the end of the Road and enriched with grace and virtue we return safely to our homes filled with joy.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."

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