In general, I put zero stock in dreams. In most cases, I think what I dream is a collection of random neurons firing as I sleep. Therefore I don’t spend much time thinking or analyzing whatever happens in my head at night.
However, there are two exceptions to this. One is a dream where you wake up and instantly know that it means something, or that it was from the Lord. For example, after each of my parents died, I had dreams that I knew were meant to be healing for me. They addressed particular pains that I was feeling at the time, and I woke up without a single doubt that it was for that purpose.
The other exception is the recurring dream. Every once in a while, I’ll have a dream or a theme of dreams that comes and stays for a while. While I think the particulars of these types of dreams are usually quite random, the fact that the theme or feeling is the same signals to me that something is taking up a lot of my brain energy, even if it’s subconscious.
Recently, I’ve been having what I’d call “grief dreams”. In these dreams, I am experiencing profound sadness over the loss of one or both of my parents, in a variety of situations. Sometimes I am talking to others about it, sometimes I am just so sad it feels like I can’t breathe.
This was disconcerting to me at first because, during my waking hours, I was feeling very little of this. Grief is just that way – you get to a point where you’re simply not conscious of it every moment of the day. If you asked me whether I was sad to lose my parents, my response would be “of course… are you some sort of idiot?” But I don’t live in constant sadness – I am not in continual awareness of the grief.
When these dreams became a regular occurrence, I took note. I rarely consciously repress my sadness or grief, but I knew that it must be happening in order for my mind to seek this outlet. I began paying more attention to my feelings during the day and allow myself to simply be still and feel.
What I found is that I am still really sad. Maybe more than I admit or let on. As the birth gets closer, I’ve had many moments where I am once again mourning how my parents will never get to meet her and wishing so badly that my mom could be with me as I shop for nursery and baby stuff.
I am thankful for the wake-up call that I think those dreams gave me. I need to be intentional about not repressing any sort of sadness that I might feel as these emotions and situations come up, in order to continue to grieve in a healthy way. I don’t want to quench the work the Lord wants to do in my life, even if it’s through pain.