Last night I had one of those dreams that is more than a dream. It began with me standing in a crowd waiting for a subway train. The train station was both familiar and odd. My subconscious created a blend of a modern station in Boston or New York and something that would be more at home in Harry Potter or Star Wars. The crowd pushing in on me from all directions was made up of every kind of person and more than a few who were not exactly human.
This crowd was anxious and grumbling and wanted me to explain why the train was late and how I expected everyone to fit on said train when it arrived. While they expected me to answer them, they didn’t give me an opportunity. The pushed and shoved and spoke in more languages than I could imagine. There was nothing between them and me, and I started to be concerned about safety, mine and some other smaller creatures within this straining group.
Out of nowhere (as can only happen in dreams), someone strong grabbed my hand and said, “Come away with me to a quiet place.” Not liking the crowd and not knowing what train I was waiting for or why, I happily allowed this stranger to pull me through the crowd. It seemed that I was guided through the unhappy crowd for hours. And then it was gone.
My companion had brought us to a beach that stretched for miles to our left and to our right. Out in front of us the ocean reached to the horizon with Caribbean blue waters. I took a breath so deep that I floated up off the ground, tethered only by the hand that still held mine. Letting out the breath, I slowly sank back down to the sand, like a leaf fluttering in a gentle breeze.
“Breathe,” said a voice that was in my head and all around me. “Breathe in and out and be still. You know that I am and you are and all shall be well.” This strange statement seemed perfectly normal and I did what I was told. I kept breathing deeply, floating up and down to the rhythm of the waves.
As I breathed, tears flowed down my cheeks in tiny rivers to the sea. “Why am I crying?” I asked in bewilderment.
“You cry because you know we are all one. You know what others do not. More importantly, you care. You want to change the world to be as beautiful and peaceful and just as it was intended to be. You cry because you cannot change what doesn’t know it needs to be changed. You cannot change fear into love. You cannot convince anyone that there is enough of all that is to meet the needs of all. You see what is meant to be, what yearns to be, what might never be. You cry because you are tired and in need of rest. You cry because there is so little time for rest. You cry because you forget to come here, come to me, come away when the crowd pushes in on you.”
The next thing I knew we were flying high above the earth and hearing the cries of all the people who needed food, shelter, medical attention, safety, hope, help, community, faith, and so much more. The voices were both distant and insistent. I turned to my companion only to find myself alone in the sky with the earth growing closer. Before fear could take root, I heard the voice call in me and around me once again.
“They are you. You are them. I am with you. I am with them. I am with all. You are mine. They are mine. They are yours. Find your place in the crowd. Do all that you can.”
I felt exhaustion reaching for me as the clamoring of the earth grew louder. “Remember to breathe. I am the Breath of Life. I am enough to sustain life, even yours. And remember to come away with me every now and then. Come away and be still and remember what you know. I am in the crowd but I am easier to find in the deserted places.”
The whispers of “Come away” became the cries of sea birds as I came to myself in the sun-warmed sand where I stayed to watch the ocean flow and breathe… just breathe.
RCL – Year B – Ninth Sunday after Pentecost – July 22, 2018
2 Samuel 7:1-14a with Psalm 89:20-37 or
Jeremiah 23:1-6 with Psalm 23
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56