Friday, February 17, 2006


The other night I had a strange dream. In my dream, I was about twenty-five years old, living at home with my parents and some other young adults. I don’t know who these young people were or what we were discussing, but at the time, it seemed perfectly normal. Our discussion was a big, stressful situation for me, and I was tired of it. I decided I would leave—I would go live somewhere else and not tell anybody what I was going to do.

So I gathered up a few things and put on my coat. My father came to the door and rapped lightly. “Come on in, Daddy,” I said, and set down my purse and bag. I was surprised to see him, even though I knew he lived there, too. He actually died in 1988, but in my dream, he was still alive although I hadn’t seen him for a long time. His presence was very real—when I woke up, it seemed as if he had really been there.

In my dream, he smiled at me with his twinkly blue eyes like he used to do. “Where you goin’?” he asked. Somehow, a calm communication took place between us, without any spoken words. He knew that I planned to just escape from this problem, turn my back on it without dealing with it. And he was disturbed about that. He wanted me to stay and finish whatever it was. Peace flowed into me, and I knew that I would do what he asked.

In the next scene of the dream, several of us were sitting around in the den with a fire in the fireplace. We were taking turns reading aloud from a book of British poetry. My father asked me to read “Cinnabar.” I opened the book to that poem and began to read. It was a poem about nobility of character. Cinnabar was a big, bright red bird that seemed to be a symbol of love and courage. That was the end of the dream.

The next morning, I looked in several books of and about English literature, and I have not yet found a poem called “Cinnabar.” I did not even know what the word meant. My new Merriam-Webster dictionary says it means a bright, scarlet red—vermillion. Hmmm. Could God be trying to tell me something?

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