Tue, Feb 1, 2011
I had a dream last night that I stole people’s shoes at the park. Well, I would steal one shoe and leave the other so when they went looking for their shoes they would only find one, and then spend time searching for the other only to blame a robust squirrel or passing dog for the heist.
I also dreamed that at the gas station, next to the park, where I was watching the aftermath of my caper unfold, I would somehow cause the drivers to douse their backseat with gasoline as they handled the nozzle, which I thought was funny.
No, not funny-HORRIBLE. How horrible that my treasured sleeping hours (I don’t sleep much) were spent terrorizing innocent people.
I woke up with dream remorse. I felt so guilty about what I did in my dream that my stomach hurt. I couldn’t separate dream from reality and I still feel a little uneasy. I think it is because I have a few real life capers in my past that, sort of, parallel my dreams. And the guilt from these capers still reside in my brains “you suck” compartment. And I have, apparently, yet to let them go considering last nights dreamapolooza.
Real Life Guilty Caper #1- I never stole anyone shoes or anyone’s shoe, for that matter, but I did “borrow” a woman’s sweater that I never returned. I was at a Jimmy Buffet Concert and as it became night, it got cold. I was freezing. I saw a woman’s sweater strewn across a chair and I figured I would just borrow it until she came back to her seat. Then I would either, graciously slip it off in thanks to her for her involuntary offering, or I would stealth-like slip it back on her chair so she would not notice.
I don’t know if it was too many choruses of Margaritaville or too many margaritas, but I forgot to return the sweater. Totally forgot. I did not remember until we were half way home. I felt awful and immediately donated the sweater to the Goodwill because I didn’t want to have the contraband in my house, screaming of my offense every time I looked at it.
Real Life Guilty Caper #2- I was an innocent bystander who became an accomplice when a friend of mine was getting gas and forgot to put the nozzle and hose back into the nozzle and hose holder before she drove off. We were talking while she pumped the gas, and when the pump clicked at full we were still mid story, and somehow she thought she had put the nozzle back but didn’t. She drove off with it attached and pulled the hose right out of the pump. Here is where the guilt and accomplice-ness comes into play. We didn’t go back. We freaked out and drove off with the hose hanging from the side of her car.
Yes, the similarity to my dream is very little and other than taking place at a gas station, there’s not much more to compare. I think the only laughing we did that day was nervous “THAT did NOT just happen” laughing. But I did recall this and the sweater caper after waking today, so they may have more parallels than I am willing to admit.
Could my dreams last night have been residual guilt from infractions committed 20 years ago? I am not a hoarder, but man, I hang onto guilt like it’s gonna make me money someday.
I know the bible says tons about letting go of past sins now that Christ has covered them and by revisiting them for purposes of self deprecation we are sinning. But I read Ezekiel this morning:
“If a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.” Ezekiel 18:21 Okay, we know that, check. In the NT-to the woman caught in adultery, “Go sin no more.” Got it, turn from your sin and be saved. I’m extremely sorry for my actions and I have not replicated them since, so I’m good, right?
So why the visit from the “Ghost of Capers Past” last night?
But then Ezekiel goes on in verse 31:
“Rid yourself of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.”
God does not call us to completely forget what we have done. He does not call us to remember and lament or hang onto the sin but to look back as a way to restructure our lives and our character (heart and spirit) and in restructuring we get rid of the guilt.
How do we restructure? Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” has it all covered. Read it.
New heart, new spirit-no guilt. I like that. Don’t get me wrong, it will take work. But it will be nice to let go of capers #3, #4 and #5 before I have to dream and share those too. I still have a visible scar from #3 and #4 was a doosey!