Have you ever had a dream you felt was trying to tell you something?
I rarely remember my dreams. Unless I’m woken up in the middle of one or just at the end of one, then I can sometimes retain it in memory. Usually, I can only remember a dream for the first few moments of wakefulness, unless for some reason I keep thinking about it.
My husband and I have both had dreams in which our dead grandfathers gave us messages. One my husband had while napping on the couch in our living room. I was pregnant at the time, and we were planning on naming the child after his dead grandfather (if it was a boy). In the dream, his grandfather told him we would have a boy and we were to name him Elijah—his grandfather was very specific about both the spelling and how it should be pronounced. I guess he didn’t want our kid to be cursed with his name (which was Ray). We had a boy, and we named him Elijah.
My dreams are often very symbolic, and people in them are often symbolic representations of someone or something else. Once, a long time ago, my husband and I were having a rough spot in our marriage, mainly due to him being (at the time) a nearly impossible person to be married to. I had this really disturbing dream in which I was married to my brother and in love with an old boyfriend. Disturbing because—what the heck? Married to my brother? Having a dream about being in love with an old boyfriend was bad enough, but that took the cake.
So I kept thinking about this dream. And I realized that it was telling me something very important. My brother didn’t represent my brother, instead he represented someone who I got along with fine, but didn’t have any fireworks with. No big passion. Just someone I would feel brotherly affection for. But my old boyfriend was a guy who, when I’d dated him, had a 6-inch neon pink mohawk, carried a giant hunting knife, and while being a really sweet guy, had a lot of problems. He actually represented my husband—someone difficult, but that I was very much in love with. And I was able to recognize that I wouldn’t have been happy with someone who was easy to be married to. I needed a challenge.
The other night I had a dream that has stuck with me. I’m not sure yet what it’s trying to tell me, if anything. Often my symbolic dreams will be telling me something I don’t really want to hear. This may be one of those.
In it I was going to see a couple bands play—something I do often. They were playing at a venue with an open floor and a small balcony with seats. Since I’m short (and too old and worn out to stand the whole night), I got there early in able to get a good balcony seat. But when I got to the balcony, the seat I chose didn’t have a good view of the stage. So I moved over, looking for a better seat. I sat in one only to find that it was turned almost sideways, and I’d have to sit with my body twisted one direction for the whole show to see anything. I got up and noticed that the seats near it were also turned away from the stage, and a few were actually facing completely backwards.
I moved further along the balcony and found a seat that was facing the stage, in the front row, and sat in it. After a few moments, it struck me that I was there on the wrong night. The bands I wanted to see were actually playing the next weekend. So I asked the woman next to me if she knew who was playing. She named the bands I had come to see. When I told her I thought they were playing the next weekend instead, she told me they were doing two shows, one this weekend and one the next. I was happy, because that meant I could see them both times.
But as the show got near to starting, I looked out toward the stage and realized I could barely see anything. Either the height of the balcony or the angle of it made it hard to see the stage, or something was in the way—my view was almost entirely obstructed.
And that was it, end of dream.
So let’s say the show represents life in general. I’m trying to find my way, and I want to be able to see what’s coming next. I manage to avoid the seats that turn me in the wrong direction. I narrowly miss being at the wrong concert altogether (something my real-life absent-mindedness makes entirely possible). But when I finally find a seat that I think is a good one, it turns out I still can’t see anything.
This interpretation fits well, because there are things in my life I wish were different, and I want to know if they will be any time soon. Maybe it’s telling me that I’m going to have to wait for the second show before things become clear.
But let’s say the show represents living the gospel. I’m trying to do my best, and I’m avoiding the seats that face the wrong way, but I’m still sitting in a seat that doesn’t cut it. I’m so distracted that I’m not even sure at first if I’m at the right show. Unfortunately, in some ways this interpretation fits, too. At least there’s a second chance (a show the next weekend). I tend to think this is the meaning of the dream—I need to get my butt in gear.
Or maybe it means something completely different. Or maybe it’s just a dream with no meaning at all.
Have you ever had a significant dream?
Feel free to comment on how dreams fit into LDS theology, I’m interested in hearing takes on that as well.