this has the potential to be a very long post, so just hang with me.
or don’t. it doesn’t really matter to me. i’ve got to write this down anyway. i’ve got to put it out there, send it out into the great wide cyberspace – because an amazing, not yet completely understandable gift has been given to me. and writing this post is helping me to understand why i have received this gift and what it means. and i must pay it forward in some way. right now. because i’m overwhelmed. so, here goes…
last night i had a dream.
and when i woke up this morning, i remembered it clearly. i usually know when i’ve been dreaming during the night, but i almost ever remember my dreams. this morning was different. way different.
my eyes popped open about 7am and i lay in bed feeling like i’d been somewhere during the night. i had to reorient myself, because i was a bit confused. i had to realize that i had been asleep, and therefore, obviously dreaming. i had not actually been anywhere. then the details began to come to me… i had been to a mountain in my dreams. but not just any mountain. it was a specific mountain. mt. rainier near seattle, washington.
when i remembered it was mt. rainier, i wondered why in the hell i dreamed about that specific mountain. i’ve never been there in real life – i’ve driven by it & seen it from a distance, but that’s about it. in fact, i’ve never given that mountain a second thought, never desired to go there, never had any connection to it. so why? why did i dream about that specific mountain?
in my dream, i talked with someone about the fact that, though the mountain was 14,000 feet high, we wouldn’t hike all 14,000 ft because we were already at 8,000 ft in the parking lot at the base of the mountain. by, the way, i had no idea if those heights were correct, i just made them up in my dream. then, suddenly, in my dream, i was climbing the mountain. walking on a path winding through trees and over rocks, leaves crunching under my feet. and i was following, or walking with, my parents. we turned off the trail at one point and found a sort of outdoor cafe. we stopped, but i was eager to continue, so i headed back to the trail.
and that’s all i remember. i don’t know if i kept dreaming, or sleeping, or if i woke up then.
but, early this morning, as i recalled the dream, i kept asking myself “why?” why a dream about a mountain? why this specific mountain? what did it mean? did it mean anything? in my soul, i knew it had to mean something, but then i second-guessed myself – maybe it was only a random dream. still, something inside knew it was more.
so, being the nerd that i am, i continued to lay in my bed, my love sleeping peacefully beside me, and i grabbed my phone to do some research.
i typed in “mt. ranier” and discovered that it is the highest peak in the US (13,000 ft. – i was close. hehe), and that before it was discovered by us white folk, it was known as Tacoma or Tahoma to the Native Americans, meaning mountain of God and she who gives water/life. i kept wondering what all this meant to my life, fighting with myself about making this more than it was. and then, i wondered to myself what it would be like if my little message from the universe, which appears in my inbox every morning, mentioned something about mountains. then, i would know for sure that there was a deeper meaning to my dream, that there is a message from God, from the universe, to me. i’d know that all of these connections were meant to be… but, there is no way that would happen.
a little background info: depending on how well you know me, you may or may not know that mountains are quite symbolic in my life – another reason why a dream about a mountain meant so much, or that it might possibly have some meaning to it.
first of all, mountains have been part of my life as long as i can remember as a place to get away, to connect, to retreat. the north carolina mountains have given me tons of amazing experiences. they have been a place of transformation, growth, and spirituality throughout my life. when i climb a mountain, i feel like i can breathe, i feel free. i feel as if i am connected to what truly matters. i had the joy of living in the nc mountains for 10ish years, accessing the beautiful nature, hiking, rafting rivers, and just generally soaking up the mountain way of life.
also, when i was in seminary studying theology, i had to take a preaching class. something that terrified the begeezes out of me. i had to write a sermon, deliver it to my class, and then deliver it to the entire school. at that time, preaching freaked the heck out of me. when i received my passage from the bible to use as my theme, guess what it was about? you got it…. a mountain. it was a passage about jesus going up on a mountain and experiencing a transforming moment. i knew in my soul that this would be a really tough assignment for me (which it was), but that there was purpose behind it.
just so you know, my sermon turned out great, but i went 2 minutes over the allotted time and my professor ripped me apart in front of my entire class. he never said one positive thing about my sermon. i was literally devastated. i felt like a failure – something i don’t handle well.
in the end, the whole process of my preaching class was actually like climbing a mountain – painful, a struggle, testing my limits, seemingly never-ending, with some beautiful views along the way; but more than anything, a fight to the top. however, once i reached the summit, everything became clear, the journey was worth it because of the amazing view from the top.
every now & then, the mention of mountains serves as a symbol and a concrete reminder for me to keep going, but more importantly, that transformation, a new understanding lies ahead.
so, why this dream? why now? does it mean anything, or was it just a dream? it was just so hard to dismiss it…
when lina woke up, i mentioned the dream about the mountain to her, telling her the details and expressing my insecurities of whether it means something or not. and then, we went on with our morning. breakfast. the news. discussing our plans. doing practical things.
i decided it was time to get my computer out and follow the advice of a blog reader to do some research on following my dream to do freelance work. as i opened my computer, i noticed outside that the sky was really gray, and it was fairly dark in the apartment. i thought it’d be cozy to light a candle – a random decision – i couldn’t put my finger on it, but something felt sacred about this regular, everyday moment.
it was 10:17am. i lit the candle. and sat down in front of my computer. beside me on the sofa lay my phone, on mute. (my heart is pounding as i write this now). i just happened to glance at my phone and saw that i got an email at precisely that moment. i only saw the first two lines of the email, but it said this:
From: The Universe Re: A Note from the Universe “If you knew of a spectacular mountain that was very, very tall…”
i freaked out. i was shaking. i called out to lina & frantically, excitedly explained that my daily message from the universe was, in fact, about a mountain.
no words. this. feels. huge. a direct message to me. no doubts. meant. to. be. amazed. breathless. unbelievable.
after catching my breath, i read the entire email:
If you knew of a spectacular mountain that was very, very tall, yet climbable. And if it was well established that from its peak, you could literally see all the love that bathes the world, dance with the angels, and party with the gods. Would you curse or celebrate each step you took as you ascended it?
Liz, life is that mountain and each day a step.
Perspectives change everything,
i took a few deep breaths, closed my eyes to soak in the moment & thank God, and then grabbed my journal to begin writing this.
i’m still in shock, but i’m gonna reread the message several times, meditate, and let it sink into me. no need to figure out all of the meanings right now. no need to hurry. i don’t think i’d be able to figure it out right now anyway… there are so many questions, symbols, signs, meanings.
i’m working at the church tonight – like every tuesday night. it’s the night of the week that we open the church for anybody who just wants to come in and sit… to just pray, meditate, and just be. at 6:30 i will open the church doors, play meditative music in the sanctuary, light candles, and create an environment of contemplation. then, i will sit there in silence myself, for an hour and a half – reflecting on what all this means, what God is saying to me right now. how i am being inspired and challenged and encouraged.
thank you, universe, for this gift. thank you, holy one, for speaking to my soul. i am in awe.