a message of hope inside my very bad dream

Posted: February 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Facebook is full of garbage but woven in, there are also things posted that are beautiful, interesting, informative, or  convicting.  I caught a link there recently that showed mug shots from drug-related arrests taken in a specific county.  There were 2 mug shots for each person, one from an earlier arrest, and one from an arrest later – perhaps just months, perhaps years later.  The mug shots showed in devastating clarity the effects of drug use – faces grew thin, sallow, sunken, covered in sores, eyes bulging and the hope and light dying out of them.  We’ve all known an old druggie burnout at one point or another, right?  I’ve often wondered why the appearance factor alone doesn’t stop more people from abusing drugs, but then again, that would require forward thinking, and addiction is all about this minute and nothing else counts. 

I went through all the pictures, sadder by the minute just witnessing lives dying away in front of the camera.  That was hard enough in itself; what made it harder was I kept thinking of kids I used to work with who lived on the drug scene.  I kept wondering how some of those kids look – if they are still using, whether their faces yet manifest the awful evidence of the poison they ingest so relentlessly.  My prayers for those kids were more fresh and earnest than they had been in awhile – being away from that scene had kind of let me get comfortable, you know?  So I was grateful for the reminder to not back up from that intercession for those souls who mean so much to me.

A few nights later, I had a truly awful dream, in which I was an addict.  What you have to understand here is I have NEVER, not even once in my life, tried an illegal drug.  Though I have spent a lot of time with people who do and even a lot of time around people who were high, I have never even been present when anyone was in the act of using.

The dream was horrifying.  I was acting out in the ways addicts will (too terrible to even write down) and at the end of the dream, I stood in front of  a mirror, overcome as I saw my changed face – sunken, sallow, and covered in sores.  It was a frighteningly real dream, so much so that I am STILL upset every time I remember the awful realization that my life was out of control and that although I had thought it was in secret, everybody already knew by the condition of my face.  The acting out that I can’t even write down wasn’t half as bad as the feeling of being caught, trapped, exposed, and seeing no way of escape. 

I told Gary about it when I woke up, but only a little bit – it was too terrible to touch.  I just wanted to put it behind me – just use it as a prayer reminder and let the memory of those emotions somehow leave me. 

But it hasn’t left.  It keeps stirring back up, upsetting me every time.

Yesterday during some very intense prayer, the Lord showed me that this is truly our condition before Him.  We might walk around seeming like all is well, and most might buy it.  We can keep our unpleasant secret thoughts just that – secret.  We don’t have to SPEAK the baloney (negative thoughts, criticisms we have no right to make, judgment, our feeling of entitlement to have the world and everyone around us function as we believe they should, rage, etc.) that runs through our heads, and many of us are civilized enough to keep it safely away from exposure. 

 But:  HE SEES IT ALL, and it is just as ugly as the awful physical effects I have described above.  He’s not fooled by our civility, good manners, decent behavior, and pretense that we’d never think some of the stuff that we think.   

And then, just when the news is so bad you can hardly stand it, comes the good part:  He sees and loves us JUST AS WE ARE.  He knows all the ugly and still finds us beautiful.  He hears all the garbage and still wants to talk with us, to draw us near, to grow us in ways we lack the imagination to even begin to envision. 

Does that just wreck you?  It does me.  In the best possible way.  THAT is the redeeming thing that keeps the remembering of that dreamed mirror moment from casting a pall on my day.  That, and that alone. 

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