I had a dream about my junior high school. My nightmare started with me hurrying back from lunch, afraid I’d be late. When I arrived, I couldn’t remember where to go. I stood confused in front of the old three-story brick building.
What was my next class, I wondered as my heart raced? I struggled to remember the day of the week. I decided it was Monday, so I struggled to remember my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes. But in junior high and high school, I had the same courses five days a week. It wasn’t until college, they varied by day, so this dream-logic was absurd.
So I reasoned, if I entered the building, I might know someone to remind me where to go. Upon entering the first floor, I saw teenagers rushing to their classes trying to beat the bell, but I didn’t recognize anyone. So, I walked up to the second floor. By then, the halls were empty except for an occasional straggler running to their classroom. I still didn’t spot anyone to help me and my stomach knotted.
Then I decided there might be a class schedule in my locker. No matter how I concentrated, I couldn’t remember where it was. How could I forget it was on the third floor, the most inconvenient place possible? Even if I had found it, I wouldn’t remember the combination. Even awake, I can’t remember my junior high locker combination.
I gave up and headed to the office for help. The office in Jefferson Junior High was on the second floor, but it wasn’t there in my dream. I roamed the halls unable to find it. I panicked as I peered in one door after another. It made no sense. I should have located the office because I’d been there a few times for my behavior. In those days the principal had a wooden paddle on his desk, so my recollection should have been accurate.
It’s been fifty years since I was in the school building, but none of this seemed odd in my dream. I was a student again experiencing an early adolescent fear. My breathing and heart rate raced as I felt confusion and panic. Wow, what a relief to awaken!
My feelings in my dream are my mother’s real life with dementia. She goes to bed at 9:00 p.m. but gets up around 10:30 to go to the bathroom. Then, she asks if it’s time to get up, yet. She’s confused about time and places and thinks she’s living in her home in the Midwest instead of my house in Florida.
Mom doesn’t call people by their name because she can’t remember. Sometimes, she states my name if asked, but other times not. As in my dream, she doesn’t recollect anyone. I’m not sure she experiences panic, but she may react with anger, which can result from confusion.
Unlike me, she won’t wake from her dream. She must endure the confusion for the rest of her days. Maybe God gave me a nightmare to help me understand, or was it the pizza I had for a bedtime snack? Either way, I’m glad I had the experience. The dream helps me be more compassionate as I care for my mother.
“And it shall be in the last days,” God said, “I will pour forth my Spirit on all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” ACTS 2:17 NASB
© Copyright Ronald Milburn 2018