Dispatch from Lexington Theological Seminary
4:15 a.m. August 27, 2008
Well, I woke from one of those stress dreams that are filled with anxiety and emotions. The good thing about these dreams are that they assist me in identifying where I am emotionally.
In this stress dream, I was struggling to stay awake in a class and, of course I was being called upon to speak. In the dream I was suddenly realizing that this class had been going on for weeks and I had missed all the previous sessions because I had somehow missed the announcement of when class began. “Speak! Speak!” the professor said. I literally spoke, talking in my sleep, and woke myself.
So, what does this dream tell me about myself and how I am feeling emotionally? We don’t need Freudian dream therapists to answer this one. It has been twenty-years since I have been on the receiving side of the teacher’s desk. It has been twenty-years since I have been responsible for taking notes, taking tests, and taking in massive quantities of textbooks on a timetable.
So, yeah, I’m a little unnerved. My younger friends may not fully appreciate that what frightens me the most is the nagging fear that Father Times’ dirty trick of slower data retrieval (and I don’t mean on my laptop) than when I was in my twenties and thirties may embarrass me. I sometimes feel like I am living in a temporal bubble that is about fifty-five minutes delayed from the timeline that is dominant on this planet. For you non-science fiction types, that means I get the epiphany fifty-five minutes later than the people around me.
Now before y’all rush to make me feel better, please don’t. I need empathy not solutions. I need to name this fear, this anxiety, and read my constant companion, Luke 12: 22-34:
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? Luke 12: 25 NRSV
Curiously, this passage was part of my daily lectionary reading yesterday as was Exodus 12: 28-51. In Exodus, this verse flashed neon for me yesterday:
All of the Israelites did just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron. Exodus 12: 50 NRSV
So, here I am as my God has commanded. Here I am settling into my four-day a week home for the next three years, settling into my new challenge, awaiting orientation tomorrow and my first class on Tuesday. Our God has called me and I am here as irrational, as frightening, and as crazy as this seems to the secular culture. And I know that the God who has provided me with that which I need throughout the first forty-nine years will continue to do so.
I may, however, add a little ginseng to my ginkgo biloba dose. That is the one that goes with ginkgo for memory, isn’t it? I don’t remember.