When we first learned that the corona virus was attacking the citizens of the United States, I began to experience dreams each night. Not just one dream each night but a series of dreams – and they always had the same cast of characters. It was almost as though my sleep time each night became a series marathon.
Many times the dreams were populated by people I had not seen for many years, or even people who have left this world. Were they trying to send me a message while I was asleep? I’d like to be able to analyze and comment on most of these dreams. But while I would usually wake up with a start from each dream, the next morning I couldn’t even remember the details.
That changed with one dream I had a few weeks ago. It was a really odd dream that has stuck with me for the past few weeks. In the dream I was returning from a flight overseas. I came off the jetway and began a long walk past all of the gates in the terminal. I eventually got to the part of the airport that was beyond security. Then I began to hear my name being paged on the intercom system. The page said that I needed to return to the gate to pick up a cell phone that I had left on the plane. I looked in my purse and much to my horror, my phone was not inside. The page also indicated that the plane I left it on would soon leave on the next leg of its flight. The page made it clear I needed to retrieve my phone before that happened.
Yikes – I needed to return to the gate quickly! This is where reality failed to sink in. Why would it make a difference if the plane was leaving, as they could just keep my phone at the gate desk? It's not like my phone had it’s own ticketed seat on the plane and was getting ready to board the flight again. But no one ever accused dreams of being logical.
I turned around and ran through the airport. I’m not sure how I got past security – somehow the security screeners disappeared and I was just running and running. Now I am about to show my age. My sprint through the airport was reminiscent of the 1970’s commercial for Hertz Rental car that featured OJ Simpson running through the airport in a business suit. I was running at that same speed, without stopping - running past gates, and more gates and more gates. It seemed like I was running forever. I finally made it to the gate.
I explained who I was and one of the gate agents handed me the phone. Once again, another point where my dream deviated from current day reality. No one would ever hand over a cell phone with lots of data on it because someone said – “Hi, that’s my cell phone.” You would have to produce probably a driver’s license or a passport or something to prove that you were the owner of the phone.
As I was thanking the gate agent for getting my phone back into my hands, a familiar person walked past me to board the plane. The attendant said: That is your brother, and I agreed. I have no clue why she thought it was my brother, nor do I have any clue why I agreed. Because in fact, when I looked closer at the person, I decided he was not my either one of my brothers.
I said to the gate agent: “That’s not my brother. But the great thing is that I ran all the way through the airport to this gate without stopping, and I have heart failure! Isn’t that wonderful?” The gate agent agreed with me. Again, another unrealistic part of the dream. The gate agent would be way too busy to have an idle chat with a passenger at this point in the boarding process of the flight. She’d be checking more boarding passes, printing out reports, and calling the next class of passengers to board the plane. She definitely would have been trying to find something else to occupy her attention so she would not have to listen to me chatter on about my health and God knows what else.
I kept returning to this dream over the next two weeks. Several years ago, I read a book on dream interpretation several years ago. I have written about the interpretation of my dreams in a few posts about my dreams. But I was a bit rusty on the subject. I decided to update my knowledge of dream interpretation.
I came across an August 2019 article on the Huffington Post website by Kristin Lesko entitled: “Dreams Often Have Meaning. Here’s How to Interpret them.” Two things stuck with me from that article. The first was this:
But I have remembered this dream in detail even though several weeks have passed. This causes me to continue to ask the question: Why is this dream embedded in my memory? Is my subconscious sending me a message – and if so, what is the message?
The ending paragraph of the article was entitled “Dreams Show the Possibilities, not the answers.” Lisa Medalie, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago said:
So what was I not managing well during the pandemic. Of course it was more anxiety - this time the anxiety of whether getting the virus might be harder on me because of my heart failure. This was a question I could not escape because the medical experts continually refer to the hardships on patients with pre-existing chronic conditions and co-morbidities. I have even heard references to people with chronic congestive heart failure!
The only way to make it through this pandemic with any sanity left was to stop myself from worrying about whether I would get the virus, and whether I was taking all the right precautions. God knows, and I mean he really does know, I am doing the best that I can. But wouldn’t it be great if my subconscious or God or anyone for that matter would give me blueprint for how to exist in and successfully survive, the pandemic era?
Well, maybe that’s a detailed blueprint isn't the goal of the dream. Maybe the dream is meant to engage my ability to figure out things on my own and find strength in myself – with some gentle divine nudges. On this point, the article says:
Thinking back on my time with heart failure, I realized I have been praying for God to help me discern what it is I am to be doing with my life. The answer I came up with was using my experiences to show how faith helps you endure any crisis, and even to achieve personal growth. Writing a blog to reach others with heart failure or chronic illnesses was a first step. Starting a chronic illness support group was another option God led me to, and I continued to look for other ways to demonstrate the power of faith in the midst of a health crisis. Then the corona virus epidemic erupted in this country. With it I experienced anxiety that I would be made to leave this earth before I had finished the work God had led me to perform.
It is my opinion that the dream is God’s way of helping me deal with my anxiety so I can get back on track. He is also helping me see that I have not just the skills but the strength to move forward not only with the tasks that I have started, but to find many other tasks that will help me perform his will. The dream opened up many new possibilities by highlighting the stamina I currently possess. I may not be running through airports ala OJ Simpson, but I am walking faster and up steeper inclines and with more stamina than at any time during the past 7 years. That has to not only count for something – it also has to fuel something. And that something is my desire to show that my faith has made the difference in dealing with challenges, in a constructive, realistic and giving way.
The moral of my dream? There is no need to panic and there is every reason to praise God for the blessing of life. Having reached this conclusion, I now beg to differ with the article. God has given me the answer - to manage my pandemic anxiety, and that answer will help me achieve the possibilities. Yet another blessing!
Melanie discovered that she had heart failure in 2013. She spent the next 7 years learning how to live with the condition, and how to achieve balance and personal growth. Then in October 2020, she received a heart transplant. This blog is about her journey of the heart.