The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. – The 23rd Psalm KJV
It was almost three am on a summer night in 2007. I had been in a deep, almost hopeless depression, for some time and was up frequently at night then, worrying about problems I felt unable to solve.
On this particular night, for what I had been browsing online articles on religion and stumbled onto a bible passage I remembered. It was the 23rd Psalm. A passage that I had once said every night before I went sleep.
I recited the old favorite psalm out loud right there over my computer and then I set aside my laptop and drifted off to sleep.
I woke up the next morning with a sense of excitement I hadn’t felt in a long time. Reaching for my laptop, I captured my journey through the night as quickly as I could.
As the dream opens I’m approaching a big hospital. I’m working as a nurse again and this is first day of a new job and I’m not sure where to go (a common problem in many similar dreams). I go to several outside doors and find them locked. Finally at the last door I find an elderly woman on the ground in severe pain. She tells me that she has had two difficult surgeries in the last few months and that she will die before she goes back in the hospital again.
I don’t know what to do or say, so I go in through the door. I’m looking for the emergency room and at first I am lost. After asking for (and not understanding) directions (another common work dream problem) I wander onto an elevator. There is a young doctor in a brilliant white coat inside the elevator. I tell him what has happened and he gets off and goes with me to see the woman and her relatives, who are there with her. He tells them that she doesn’t have to come into the hospital if she doesn’t want to and they take her away.
I am at a brightly lit a nurse’s station. I have the feeling that I’ve been working here for some time. And that there are no bad feeling associated with that (which has never happened to me in dreams about nursing or in my nursing career in general). The young doctor is at the station too, looking at charts. After a moment he stops and says that he has to move away soon and that he needs to learn the route by traveling it. He suggests that we all need time away from our work and that we should go on an adventure together.
We take two cars. There is an odd assortment of women (presumably nurses). One is very beautiful. Her eyes are a bright vivid blue and her face is high-boned and delicate. She wears a layered gown of shimmering blue silk and I find her very exotic. Around her neck hangs a deep blue sapphire necklace and some of the bluest lapis I have ever seen.
There is an older women, as well. She looks like a woman I know in real life. She is sweet and lost and seemingly lonely just like her real life counterpart. There are several other women, one is young and withdrawn; the others have already faded.
As it turns out this is a journey of discovery. There are moments of awkwardness because I don’t know anyone well but there are other moments almost of bliss.
We are on a train and I spend time alone. I am sitting in a day car with many windows. The car is rushing through a sunny countryside though I am more aware of the streaming sun than I am the scenery. As I sit, an idea for a book overtakes me. The images and characters and dialogue are vivid. And they stream through my mind so quickly it is all I can do to write them down. The story is about a man involved with two women. One is young and beautiful, but she is also married and in the end he chooses the one who is unencumbered. The manuscript flashes by from beginning to end. Somehow I capture it.
A lot of different things happen. Sometimes we’re on the train and sometimes it seems that we have disembarked along our way. We are in a jewelry store. I see many lovely things. I want to buy a small locket depicted a traditionally Catholic guardian angel with children but it’s small and drab – nothing like the beautiful pieces worn by the woman in blue. I sense that it is all that is available to me but do not have enough money to buy anything. In another scene, the women and I decide to swap clothing. I have a single article of clothing I’m proud of – some sort of gold and red top. I offer it to the women in blue and she accepts it.
It seems that we have arrived at university or school. The woman in blue shows me a sort of screen that is not a television but a bright flowing blue divided into many different shades which appear as if pressed between two panes of clear glass. The screen swivels like an old fashioned chalkboard and the many shades of blue swirl together in changing breathtaking patterns. It is vividly blue and has a shine to it that is almost metallic. It reminds me of a sand art item I saw once in a variety store but much, much better. Its beauty and the range of colors are incredible.
The women and I are together in a classroom. A book review or lecture is being delivered. A man is showing us pictures from a book he has written. At first the content seems Buddhist and then it’s something else, but I don’t remember clearly just how it is different. We’re all moved by his presentation and find it very inspiring. For some reason we know all about him and are surprised he’s become so spiritual. It seems that he was famous in some way earlier in life and that he had a bad reputation in public life.
Then I am outside with the young doctor. He asks me about my parents and I tell him something. briefly without going into detail. He letters a sort of monument to my father (in cobalt blue). He invites me to letter the one for my mother myself but his lettering is perfect and I have terrible handwriting (in dreams and in life). So I ask him to do it for me and he does. The monument only has my parent’s names. Or I think it does because I don’t recognize the characters or letters. The monument includes no information about who they were or what they did. But it seems complete as is.
My mother’s monument transforms into an ornament made out of clear glass with deep blue lettering. I know that I’m supposed to hang it in a tree at our family homestead and all at once I am there. It’s not the big main farmhouse my mother grew up but something similar to the smaller house that she lived in before my grandfather inherited the farm. There is something about the tree having been cut back in preparation. I hang the ornament on a branch and leave.
I find myself back on the train and discover an old book. The cover is a work of art – old fashioned, intricate, tooled leather. It is dusty and a bit worse for wear but still handsome. I’m very impressed with it. I open it and see I have written it. I’m surprised but, at the same time, I remember.
Finally, we’re at the end of our journey. We sit at a big table and talk about how we have changed. I’m wearing a sparkling red ruby bracelet. We decide that we should exchange jewelry as souvenirs of our trip.
I don’t want to give up my bracelet but I offer it anyway, secretly hope that the blue women will offer me some of her lapis. Instead she gives her jewelry to the older women (who has nothing to offer her in return). I feel disappointed but understand that this is the right thing to do. Although my desire for the beautiful blue gemstones is strong there is no associated envy or bitterness. I feel strongly that all is as it should be.
The young doctor thanks us and tells us that he now knows the route he should take to his new home. He does not return to the hospital and I am not sure if the women return either. I have a sense of parting. It is bittersweet but I know it feels right and I have no regrets.
Finally I am back at the hospital. Someone is holding a funeral for the women who was lying in pain just outside of the door when I first arrived. The funeral is being held on the other side of the large parking lot. It is far away, at the edge of the lot, but I can see a seated effigy draped in red and understand that this effigy represents the women who has died.
I am now inside the hospital. A patient on the floor where I work has passed and I remember that he was the man who taught us when we were away. I know his history so I’m not surprised that he died alone. I’m not sad about it either because I remember his lecture and know that he was at peace.
As I am leaving his room or perhaps the floor, a young girl comes in and asks for the man. She says that she is his granddaughter and I tell her he is gone. Surprisingly, I find the right words. I tell her that it’s alright, that he has changed and for some reason her tears are cathartic for both of us. We leave the hospital together and I have the feeling that everything has come full circle.
This dream is too long to unpack here. But I will say, that it was prophetic. And that I don’t think it was a coincidence that the 23rd Psalm (which can describe our walk with God) preceded it. I would also like to say that when I talk about one of my dreams or experiences being prophetic, I’m talking personal prophecy. Not prophecy for others.
So why the question mark in the title?
The truth is that I have gone back and forth on this dream a lot and am still trying to decide what it was and why I received it. As always comments are welcome!
For more on dreams, please see Dreams As A Gift From God.