Monday, February 14, 2022


 A few nights ago I had a dream. I try to pay attention to dreams, partly because they're a way for me to know what's going on deep down inside me that my psyche is trying to process. Also I believe that God uses dreams (sometimes) to communicate with us. So I try to pay attention.

In this dream, I hatched out a tyrannosaurus egg. It was about the size of a grapefruit, and the little monster that hatched out was awkwardly cute and voraciously hungry and determined to chew. He chewed on drywall and old shoes and bits of granite. He took everyday objects and chewed them up into unrecognizable bits of shrapnel. And he grew really, really fast. 

I realized in the dream that I never thought he would hatch alive. And in the dream I had taken on this crazy project knowing that it probably wouldn't work, but it seemed cool at the time. So now that I had a growing dinosaur to manage, I didn't know quite how to deal with it. For anyone who has seen Jurassic Park, you know that there are huge ethical issues (not to mention safety issues) with hatching dinosaurs. In the dream I figured I had to find a realistic way of euthanizing my tyrannosaurus. 

But not yet. 

Meanwhile, people who came to my place as house guests were fascinated and horrified. People who brought their pet dogs over found the dogs laser focused and depending on the dog, terrorized. My friends, visiting in my home, would show me chewed bits of drywall they'd found in my place. One asked, "You ever worry about losing fingers with that thing around?" The little tyrannosaur kept getting bigger. By the end of the dream he was almost the size of a black lab, and he pretty much had the run of my house. My life had shifted to make room for a predatory dinosaur. And I still didn't quite know what to do with him. 

Like all dreams, this one ended. I woke up. The dream didn't feel fearful or icky the way they sometimes do. I found myself wondering about it. I remembered (as you can tell) a ton of detail. Usually remembering the details of dreams with any kind of clarity is a sign to pay attention. 

So I've thought about that dream a lot. 

Things are not quite this simple, but here's the bottom line of my reflections. My whole life these days feels a little like hatching a tyrannosaurus. Most of this I've chosen, like I chose to hatch the little mongrel out in the dream. Some of my current circumstances started out from unpleasant things I didn't choose, like being asked to resign from my most recent church job and not being given a good reason why. That one stumped me for a long time, but I was confident God was working in the details. Turns out that was true. (It always is, because God is good like that.) 

In the aftermath of that unpleasant transition, I did make some choices. I chose to take a job in an industry that was entirely new to me, where the learning curve would be incredibly steep. I chose to live on the 40 acres I'd bought a few months previously. I chose to move out here almost a year ago at the end of March, moving into a camper rather than doing something sensible like renting a place with flushable toilets (or any toilets) and running water. Then I chose to buy a very well used trailer house. Serious fixer-upper. I chose to do most of the fixer-upper work myself (with the help of some incredible friends) rather than hiring someone else to do it. Leveling. Wiring. Plumbing. Wall repair. Floor repair. Toilet replacement. Fixer. Upper. 

In all of that, I have felt most days like I'm bottle-feeding a tyrannosaurus. So to speak. (Yes, I know that in all probability dinosaurs didn't nurse. It's a metaphor. Roll with it. And for the literal-minded and inordinately curious out there, the dream didn't in fact include bottle feeding.)

At the same time, these crazy circumstances have become a deep, deep joy to me. It's February, and I love my evenings in my cozy living room. I love waking up in this place to the sound of my coffee pot going off on the timer. 

I'm getting tremendously excited about spring. There are going to be some challenges coming down the pike, of course. I'm planning to have a hip replaced, and there's a ton of work I want to get done this spring. This combination will require wisdom and balance and restraint. But every inch of progress in this place and this new life has required all of that. There are hugely exciting prospects of animals coming to live here, a barn that has been transformed from dark, unpleasant bondage to beautiful, usable space. That barn is another whole dinosaur. There are plans for gatherings of friends and late night campfires and worship times and work parties and so much more. It's exciting. 

When it's twenty-five below and my pipes freeze up, though, I tend to ask myself why I hatched this crazy monster in the first place. But that's just a fleeting question. In spite of chewed bits of drywall and a growing OCD obsession with counting my fingers, I've grown to love the little mongrel.