At this time of descending darkness toward Winter Solstice, it’s a perfect time for dark dreams. The author, Jan Richardson, calls them Night Visions in her book by the same name. My dream a few days ago was full of Night Visions, shadows and fears, anxiety and frustration. Good fodder for an inner Advent. As Richardson says, “The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before.”(xiii)
I am at the airport and my flight is leaving. I suddenly see that I’ve brought the wrong bag and instead of my clothes, it’s full of heavy tools. I’ve lost my purse, and thus my money and my I.D. My eyeglasses are gone and the only ones I can find are ones with an old prescription. The ticket agents are busy laughing among themselves and won’t help me. The flight is called. And the person who has been waiting in the shadows watching all this is my sister who died 30 years ago. She passes me to get on the plane unconcerned. “Don’t worry. You will figure it out.” I wake, so glad it was a dream… but then I enter the dream again. This time I let myself feel the fear and allow myself to stand in the shadows. Expecting the worst, trembling to sew what else may happen, the fear, once met, melts away to my great surprise. I feel it run down my body like thick honey, relaxing my shoulders, easing my heart. Then the strangest thing of all. I turn to look at the entrance to the long hall that will take me to the plane. Security guards in black uniforms are standing on both sides of the check point. But I walk confidently past them and they are unconcerned as well. They do not stop me. The hallway is bright and I am walking freely, my arms swinging, no bags to carry, my heart awake and alive.
Oh Advent, may all this come to me! May my many fears of needing security, keeping my old identity, not wanting to see things anew for the change that will come–may they find rest this season. May all the heavy bags of old guilt and being responsible and on time and the old trying trying trying to be perfect, lay down beside still waters. Restore my soul this Advent, dear season of darkness. Lead me in trust to walk in shadow, not knowing the path ahead. Help me take flight to “the likes of which we have not seen before.” Give me Night Vision, O God. It feels to be my way now.
“We often find ourselves at times in the dark–good or evil or in between of our won or another’s making. Our work is to name the darkness for what it is and to find what it asks of us; whether it is darkness that asks for justice to bring the dawn of hope to a night of terror, or for a candle to give warmth to the shadows, or for companions to hold us in our uncertainty an unknowing, or for a blanket to enfold us as we wait for the darkness to teach us what we need to know.” (Night Visions, p. 3)
Dawn is at 10:03 today. Sunset at 3:39. Eleven days to Solstice. It grows darker–more mysterious, with intriguing invitations to take flight.