Festival of Homiletics

Once Upon a Dream

It was 1998. I flew to Baltimore for a conference, making the plans rather at the last minute. I don’t know when I had ever been anywhere alone; I had certainly never checked into a hotel by myself for the night. I had traveled with my parents or my husband, or with a group. It was Chapter One of getting on with my life. I had been divorced for a year or so, my father had died, the children and I had moved twice, and I had withdrawn from seminary. I was trying to find some new friends, new interests to pursue, new possibilities to explore. There was a man attending the conference I was excited to meet after corresponding with him for some time. That part of the story turned out to be uneventful, but something else very important happened there.

You see, I had a dream. And because I was in a hermetically sealed box of a downtown hotel room, and the night was rainy, and the white noise shut out the sounds of the city, I slept through the night. There were no cats or little children to wake me from the dream, to protect me from its meaning. I woke up and remembered it fully, vividly. It was what I call a “Big Dream,” one full of portent. After mulling on it, I decided to return to seminary.

But I couldn’t fully comprehend it that first day or even a day or two later. I needed time to absorb it, to reflect on it, to metabolize its meaning.

I feel much the same way about this day at the Festival of Homiletics. By 11 this morning, my head and heart were full of images, prayers and hopes, so plentiful I could not digest or dissect or disseminate them.

My husband suggested that I am on a vacation and not doing work this week. He’s right in the sense that being with friends has been a wonderful break. But there is absolutely work going on, too.

I wonder what I will dream tonight?

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