Discernment, Dreams, I Sing the Body Electric

A Bag of Campaign Memorabilia

I decided on two forms of Advent practice. One is represented by a ticker in the sidebar here, and it is a commitment to matter, to keep moving through Advent despite the challenges of doing so in a busy season. I’m close to a weight goal I established several months ago as being perhaps reachable by the end of the year, but I realize that the temptations of this festive season of the year might make it more difficult, particularly in combination with the early darkness that grows more profound each day as we work our way toward darkness around 4 p.m.

But there is also an inner life, and my dreams have been vivid, and I determined to make recording my dreams, or at least reflecting on them, an Advent practice. It seems fitting, as we move toward the texts of Advent 4 and the Sunday after Christmas, in which Joseph responds to his dreams.

Last night I had a dream about sorting through boxes of things that belonged to my parents. There was more to the dream, but here is what I feel moved to write about this morning. One of the boxes contained bags of campaign memorabilia emblazoned with my maiden name. My father was a politician, so in some ways that’s not an entirely unlikely thing to find, although in this case the materials looked too new to have been from his career, the buttons too modern. There was my maiden name, Spong, over and over again.

I’ve been contemplating what comes next in my work life, and one of the possibilities is the subject of a meeting tomorrow. It’s an exciting possibility, but also a bit terrifying because it is something new.

I woke this morning asking this question: "What would a Spong do?" I thought about my dad, and my cousin Jack and my grandmother Emily, all bearers of that name, and I realized, "They would step out in faith. They would never cower or fret. They would hear a call and answer it." Not a one of them worried or worries about what others think. They are a picture of courage, a courage based in faith.

Joseph dreamed things that guided him to do the unusual, the unlikely, even the unspeakable in his cultural context. Surely I can take a chance, too?



In my dream he stands in his kitchen, a bit old-fashioned with its laminate floor and 1950's cabinets. He grows gradually smaller, but his face shines. I speak to him, telling him what a good neighbor and treasured person he has been. "We will miss you," I say, as he continues to diminish, his face more luminous as it recedes.