I’ve been out of work now for about six weeks. It is a planned sabbatical, focused on a new marriage to B Ritt, coparenting each other’s kids, and merging households. These challenges need a lot of energy, attention, and grace. You learn a lot when you move in with someone else. Turns out I got into the habit of leaving the seat up, which makes sense, given that it was me and Mac and Zac, a bachelor pad extravaganza where we sometimes wore shirts and ate over the sink. Sure, Lexi was there, but let’s face it: she’s cool, like one of the guys. She has no problem letting lose with bodily functions composed of pressurized air, attributing it as a compliment to the chef.
ANYWAY, last night, I had the first of what will no doubt be many strange dreams. Have you ever left a place of employment, or a school, or even a neighborhood, only to wake up weeks later to a semi-scary nightmare about the old place? For example, I had a dream in High School that I forgot to bring my trumpet to Mr. Sutton’s 7th grade band class and was severely reprimanded, having to clean the instrumental storage room and pick up Sutton’s dry cleaning. It was only a dream, but the emotion of dropping the ball was quite real. Similarly, I still have dreams of working at the radio station and forgetting how the sound board works during interviews with JJ Heller or David Crowder.
And I wondered… how long, (O Lord), until my first post Renovation Church dream? It finally happened last night.
In this dream, I was scrambling to finish some kind of church insurance paperwork, remarking to Brittany that it needed to be done before I was. While I was filling out forms in triplicate, boxes of books were moving all over the place, making it impossible to find the reference I needed. Of course, I have zero books about church insurance (well, maybe one), so it probably wouldn’t have helped anyway. I wasn’t in charge of insurance — we had much smarter people who did that. But the emotions and sense of doom were real. Proving unsuccessful at my paperwork task, I was given a new job at the church: caulk and seal the building where the foundation meets the parking lot. Again, this had to be done and it had to be done by me before my employment ended.
Now, I’m no interpreter of dreams (Genesis 41:1-36) but the connection is clear. When we move from one season to another, our brains are feverishly trying to maintain memories, pushing papers and images into boxes and cramming them on to hippocampus shelves. The demand of processing this information causes disarray, which is kind of like when you forget where you put your keys (garage workbench) or can’t remember what color your bike was when you were 8 (it was red). However, your dream machine likes to add some Mrs. Dash to that bland meatloaf, in the form of raw, unchecked emotion. Now, instead of misplaced keys or a forgotten bike, your keys are in the mouth of a giant crocodile and you’re conversing with the late great Steve Irwin who insists that you run for the office of Governor of America, campaigning only from your red Huffy bike.
All that to say this: I’m in a very different, very good life stage. Things are falling into place, by God’s continued grace, very beautifully. I love my wife and kids, and can’t wait to see how we launch into this new school year. Every day is a gift, and every day in this household is a brief but powerful testimony of how Jesus is continuing to redeem brokenness. In fact, I can’t wait to share what’s cooking in the background — more on that later.
It’s fascinating to see how we process new life stages. Dreams about insurance and structural repair, powered by anxiety and pressure, are the kind of dreams that are fun to wake up from. If only the job of ministry were that easy. Listen: pray for your pastor. It’s no simple task. And, if you think about it, offer to help them seal up that leaky foundation, but only after you get the insurance paperwork filled out. Remember: your keys are on the workbench. Take the red bike.