The heir without air.
I’ll often have a dream where I’m in college and the entire semester is playing out in my dream and I keep skipping or forgetting to attend one or two classes, which leads to an F in the class or classes. It is usually my final semester which makes matters worse because my scholarship required me to graduate in four years and I didn’t know what would have happened if I failed to meet those terms. I have heard of other people talking about having similar dreams. I rarely studied in college and I didn’t get very good grades. These dreams could be because of a guilty conscience or God’s discipline or something else. I don’t know.
I also have recurring dreams that I’m back in my warehouse and I have to move out. If you know what my warehouse was like, I’m sure you could imagine that moving out of it wasn’t fun. It was a month-long process and very much not enjoyable. I’d still take it over the school one though.
I’ve had that college dream - truancy leading to failure. But only once. And years ago. It has stuck with me though, for some reason.
I have variants of this 1-2 times annually. Usually there’s also a realization that it’s too late to drop the class.
I dream over and over again that I’m about to preach in a rich church and discover just before arrival that I’m in my boxer shorts, and thus have to make a choice between being late to preach or preaching in my boxers. The dream ends without resolution concerning my choice.
About Augustine’s dreams, this from his Confessions, Bk 10, Ch 30:
It is truly your command that I should be continent and restrain myself from gratification of corrupt nature, gratification of the eye, the empty pomp of living. You commanded me not to commit fornication, and though you did not forbid me to marry, you counselled me to take a better course. You gave me the grace and I did your bidding, even before I became a minister of your sacrament. But in my memory, of which I have said much, the images of things imprinted upon it by my former habits still linger on. When I am awake they obtrude themselves upon me, though with little strength. But when I dream, they not only give me pleasure but are very much like acquiescence in the act.
The power which these illusory images have over my soul and my body is so great that what is no more than a vision can influence me in sleep in a way that the reality cannot do when I am awake. Surely it cannot be that when I am asleep I am not myself, O Lord my God? And yet the moment when I pass from wakefulness to sleep, or return again from sleep to wakefulness, marks a great difference in me.
During sleep where is my reason which, when I am awake, resists such suggestions and remains firm and undismayed even in the face of the realities themselves? Is it sealed off when I close my eyes? Does it fall asleep with the senses of the body? And why is it that even in sleep I often resist the attraction of these images, for I remember my chaste resolutions and abide by them and give no consent to temptations of this sort? Yet the difference between waking and sleeping is so great that even when, during sleep, it happens otherwise, I return to a clear conscience when I wake and realize that, because of this difference, I was not responsible for the act, although I am sorry that by some means or other it happened to me.
The power of your hand, O God Almighty, is indeed great enough to cure all the diseases of my soul. By granting me more abundant grace you can quench the fire of sensuality which provokes me in my sleep. More and more, O Lord, you will increase your gifts in me, so that my soul may follow me to you, freed from the concupiscence which binds it, and rebel no more against itself. By your grace it will commit in sleep these shameful, unclean acts inspired by sensual images, which lead to the pollution of the body: it will not so much as consent to them. For to you, the Almighty, who are powerful enough to carry out your purpose beyond all our hopes and dreams, it is no great task to prescribe that no temptation of this kind, even such slight temptations as can be checked by the least act of will, should arouse pleasure in me, even in sleep, provided that my dispositions are chaste.
This you can do for me at any time of life, even in the prime of manhood. But now I make this confession to my good Lord, declaring how I am still troubled by this kind of evil. With awe in my heart I rejoice in your gifts, yet I grieve for my deficiencies, trusting that you will perfect your mercies in me until I reach the fullness of peace, which I shall enjoy with you in soul and body, when death is swallowed up in victory.
One of my recurring dreams is that I’m naked and I’m frantically looking for my clothes why trying to hide from everyone around me. It hasn’t happened for a while. Usually the dream is unresolved by the time I wake up.
This reminds me of the old joke about the skinny dipping priests and the bus of tourists. One of them covers his nakedness, and the other covers his face. “I don’t know about you, but in my parish, I am known by my face!”
Naked/underwear dreams are very common. They get at the root fear/shame of the human experience. I bet Adam had 'em.
Adam lived the original
Exactly. He put that dream into our DNA.
I have this dream as well - say two or three times a year. It takes different forms - drowning used to be fairly common. Lately it’s presented as a form of paralysis.
I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a sign of incipient apnea. Recently, I have gotten “stuck” between sleep and waking, where I’m suffocating but weirdly aware that I’m in bed, lying more or less paralyzed, unable to breath except in very small volumes. Yes, quite scary.
Somewhere recently I was reading about dreams and the writer reported that this is a fairly common dream - all the variants involving school and some incompleted course of study. Sometimes it’s a course you failed but it went undiscovered until you were far advanced in some subsequent syllabus which now becomes confused because you were never supposed to have been admitted to it in the first place.
Google “sleep paralysis.” It’s fairly common.
I remember dreaming when I was a teacher that I had somehow missed a class that I was supposed to be teaching for like an entire semester. The students kept it hush hush because they were enjoying wreaking havoc in my absence. I think I awoke afraid of being fired.
Amen. God blessed me in ways unimaginable when finally tackling sin seriously with Christian brothers by my side: a dear friend, a pastor, and John Owen. We prayed for many things but never considered dreams. God did more than we ever thought to ask.
For a short time, I began resisting temptation in my dreams. I hadn’t even thought of that, but God gave it. And then, poof, no dreams, for years. I was baffled. I missed them; most weren’t bad after all. But this was a good trade off. God knew what He was doing. And He was making it clear it was Him.
When fighting sin, grace is no holds barred. We pray to the living God.
Recurring dreams, all of mine had always been nightmares. Sounds like most people’s recurring dreams were nightmares at some level.
I don’t know if that’s true generally or not. However, the dreams in my distant past (I’m 72 now) which are still cinematically vivid in memory are all nightmares.
There is one from my very earliest boyhood - age 4 - which I won’t relate (too Freudian; too weird) but which occurred repeatedly for several years (according to my parents, who had to deal with a child screaming in his sleep until they could awaken me). If I were to relate it to you, I think you’d simply think “How weird! But, scary? Hardly!.”
And, yet, it was terrifying. It makes my bowels stir to think of it. And, so, I don’t.
So far as I know, I’ve not had that dream in over 65 years. But, I remember it like it was last night.
My most frequent and memorable dream is long gone. It involved being chased and then claustrophobia. By a bear, through a house full of friends and family, into a clothes dryer. Absurb and not very nightmarish, but it kept me awake more than more normal nightmares.