Catherinanne here, for Kevin. Kevin has had so many difficult days, and so many sleepless nights. Knowing this, I am always afraid I will wake him, or that someone else (unknowingly) might. Today, of course, Microsoft took over the laptop and initiated updates that I could not stop (Pre-concussion Kevin might have figured out a way, but there was no hope of that for me.) So I had to send critical emails from the computer in the dark room where he was sleeping. They are busy days, and there are things that must be done. While I worked, an alarm he had set on his phone to alert him to his Wednesday Service went off, and he pulled a quilt up over his head. And later the phone rang, but he continued to sleep. When he finally awoke, he asked me to quickly pass him his notepad. And now, over to Kevin:
“Yesterday was the best day! I had no headaches and no dizziness all day. I did some very light physiotherapy and managed it OK. Really, it was my best day post-concussion!
But, as with most things in life, nothing is free. There is a cost to all things. The price I would pay was sleep. My sleep patterns were never good pre-concussion, but since my fall I have come to find sleep, and lack of sleep to be symptomatic of how I’m feeling. And last night I was unable to sleep – not restless – but really unable to sleep. I was wide-awake until the early hours of the morning. I have also found that when I do fall asleep I sleep very soundly and very deeply, and for very long. That was true this morning as well. I slept very soundly till about 11 this morning. After lunch I was again totally exhausted. So, I slept again… a beautiful three-hour afternoon nap.
It has been a long time since I can remember recalling my dreams. But when I sleep these past weeks, I now remember much of what I dream. I find myself dreaming a lot. Today when I awoke from each sleep, I had to grab my notepad and jot down the things I heard out of my dreaming mouth. In both cases, I heard myself speaking words to others in my dream immediately before waking.
In my first dream, I was approached by an old friend of mine from seminary days. We were in a strange place – as is often the case in dreams. Oddly, in this dream, we were having an appropriate adult beverage in the laundry room of a long-term care facility. (It is a little known fact that clergy drink together in laundry rooms of nursing homes all across the nation.) My old friend introduced me to a new colleague of his. They were ministering together. They asked me for advice on how to divide their responsibilities in their Parish work. This is what dreaming Kevin’s reply was:
“The work is before you. It matters not who does the work. God will use whatever vessel available to bring Love to all who are in need of being loved. There is always more to do than any one person can accomplish. We need only know that God is using us all for the purposes of love.”
With that my eyes opened, and upon waking I grabbed my notepad and wrote those words down straight away. “Why can’t awake Kevin come up with this stuff,” I asked myself while I ate lunch. I mean those words are very true. It has proved true in my ministry that God’s work is best accomplished when we honour what God will do with each of us. We are truly at our best as the Body of Christ, when we allow all members to flourish, and allow all gifts to be raised up.
As I settled in for my afternoon nap, I gave thanks for the fine food, and the wisdom given me by the dreaming version of myself. It was as if I was being spoken to from my sleep. I was being reminded that I need not worry about work that I am missing. My sleeping self telling my awake self, “Cool your jets!” It is just a fact of life – Not one of us is irreplaceable! I take heart knowing that I am fortunate enough to belong to a community with such a strong pack of disciples. Those disciples are diligently chasing the “Wild Goose.”
My second sleep provided an answer to the above question about why, when awake, I don’t come up with the stuff that I blurt out of my mouth in my dreams.
As I slept the afternoon away, I was carried away to a strange and faraway land. This place was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It was a thoroughly bizarre place. It was sort of a cross between Narnia and Newfoundland: odd characters, beautiful scenery, vivid colors, and bright skies. There were shuttle launches, fishing boats, disco balls, warm fires, and colourful food. (I feel like I should add at this point, that I have not been given any drugs as a part of my treatment – Perhaps the blow to the head itself has caused me to go bonkers!) In this faraway land, people went everywhere in groups. Nobody travelled alone. When asked where they were going, each group would reply; “We are going to listen.” Every single group! They were travelling in all kinds of directions. But regardless of which direction they were headed, each when asked gave me that very same short reply. “We are going to listen!”
As I stood on a pristine sidewalk, I looked into the bright blue sky and I listened to a space shuttle launch. It was far away. But it sounded so close. Catherinanne showed up.
“What are you doing,” she asked. “I am listening,” I replied. “What?” she asked. “That’s right, Catherinanne, I am listening. The thing we do here, more than anything else, is listen! Just listen… You’ll be surprised by what you hear.”
Then I heard our cat Molly crying to be petted. She poked and prodded, and woke me from my sleep.
So there you have it, question asked… question answered. We all need to spend more time listening. I know it’s true for me. These past couple of weeks are teaching me a thing or two about listening closely. I am learning to listen: to listen to doctors, to therapists, to the People of God, to my wife, to my family, to my friends, and to my body.
And if I listen a little more closely, perhaps… Just perhaps, I might come up with one or two gems like this dreamer I spend time with every now and again.”