Disagreements abound about the significance and source of dreams. My writing today is not an attempt to enter that debate. I only know that I had a dream, which is a significant piece of my healing from sexual abuse as a teenager, and that the dream feels like a gift from God.
I dreamed one night, that I was standing in a very crowded hotel lobby. People were milling about and I remember feeling very pinned in. I scanned the crowd, trying to determine where I was. No one seemed familiar, until across the lobby, standing in a doorway…it was him. I was immediately flooded with confusing, contradictory, and massive emotions. I felt rage, attraction, fear and excitement. But mostly, I felt hate. I started toward him. I clenched my fist. I gathered all the courage I could find. I prepared to confront him. No, I prepared to strike him. I wanted to make him hurt the way I had been hurt by him, to damage him the way he had damaged me.
As I grew closer to him, I thought to myself, “I’m really going to do this! I’m going raise my hand, and I’m going to hit him as hard as I can.” He was standing there, smirking at me. He had seen me coming. He wasn’t afraid. He should have been.
The moment I reached him, leaning in that doorway, we were both transported to a beautiful garden in the back yard of a home. It was so peaceful there. Lush with greenery and flowers of every sort. Well-tended. He began to walk away from me and I started to follow him, when I noticed a beautiful young woman sitting at a patio table, under the shade. She was gorgeous, poised and seemed so at peace. “She must be his daughter,” I remember thinking. I was so drawn to her. So much so that I could not focus on pursuing him. I knew I could learn something from her.
I walked over to the young woman, sat down and started talking with her. The one part of my dream that I cannot remember clearly is what we talked about, or what she taught me. All I remember is the I was so impressed with her wisdom, kindness and gentle nature. She seemed to me like everything I could have been, would have been, if it weren’t for him. I was so sure during the dream, that I was talking to his daughter and during the dream, I kept trying to comprehend how a woman who lived with him in her life could be such a healthy, happy person. We finished our talk, and I gave her a hug goodbye. I walked peacefully out of that garden as I walked peacefully out of that dream and awoke.
As soon as I was awake, I was aware that I had just dreamed a holy dream, but it didn’t feel complete. There was something about the dream that was bothering me. Then, it hit me. He doesn’t have any daughters! He has three sons, but no daughter. So who was that woman? She was about my age, and looked very familiar. Who was she? Finally, the truth of my dream was revealed. I had encountered myself in that garden. I was there in that garden to show me and to tell me, that despite what had happened to me, despite what he had done to me, I had emerged a beautiful soul, a whole and healed woman.
It still has taken me several years to claim the truth in that dream. I struggled for years to grow into the wisdom in me. But, because of that dream, I had a vision of who I truly am and I gained the knowledge that no abuser can ultimately destroy me.