Nomadic Kindred Hearts

Yesterday at the conference I met Rosy.  Right from the start she seemed to be the most interesting person in the room.  I met her just before the Ladies Coffee, which was a social time built into the conference.  I didn’t register for the Ladies Coffee right away just because the idea of a Ladies Coffee didn’t really appeal to me.  I don’t really fit in with most of the women there.  But the Holy Spirit had urged me to register for it at the last minute, so I did.  I asked Rosy if she was going to the Ladies Coffee, and she said that she was.  So we went off together, leaving her boyfriend, Bobby, to attend the next session without us.

Rosy is doing something that I had always dreamed of doing, but never had the freedom or the resources to do: she lives in her fully-equipped camper van and has been traveling around the country since she was laid off from her job.  That’s a courageous and daring thing to do, and I admire her a lot for doing it.  When I bought my camper van in 2011 (see my first book, Look, Listen, Love) I had thought of doing that, but in Europe.  My camper was stolen, which put an end to that dream for me.  Nevertheless, I still think about it sometimes when I’m traveling around in Europe.

Rosy also blogs.  So there we have a lot in common: writers, nomadic at heart, plus we’re both attending the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Conference, so we both keep our ears open for the trumpet’s sound.  I love all the new friends God has for me!  God is good!

The Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Greetings from Dallas!

I am here attending the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Conference.  The conference has only just started, but already God has been very merciful, helping me through what could have been a couple of bad logistical problems.

The first was the drive to the airport.  I left Asheville yesterday morning to drive my son home to Chapel Hill, and then turn back and on to the airport in Charlotte.  I had budgeted about seven hours, even though Google Maps had predicted that the total trip would take only a bit over five.  I had added an extra hour to my driving plan so that we could have lunch together at his local sushi palace.  Leaving him on his doorstep with a full stomach and sushi leftovers, I headed on toward Charlotte.  Google Maps either didn’t know about the construction on Highway 85 or that it was the tail end of Thanksgiving weekend and certainly both played a part in the drive time taking every bit of seven hours.  I didn’t really hit delays until about 35 miles outside of Charlotte, but I was really glad that I had decided to head straight to the airport and not take my time.  In the long term parking lot, I hailed a passing bus that had just gone by the shelter before I could get there.  The driver graciously stopped for me even though she was not at an official stop when she did it.  On entering the airport, I was especially glad that I had my boarding pass with me and no luggage to check.  The flight was delayed by nearly half an hour, but that’s not a problem when you have no connection to make.  It gave me an opportunity to breathe and even get a light dinner before boarding.

In order to avoid the expense of renting a car that I would really only need twice a day, I had selected an airport hotel near the conference site, which was another airport hotel.  My plan was to take the shuttle to the airport and then catch the other hotel’s shuttle.  My hotel’s shuttle departs for the airport every hour on the hour starting at six AM.  As I thought about this plan, the enormous hassle and potential of hours lost waiting for one shuttle or the other began to worry me.   Rather than worry, I simply prayed instead.  After a good night’s sleep, I had thought to catch the six AM shuttle to the airport and arrive finally at the other hotel in time for the conference start at eight.  Good plan, but I missed the six AM shuttle.  I decided that it would be OK if I were a bit late for the conference.  And who knows?  I might arrive on time for the conference anyway.  So I got a quick breakfast and signed up for the seven AM shuttle.  The shuttle driver was there, and he asked me what terminal I was going to.  I told him about my crazy shuttle plan.  He wanted to know where the other hotel was, and I told him.  He said that since he had only two stops to make this morning, he would take me to the other hotel.  In fact, he said that he’ll be working all week, and that he would take me every day, assuming that he doesn’t have a lot of stops to make.  That is an answer to prayer, and one I would never have thought to hope for!

So once again, I’m feeling like God’s favorite kid.  God is good!

Dream Analysis

Toronto SkylineCN Tower, Toronto

My cousin, Betsey, does life coaching, and she offered to analyze a dream for me.  The one I picked out was a doozy:

We lived at the top of something like the CN Tower in Toronto (or the Space Needle in Seattle, but I don’t know the city).  Because we lived there, we didn’t have to wait in line for the public elevators.  At some point my lifelong friend, Maggie, came to visit.  She brought me something, but I don’t remember what it was.

Then I went out and forgot my key, so I had to buy a ticket for the elevator like everyone else.  My Companion (I don’t remember who it was) told me that I should explain that I live there, so I did.  The Ticket Lady was in her 60’s and sort of gruff.  She said that I had to buy a ticket and use a public elevator, but she would go up with me, and refund my money when she saw that I really do live there.  The tickets cost $7.50 each, and they were gray and long (about 6-7 inches) and a little thinner than tickertape.

The Ticket Lady told us to go ahead and get in line.  She busied herself with closing up her ticket booth.  There were 5 ticket booths, all of them manned and lines at each.  But the lines moved pretty fast.  My Companion and I had gone to the booth at the far left.

We went through an opening in the wall directly behind us and into the waiting area.  The line for the elevators was in a wading pool, the water was nicely warm and clean, and amazingly less crowded than the ticket lines.  People really enjoyed the pool as they waited for the elevator.  There were 3 elevators, but they were in a straight line, not curved as you would expect around the tower.  The middle elevator had an enclosed area that hid the people waiting from view.  It was common knowledge that the enclosed area was a Jewish bathhouse.  So I stood in line for the elevator on my right because I’m not Jewish.

The “wading area” for all 3 elevators was between 2 playgrounds for a really tough inner-city elementary school, and we were separated from the playgrounds by cage-like wire.  As my Companion and I waited and enjoyed the water, I looked at the kids on the playground.  One boy on a swing turned and made eye contact with me.  And he gave me the most malevolent look I’ve ever gotten—and he was young, about 6-7 years old!  That look made me shiver.

Then it was our turn to get onto the elevator, and the Ticket Lady was in the pool area, but she didn’t make it onto our elevator.  The elevator was wedge-shaped (like a pie, with one curved side) and it was like an amusement park ride.  There were wire seats that looked like lawn chairs and we were supposed to seatbelt ourselves into the seats.  But the seats weren’t bolted down.  I pulled mine (on the curvy side at a corner) into alignment with the other seats before I sat and buckled up.  The ride to the top was quick, and at the top we met the Ticket Lady.  We knocked at the door and Mom let me in.  The Ticket Lady was gone, but I was sure that she had gone down to get our refund.  Mom scolded me for leaving without my key, and said, “Those bathhouse Jews are homosexuals.”  I said, “All of them?” and she nodded emphatically, “ALL of them!”

I hadn’t felt threatened by the Jews (gay or not, though I doubted that they really were gay), but the kid on the playground had really scared me.  This dream was populated by lots of people I knew, both in our apartment and down in the wading pool.  But the only people I can recall are Mom, Fleur, and my youngest son, Kevin.

The way Betsey analyzed my dream was to actually show me how to analyze the dream myself.  Together we picked out the things that seem to be important symbols and themes: the tower, the elevators, Maggie, whatever Maggie brought me, the key, the tickets, my companion, the ticket lady, the refund, the lines, the ticket booths, the opening in the wall, the waiting area/wading pool, the Jewish bathhouse, the playgrounds, the cage-like wire, the boy on the swing, the wire seats, Mom, the Jews, and Kevin.

Then we went through, item-by-item (or person-by-person) and Betsey instructed me to “be” the item or person.  And she asked me these questions:

  1. Name three adjectives to describe yourself (without thinking too much).
  2. (Item/Person), what is your purpose in this dream?
  3. (Item/Person), what are you trying to tell/show Alisa?
  4. (Item/Person), do you have something to say to Alisa?

 

I took notes, but not on the things that didn’t seem important, so here are some of my notes:

  • Tower – tall, see everything, over everything; “Come up here!”
  • Elevators – open, waiting, enclosing; “Let’s go up!”
  • Maggie – “There are gifts all around if you open your eyes.”
  • Whatever Maggie brought me – “You have gifts that you have not opened.”
  • The key – gold, shiny, important; “Open it up!”
  • Tickets – “I am a substitute key.”
  • My Companion – “I’m here to remind you!”
  • Ticket Lady – “I have tickets for you.”
  • Refund – “Things lost can be restored.”
  • The lines – I don’t think the lines were significant.  I live in a big city (Milan), so lines and crowds are an everyday thing.
  • Ticket booths – “I have tickets for you.”
  • The opening in the wall – “I’ll take you to a different reality.”
  • Waiting area/wading pool – “Take a moment to relax/This is a safe place to relax.”
  • Jewish bathhouse – Chosen, exclusive “You’re not one of us.”
  • Playgrounds – “If you forget your key, you’ll be in danger.”
  • The cage-like wire – thick, impenetrable, transparent
  • The boy on the swing – “I’m gonna get you!”
  • The wire seats – Cold, uncomfortable, unsteady
  • Mom – Home, safety, love; here to reassure; “Everything is going to be OK.”
  • The Jews – Chosen, rigid, conservative; “You’re not one of us.”
  • My son, Kevin – Young, irresponsible, unpredictable; here as a symbol; “You grew out of this phase, so will I!”

Betsey then gave me her perspective:

You live at a higher level than others, always moving up.  Maggie reminds you of gifts that you haven’t opened.  Gifts may be related to keys and tickets.  Your companion is a guide, so is the Ticket Lady.  Lost things can be restored.  There is a place that you can get to with substitute keys.  There is an opening from one reality to another, from busy to tranquil.  There is an unwelcoming, exclusive place.  The playground area is scary and menacing.  Mom is reassuring and reassuringly normal.

Then I told Betsey about my interpretation:

In a nutshell, this is a Rapture dream.  The tower-top apartment is the heavenly destination.  The tower says “Come up here!” just like in Revelation 4:1.  The elevators are a conveyance to take me higher (they never went down!).  The unopened gift is my belief that we don’t use the gifts God has given us to the extent that we ought to (like the first century Christians).  Maggie and my Companion both are the Helper, the Holy Spirit (perhaps the Ticket Lady was also the Holy Spirit).  The refund is the restoration of things to God’s original design.  The playground is the world left behind after the Rapture.  Mom’s warning about the bathhouse Jews was weird and completely in character, therefore reassuringly normal.

The Rapture has been on my mind for about a year now.  I believe that it’s going to be soon.  Don’t get left in the playground!  Come up here!  God is good!

space needleSeattle’s Space Needle

Curing Loneliness with Bonnie and Clyde

ftw3The Free Throw Wizard’s book

I had a dream last night:

I was kidnapped by an elderly couple.  They were so notorious about kidnapping people that they were nicknamed Bonnie and Clyde.  Then they kidnapped me, and I found out that they are really nice people.  I could see that they kidnapped people because they were lonely.  When I got the chance to escape, I did.  But the next time I saw them, I voluntarily got into their car.

Immediately, I recognized this as a dream about the retirement apartment where I live with Mom (my residence when I’m in the US).  It’s an independent living facility, which means that they provide no nursing care.  Basically, it’s an apartment complex with a communal dining room and lots of group activities.  Because we eat almost all of our meals together, we have developed a group of friends here.  Of course, there are some people that we are closer to than others, and there are some who we actively avoid (like the man who put a gift-wrapped tube of KY jelly into Mom’s purse on her birthday).

Loneliness is a universal plague, and even more so among the elderly.  Some of them have lost their spouse, some have lost their siblings, and some have even lost children.  And when all that loss is piled on top of the loss of normal faculties (hearing and vision), loss of health, and loss of independence, many become depressed.  Depression perpetuates and exacerbates loneliness so that it becomes an ever-more vicious cycle.

Today, I voluntarily let myself be “kidnapped”—twice!  The first was Benny, who always wears a Jesus cap, indoors and out.  He’s a sweet guy who loves the Lord and loved his wife.  They had been married for 52 years, when she had a catastrophic stroke and died a few years ago.  He’s never gotten over the loss.  When he talks about meeting Jesus face-to-face in a near-death experience, his eyes tear up.  And when he talks about his wife, the tears overflow.  But he’s always got a friendly word and a ready smile.

The second one was Fred, who always wears a basketball jacket and cap.  I had seen a painting up in the hall outside the Game Room, and noticed that his name was on it.  He had painted a church in Rome, so at lunch I complimented him on the painting because I knew it for a church in Rome even before reading the title.  He was very excited to have his painting noticed and recognized.  His wife died just before he moved in here as the very first tenant two years ago.  Then he told me something else about himself: he’s the Free Throw Wizard—he’s shot over 2 Million free throws without missing.  And here’s the really amazing thing about that: he shoots from behind a stack of boxes eleven feet high—he can’t see the basket.  In fact, he gave me his book titled Free Throw Wizard, and you can watch him on You Tube: Free Throw Wizard.

Here’s the thing: it only cost me a bit of time, but in both cases, I made these men happy just by being available to listen to them tell me their stories.  Sometimes you’ll meet a Free Throw Wizard, and other times, you’ll just help somebody find a reason to smile.  Either way, it’s all good.  And the bonus is that a good listener is never lonely.  God is good!  Now get out there and share His goodness with some lonely people.