Woman holding bullhorn at demonstration.

Community & Rejoicing

by Eric Elkin

He did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.
— Ps. 22:24b

Recurring dreams can be the most disturbing experience. Well, at least mine are never positive. These type of dreams seem to tap into my greatest fears and then replay them over and over again in my sleep. Why can’t my dream of hitting a game-winning jump shot in the seventh game of the NBA finals get repeated? The worst part is once a bad dream gets repeated it stays in your mind.  Even in your sleep, you see it coming and know it will not be good.

One dream which used to get repeated all the time involved my getting cornered by a wild animal. Typically, a bear or a lion would have me trapped in a place I couldn’t escape. Help was within shouting distance, but every time I tried to yell no sound came out of my mouth. Thankfully, it has been a long time since I experienced this sensation.

Remembering the experience made me curious about how others might interpret this dream. Searching the internet, I found this explanation from a site called, Dream Moods.

“To dream that you are screaming symbolizes anger and fear. You are expressing some powerful emotion which you have kept pent up inside. If you try to scream, but no sound comes out, then it indicates your sense of helplessness and frustration in some situation.”

This description makes sense. It pretty much sums up my childhood. I find comfort, though, in knowing others experience the same phenomena.

From infants to the elderly and every person in between, we cry specifically to be heard. At the same time, woven into our minds is a fear we will not be heard. When our shouts for help fall on deaf ears, it confirms this fear and burdens our soul with an overwhelming sensation of loneliness. However, when our cries are heard and tended, there is no greater feeling of healing.

I spent the weekend on a men’s spiritual retreat. For most of the participants, it was their first time doing such a thing. It was fun watching people go from the anxiety of attending to feeling free to express themselves. Then, in voicing their inner thoughts, discovering that they’re not alone. Others share the same struggles.

The bond forms a community, and the community finds rejoicing, the Lord has heard our cries and responded with love. I wish everyone could have this as a recurring experience.

Click to read: Psalm 22: 21-33

Reflection Questions:

  • What is your recurring dream?
  • How often does it occur? And, what do you think it means?
  • What burden do you carry in isolation?
  • Where is a safe place to express this burden so you might find relief?

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

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