Saturday, March 23, 2019

Alpine Dream

Photo by Dana Hutchinson 2017

I recently dreamed that my mother, husband and I were at an Alpine resort in springtime. Stretching out behind the cozy Swiss chalet was a beautiful vista of snow-capped, bluish-gray mountain peaks encircling a lovely green meadow, dotted with wildflowers in bold shades of yellow, red and violet-blue.

The guide at the resort suggested that we follow a parcourse that was challenging yet would lead to an even more inviting view. The first part of this was a platform resembling a flattened-out metal jungle gym suspended several feet off the ground, made of metal bars about 1 inch thick and outlining rectangular structures of differing sizes and uneven placement, without apparent pattern.  It was partially covered over with an opaque tarp that blocked vision of where the bars were. The tarp would crumple if stepped on between the bars, so that the person walking there would lose their footing and fall through to the ground.

The others decided against it, but I ventured forth, figuring that I could use my free foot to discern where the bars were and trace a safe path. But it proved to be much more difficult than it appeared, and I was in great danger of falling. Thankfully, the guide took pity on me, walking alongside the structure and holding my hand. Despite my numerous missteps, he steadied me sufficiently so that I made it across to the other side.

The next challenge was a long, steep, metal ladder, leading downward to an unknown destination. The guide advised me to descend it backing the ladder, despite the awkwardness and unfamiliarity of that position, so that I could see where I was going rather than where I had been. As I started down the rungs, a chilling wind blew across me, and I wished I had worn a coat. Instead, I was wearing a very long, woolen scarf, which was now more of a nuisance as it whipped against my body and face, often blinding me momentarily.

Finally I had reached the final rung and was surprised and delighted at the peace and solitude within that valley. I sat down on the lush grass and enjoyed the birds singing and darting among the shrubs and bushes. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted what appeared to be a tiny ballerina whirling through the air. I caught it and discovered that it was a delicate white flower, fashioned from what looked like Queen Anne’s lace or cauliflower fronds cut in paper-thin sections. The intricate detail in the dancer’s face, arms, hands, legs, pointed toes and tutu were an amazing testimony to God’s handiwork.

I gently tossed the ballerina into the air, and she began pirouetting on a gentle breeze and then softly spiraled to earth, spreading out like an ostrich plume on a velvety patch of dusky green moss near my feet. A little boy approached me in wide-eyed wonder as he eagerly showed me the treasure he was carrying. It looked like a miniature drone but was actually a bee-like insect, its wings constantly whirring and its multifaceted eyes turning in every direction.  

As the sun slowly began to set, I realized this glorious day was slipping away, and it was already growing colder. The ladder was no longer visible, and I didn’t know how to get back to the lodge. I wandered off and was surprised to see a large group of children, dressed only in shorts and swimsuits, laughing and playing in a pond.

“Aren’t they cold?” I asked a stranger standing near me.

“No, it’s a hot spring,” she explained.

As I awoke and began to consider the symbolism of the dream, I wondered if it could be a metaphor describing our journey through life once we are saved (Acts 2:21; 4:12) by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven. At the moment of salvation we are elevated to heavenly places in Him (Ephesians 1:3; 2:6), visualized in the dream as a beautiful, serene meadow enclosed by the mountain peaks and inspiration of His greatness.

But we are not meant to linger there, but to embark on a spiritual journey that will progressively shape us into His image (Philippians 3:10). It is not an easy upward stroll, for the path often takes twists, turns, and even sharp descents. Yet these challenges (2 Corinthians 11:23-33), symbolized by the parcourse in the dream, strengthen us and improve our spiritual fitness.

We are constantly in danger of falling, for we cannot see where the path leads or the obstacles threatening us, like the tarp obscuring the view of where I could safely step on the metal bars. Our own feet are unreliable to direct our path, but we will progress when we are holding onto the hand of our Guide (Proverbs 3:5-6). May we remember that He is holding and protecting us in the hollow of His hand, which is held tightly in the hand of the Father (John 10:27-29), and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). Nothing can separate us from His love!

Often we feel unprepared for the journey, having neglected to equip ourselves with needed gear, like a coat when climbing on chilly slopes. Choices we made, perhaps favoring fashion over practicality, as in the case of my overly long scarf, or worldly rather than spiritual priorities (James 4:4), may return to haunt us.

But climbing down the ladder while facing outward reminded me that we are not to look backward, dwelling on the evil or guilt over where we have been (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Philippians 3:13). Instead, we are to ask forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and focus on where He is taking us, even if that seems to be downward. Like the apostle Paul, we can learn to be content in whatever state we are in, whether humbled and brought low, or abounding in spiritual victory and material blessings (Philippians 4:12).

Especially as we age, our life journey may sometimes seem to be headed downward into depths of infirmity (2 Corinthians 12:7), trouble, and loss of loved ones, abilities, material provision, and dreams (Job 1:21). But Jesus Christ is the God of the valleys as well as the God of the mountains, and He will not desert us there. He is the Lily of the valleys (Song of Solomon 2:1), which are filled with reminders of His beauty, power, majesty, and compassion.

When we hit bottom, we are more receptive to His mercy, grace and love. We need not fear, for He will even guide us through the valley of the shadow of death, comforting us, providing for us, giving us peace, restoring our soul, and leading us in the paths of righteousness (Psalm 23).

God speaks to His children primarily through His Word (Psalm 119), but also through others (Proverbs 27:17), through life circumstances, and through the beauty of His creation (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20). Often His love letters written in nature are unique for each of us, speaking to our heart in a particularly meaningful way, like an image of Christ in the clouds, treasures on the beach bearing special reminders, and even the crucifixion and ascension intricately carved into the skull of a catfish!

I had this dream a few nights before a performance for our dance ministry, when I had become discouraged over rehearsals not going as well as we had hoped. It is fitting that in the dream God sent me a reminder in the shape of a tiny ballerina, as if to say, “I can shape even a flower into a beautiful dancer expressing My glory, so why would I not do the same for you, My child?”

Lack of energy and spiritual vision had recently also become a concern, and the endless energy and multisided vision of the insect in the dream reassured me that God would supply these needs as well, and all our needs according to His riches in glory (Ephesians 1:7; 3:16; Philippians 4:19).

The playful children in the dream had no need to fear the cold, for they were basking in a hot spring. When we are growing old and cold, Christ’s inner spring within us can restore us to youth and fresh fire (Exodus 24:17; 40:38; 2 Chronicles 7:1). May even our later years be filled with childlike faith (Matthew 18:3-4), fountains of Living Water (Song of Solomon 4:15; Jeremiah 2:13; 7:13), and the passion of being on fire for the Lord! 

May we abound in service and good works as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and fellow workers (1 Corinthians 3:9), not growing weary (Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58), for in due time He will show us the fruit of our labor!

© 2019 Laurie Collett



Susan said...

What a beautiful dream, Laurie, and I love the interpretation even more than the dream itself! I love heavenly glimpses of God’s love and care for us.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Susan! God is so good to express His love and provision for His children. Thanks for your comment and God bless,

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
That is an amazing dream you had, especially if it featured a scene similar to the head photo of the mountain range.
What you have testified has reminded me of the choice of paths, or gates to enter through, each one of us is obliged to take (Matthew 7:13). The wide gate leading to a freeway may be very easy to travel on, but let's face it, it can get rather boring after a while with just grass verges for scenery!
The narrow gate leading to a trail is far more challenging, even dangerous if navigated without a guide, yet offers far better and more exciting panoramas and natural beauty, as well as meeting interesting people. Eventually you see the trail leading to what appears to be a crystal city partly hidden behind a mountain, yet radiant with light, very much like a sunrise or sunset.
A good read, God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Yes, the scenery in this dream was truly glorious, a wonderful respite from the cares of the day. Thanks for reminding me of Jesus' words regarding the broad and narrow gates. May we encourage others to enter by the narrow gate and be blessed by the promise of that glorious Holy City.
Thanks as always for your enlightening comment and God bless,

Keith said...

Nice Post, as always. One sentence struck a chord with me.

"God speaks to His children primarily through His Word (Psalm 119)"

I love this, because the levels of understanding, within the Bible, is unfathomable. For the Children of God, it is a never-ending supernatural Love Letter, where you can always feel his ever warming and reassuring presence.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Keith! I agree, we will never run out of things to learn from studying God's Word. He speaks to us through this love letter, with a fresh revelation for us each time we read it.
Thanks for your comment and God bless,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie.

God has done so much for us, including giving the Scriptures to guide us and the Holy Spirit to help us understand them. With his guidance we can face the greatest difficulties and find pleasure wherever we are, knowing that ultimately we will be with Christ.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! Praise the Lord that He makes Himself known to us through His Word and Holy Spirit indwelling us. All trials in this life are fleeting and will be forgotten the moment we see His precious face.
Thanks as always for your comment and God bless,

Aritha said...

Love what you are writing about "Especially as we age..." Thank you.

Laurie Collett said...

You're very welcome, Aritha! Thanks for your comment and God bless,

Tanza Erlambang said...

lovely dream....
thank you for your nice post.
have a great day

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you, Tanza, for your sweet comment! Have a wonderful weekend and God bless!