"My Eye" Dream
April 16, 2023
At the beginning of May 2014, a little more than a year after our move to Brantford I had a dream about my right eye. It was the second dream of that kind in the space of two weeks and I found out a few years later that when the Lord uses the number 2 in a dream, He means serious business. When He repeats something twice He wants us to stop and listen and pay close attention to what He is saying. We see this in the scriptures when Jesus says, "Verily, verily I say unto you", "Martha, Martha, you worry and fret..." or "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" But even without that particular knowledge, I knew, upon waking up from this second dream, that it was serious and that I needed to really look at this.
This dream would fit in a category called "warning dreams". The Lord was definitely warning me about a problem with my spiritual vision, not because He wanted to cause me heartache, but because He wanted to bless me and set me on the right path for my life.
In the first dream I had had a few weeks earlier, I heard a voice telling me that I was going blind but it was in the second dream that a doctor was actually there, explaining everything to me.
He was telling me that there was a disease moving in across my eye, a kind of shadow coming from the left and making its way slowly over my eye. He had an enlarged image of my right eye and he was showing me how the disease was spreading into my eye and would eventually make me blind. It was the surface of the eye that was being affected, not the inside.
Of course, those two dreams were very disturbing to me. Even though I didn't have the ability I now have to decipher dreams, I knew enough to know that this was of a serious nature. At first, I was afraid the Lord was telling me that I would actually be going physically blind and yet, I had this intuition that the message was perhaps more of a spiritual nature.
As I woke up, the scripture about "the eye being the lamp of the body" (Matthew 6:22) immediately came to mind. Jesus says that when your eye is clear, your whole body too is filled with light but if your eye is diseased, then the whole body too is diseased. However, remembering that scripture surely didn't help much in making me feel comfortable!
But before I move on to what I believe the Lord was telling me about my life, I'll break down the dream into its main components:
The Focus of the dream would be me.
The two Sub-focuses (important or essential elements) would be the doctor and the image of my eye.
The Detail relating to the doctor would be his message and the detail pertaining to my eye would be the disease moving in.
Simple! You can see to the left how I diagrammed those elements.
Through this dream, the Lord (the doctor) was definitely showing me (the image) that there was something wrong with my perception of things (my eye). There was a shadow that was moving onto my right eye and this shadow was a very real "spiritual disease", the consequence of which would be a growing spiritual darkness that would lead to blindness, rather than increased spiritual health.
As I've mentioned in other posts, the right side often has to do with our faith, so the fact that this shadow was coming into my right eye meant that this disease was having an effect on my faith and trust in God. It was also having an impact on my ability to see things "rightly".
Just a few days before this dream, I had started re-reading a book that I had enjoyed tremendously the first time around entitled "Leisure - The Basis of Culture" written by Josef Pieper, a German philosopher. I believe that what he wrote in this book was the medicine I needed to ward off this shadow. The basic premise of his book is that modern man has come to see himself as a "worker", as someone who "produces" in order to contribute to society, whereas, for the ancients, life was built around the concept of man as someone who "receives", who takes time to sit, to ponder and to meditate, believing that this too - perhaps even more so - was a contribution to the good of society and the Church.
For the ancients, the contemplative life was built not on work but on leisure. Pieper wrote that the Greeks didn't have a word for "work" but that they used the expression "non-leisure" in order to convey the meaning of "work". In Latin too, he said, the expression "negotiate" for example, is made up of "neg-otium" or "non-leisure", which is the original source of our modern word "business". So back then, being at leisure was the ability to sit, to be at peace, to let things go, to stop thinking about this and that, to stop using the "intellect" and to allow God to penetrate at the deeper levels of the "heart", which is the organ that allows us to receive and get filled up with the tremendous gifts God wants to grant. It is the heart and not the intellect that longs for and seeks deep intimacy with the Lord.
Interestingly, for a few months before my dream, I wasn't at peace and I knew intuitively that all was not right with me. I had found myself to be in a constant state of disquiet, of unease, of feeling like I wasn't doing enough for the Lord and in our household. It had been confirmed by many that I had a call to a more contemplative lifestyle but I still wasn't flowing in it. I didn't have that deep inner peace and had become restless.
But I came to see the problem...the shadow. I was pushing myself to "do" a lot of things and I wasn't exactly satisfied or happy doing all of those things. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to accomplish much and when I didn't live up to my own list of expectations which was based on a simple rule of life that I had devised for myself, I would get downcast, discouraged and quite fearful that I had let the Lord down by missing the boat somehow. I never felt like I measured up to the standards of a truly Christian life no matter how much work I took on in both my secular and spiritual life.
But the Lord, in His mercy, gave me that dream. He wasn't reproaching me for sinning against Him! On the contrary, He was trying to lighten my load by letting me know that if I continued pushing myself so hard, I would endanger my life of faith in Him. It would lead to darkness and not life and light. My "vision" would become darkened and I would no longer be able to see Him correctly. He would become a taskmaster and not my Bridegroom. I would be afraid of Him rather than secure in Him. He was trying to set me free from a self-imposed legalism based on a faulty understanding of the life He was calling me to.
The dream was a "warning dream", but a very loving warning that was intended to set me free from my only too human approach to a rule of life rather than one born out of the wisdom of the Holy Spirit that would be adapted to my temperament and personality.
After I'd made a few substantial adjustments, things began to change. Marcel can attest to that!! 🙂 It is true that we can be too lax on ourselves, but the opposite is also true; that we can be very hard on ourselves. So, I managed to let
go of my rigid, self-imposed standards and allowed myself to spend more time receiving from the Lord and to engage in the leisure of "non-activity". My life took a turn for the better.
The dreams about my eyes stopped. I had understood the message from heaven and had heeded its warning.
Leisure - The Basis of Culture, page 31
"Against the exclusiveness of the paradigm of work as activity, first of all, there is leisure as "non-activity" - an inner absence of preoccupation, a calm, an ability to let things go, to be quiet."
"In leisure, there is, furthermore, something of the serenity of "not-being-able-to-grasp", of the recognition of the mysterious character of the world, and the confidence of blind faith, which can let things go as they will..."
The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is clear, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkened, what darkness that will be.
Notes on passage: "According as the eye is clear or diseased it gives or refuses material light; to this light the spiritual light is compared; if this light is itself dimmed the blindness is much worse than physical."
Leisure gives the scribe the chance to acquire wisdom.