The dream that I had
At the time I left the church*, I had the following dream. It guided my behavior on returning to the church, and is something I still recall regularly.
I am sitting in a large Mormon chapel. The colors are woody and rich, and the light warm. The feeling is of security. There are a number of others sitting in the chapel, all listening to a man who is at the pulpit. I am listening, too, but the man is speaking gibberish – at least I can’t make out what he is saying.
I look over and see that a gaping hole has been blown in the wall of the church. I seem to be the only one who notices it. Outside, there is a wild storm. Animals and bits of houses are being carried by in the wind. The storm is shades of blue and gray and in motion, there is a great energy in it. I know that I am going to go out into the storm, and I feel excited,- enlivened by the thought.
As I am watching, my grandpa – my father’s father – walks through the breach in the wall and into the chapel. He is naked and is painfully thin. His body is bruised and frostbitten. I feel a surge of shame for him, but no one else seems to notice him, at all. As he approaches the pew where I am, an uncle comes with a blanket and offers to cover him. He refuses the blanket, however. He sits in front of me and turns and gives me a long and deep look.
* “Left the church” may be too dramatic. I did make a conscious, knowing decision to not attend church for some period of time. That turned out to be about eleven years. About the time I begin to feel that I likely would never return, things began to happen that changed my mind.