I had a dream a few weeks ago that I know was about this journey. I was back in my childhood home, and I struggle to recall the details, but this was the first time in years I’ve dreamed of the place and the first time in my dreams I was there as an adult and feeling in control.
Standing in that room where I had longed for beauty, it was daylight and I looked about the mess and had ideas: I could conquer this! The rough wood I planned to paint a lovely blue, just like the French gate in Marseilles. And curtains! With lovely ruffles! Cupboards could neatly enclose the old open-faced shelves nailed to the wall and much could be done for beauty. I was not afraid.
Then the most curious thing. I looked below me through an opening in the floor, and kneeling with utter surprise discovered another dwelling of such beauty and majesty–fine marbled floors, a stately curving staircase leading to greater rooms and even an indoor pool. (Or was it utter surprise? Dreams are so difficult to gauge, that realm where even the most bizarre is not astonishing.)
Why was I living in this shack when under my very feet was a mansion?
Nearly as soon as my eyes took in the beauty of those impressive quarters, I heard a wind gaining strength in the distance, knowing instinctively the gales were headed my way. Suddenly, the door to the mansion below flew open and I was filled with old terror. There at the doorstep lay a girl, a waif, as if blown in by the east wind. Was this a picture of myself, was I afraid of entering into the beauty? Fear and beauty cannot live together, just as disorder and beauty cannot.
The girl stood up, revealing a pack on her back. The knap-sacked stray with long straight brown locks, unkempt with the wind, walked almost defiantly into the entry of the great mansion, and I was afraid, feeling that she did not belong here, threatened by her very presence. Was she a symbol of every fear that threatens to undo me, a whole suitcase full of anxiety?
Just today I had another perspective. I may be living in a mansion but not really living. I may have at my disposal all the riches of Heaven and be ignoring them, or just peering at them through the cracks, perhaps relegating myself to a corner. Why, oh why, would a child of God behave this way?
Such thoughts found home in me today as I walked into the guest room of my real-life house, now clean. But this room had sat a mess for months, a living specter of misorder within a mansion. Not until yesterday when the floors were cleared of shambles and every carpet tuft free of box and burden did I understand: if I exercise discipline and look closely at what I already have, I may discover that I am indeed equipped for every good work.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinithians 9:8
I’m growing in strength and beauty, but still I journey, and have miles to go before I sleep.