“If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on now,
'Cause there's too many places I've got to see.
But, if I stayed here with you now,
Things just couldn't be the same.
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I can't change.
Won’t you fly high, Free Bird, yeah?”
(Freebird lyrics by Lynyrd Skynyrd)
What!?! Are you kidding!?! (I know that’s what you’re thinking…) And, NO, I’m not!
I found myself dreaming a very vivid dream the other night related to a very real situation going on in my life lately. At one point this song, and those specific lyrics I listed above, was playing clearly in the background. At the same time, I (in my dream) was crying a gut-wrenching, painful, nearly silent cry. I awakened from the dream right then crying that same silent, tearless, gut-wrenching, breath-taking, ab-hurting, painful cry. After a short time of being awake, finally one or two small tears came…then the cry and the emotions from the dream were over. Just like that!
I think the Dream discussion group I observed while at Barnes & Noble the other day would have had a field day with that one! (I did leave out many vivid, interesting details here, which I do still remember.)
As far as dreams go, I personally think that many of them are truly random, primarily meaningless times of “mind clean-up”, if you will. Maybe some way of getting rid of all of the random clutter that lingers in our minds from day to day. (Trust me, I’m no expert on this…just my thoughts on the subject.) However, I do believe that some of them are truly purposeful. Think about it. It’s the one and only time of our bustling days that we are truly a (mostly) silent, (mostly) still, captive audience. After all, “He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4)
Sometimes the purpose or meaning of them seems obvious, and sometimes it is. Sometimes what seems to be the obvious meaning may not quite be the case, as I think was the case with my dream I described. Obviously, since it was so closely related to my current situation I mentioned before, then it just must be about that. Hmmm… Not so sure about that.
Allow me to explain.
You see, I tend to jot notes (or virtually jot them, rather, in my BlackBerry I keep at my bedside as my alarm clock) about things I feel like I need to remember to write about or look up later. I jotted a couple of these things down from this dream when I found myself unable to fall back asleep. When I went back to them a couple of days later, I really wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with them. Then, I looked back at a separate set of notes which I had been jotting down on another topic. I had a verse listed there and looked it up. Nothing really stood out. Then, I “zoomed out” and read the entire surrounding chapter. That’s when the “aha moment” began to happen. It led me to further digging.
The chapter was Genesis 8 – about Noah and his family and the animals in the ark at the end of the flood. (I love how the chapter begins “But God remembered Noah…” – that’s a topic for a whole other post!) Anyway, the verses that stood out the most to me in relation to this dream were 6-12.
"After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him."
I hope you not only noticed the dove, but also the raven. Mind you, I haven’t searched all of the commentaries and Hebrew meanings of all of this quite yet (though all of that would be interesting). I merely am sharing what was impressed upon me.
The Raven and the Dove – both became “Free Birds” in this amazing, God-ordained point in our blessed history. Both became free at just the right time. The raven, apparently, was meant to be free much sooner. I imagine the raven is a much different personality-type of bird than the dove. Maybe he’s a born roamer. (Though he did stay in the ark the entire time before then…good for him!) And the dove…well, the dove wanted to be much more sure of where she was heading before she just took off and stayed away from what was once her familiar, comfortable safe place…her home. She wanted to know that she had somewhere safe to land and nest. Once she did, however, she too became a “Free Bird”. (Please don’t think these feminine and masculine descriptors of them are anything more than poetic license, if you will! It just felt right and sounded good…no deeper meaning intended.)
Had these two birds not taken their flights of faith and become free (from the ark), Noah and his family might have missed getting out of the boat when and where God intended for them to do so. Had they not “traveled on” and “seen other places”, but rather “stayed there” with Noah and the ark, “things (truly) just wouldn’t be the same”. Thank God some “birds we cannot change”. “Fly high, Free Birds!”
I did also find a couple of other correlations between these two birds and faith and freedom…some very beautiful ones!!!
The Raven (no, not the Edgar Allen Poe one!)
- God sent ravens to feed his prophet Elijah bread & meat in the morning & evening (1 Kings 17). Elijah was following God’s instructions by faith and trusting Him for his very food and drink and was at the same time being led by God from place to place to minister for Him and to be ministered to as well.
- God provides food for even them (Job 38:41, Psalm 147:9, Luke 12:24), how much more does He care for and provide for us!
The Dove (This one is beautiful!)
- The dove was one of the birds used (as instructed by God) when God made His covenant with Abram (Genesis 15).
- The dove was allowed by God for the Old Testament Jews to use it as an offering in place of a lamb if the person could not afford a lamb (Leviticus). We no longer need to worry about this type of offering, because Jesus shed His blood for us (remember our Journey through John!?!) as our sacrificial Lamb! He died once and for all and paid the ultimate price for OUR sin, sin He NEVER committed, so that we would be covered by His blood (read up on what all of that means in Leviticus) once and for all. We either have His blood covering us, or we don’t. His blood = eternal life and ultimate FREEDOM!
- In Isaiah there are references to Israel “moaning mournfully like a dove” (Isaiah 38 & 59). This reminded me of my crying during this dream.
- And, of course, the Spirit of God descended in the form of a dove at Jesus baptism just as God spoke for all who were around to hear and said "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (as noted in 3 of the four gospels – Matthew, Mark, & Luke, and you can read John’s account of it during your Journey through John).
I give you all of these references, sometimes not the verses but merely the chapter or just the entire book, so that you can go and look for yourself. There is so much more to study here, even beyond what I have already studied. Take the time sometime when/if you feel led and look up some or all of them and see what interesting and awesome things God shows you!
So, back to the dream…I wonder what the shattered LP record meant…or the broken toilet seat!?!
Oh, well, guess some things are better left in the dream!