Wisdom speaks to us, when we can listen deeply. Sometimes it comes through a dream.
Here is a story about a friend who works in a public school kitchen making meals for young children. She works side by side with women who tell her their stories. Often she listens to tales of hardship and suffering.
After an especially difficult day, she had a dream. In her dream she was told, “Santa Lucia is our patron saint.” Such dreams come as gifts. Sometimes the meaning and mystery of their images goes so beyond our conscious mind. Seeking some understanding, my friend made a google search and discovered that Santa Lucia was a martyr in the Roman Empire. She wondered if this meant that she was doing something wrong.
But somewhere she knew that there was more to the dream, and a week later, called to ask for my thoughts. To me, St. Lucia is the eternal feminine, as she would not die when the Roman’s tried to kill her. Her name is derived from lux, lucis, ‘light’ and I had read that St. Lucia is sometimes known as “The Queen of Light.” She’s celebrated in Northern European countries as the light at the beginning of the dark days of winter.
I suggested that the dream shows how she can hold a light for those around her, especially since she listens to the women’s stories. And that it hints that she not only has the ability to hold light for these women, but she can also become more aware of her own capacity for light. As we spoke, I sensed how my friend came back into relationship with her dream, and also a part of herself.
Her dream so touched me, for it revealed how the sacred inner world helps us when there is real need.
When I first brought our program for newly homeless women to a large shelter, I went to sleep one night with a wordless prayer. It came with a deep wondering, a feeling of both emptiness and uncertainty. What was it that I could bring to the women? What did they need? Upon waking the following morning, I heard two sentences, so simple and clear:
We each have a choice where we put our attention.
They are so cold.
And I knew this ‘we’ meant all of us. Inside the clarity of these words was such a tenderness, and I felt this in my heart, and in my body. I knew, then, how to be with the women.
Later that morning, as I met with a group of 8 women, sitting in a small, windowless room in the shelter, I asked them to imagine a fire in the center of our circle. We could warm ourselves from this fire – it could warm our hands, and our being. This is how I introduced the women to the circle and to a meditation of the heart. They understood that the warmth from this fire wasn’t just for us, but for others who might need it too.
So I share my friend’s dream, and my own, because they speak of the kind of knowing that we carry, that we have access to, that has to do with our oneness. This knowing helps us to hold life in our heart.
I end with a prayer that many of you might know, but it’s one that I love:
Open my heart that I may hear Thy voice that constantly comes from within.
With seasons greetings to you!