"That was the first dream I had last night, Job. I went to bed around 1:00 a.m., and I woke up and wrote about this dream about 5:00 a.m. But I didn't write about the dreams until I had the second one, and here it is.
If the first dream was from an employment context, in which I felt surveilled and humiliated, the second was in my family context. I was living with my family (wife and two kids--though I divorced in 2001) in some indefinable location in a house that looked similar to our homes in both Oregon and Hutchinson KS. A repair man was at the home, putting the last touches on a sort of curved concrete bridge that arched over a stream running through our property. The concrete had many cracks in it and he just finished filling them in. He was talking to my wife, and the kids were seemingly around, though they were not in the dream. They were about 12 and 7 at the time. He was explaining something to my wife. I edged into the conversation and he said in rather grim terms that he had just examined the foundations of the house and they were not good at all. As a matter of fact, they had disintegrated to such an extent that the collapse of the house was imminent. He warned us that we had to leave the house immediately.
I was taken aback by the news but said to him that we had full insurance coverage. In response, he said that he had seen this kind of disintegration before and insurance never paid for it. Then, my wife said that she would gather the kids and take them to a place that sounded very familiar to me, like a second home for us, and would be gone. There was no talk about me joining the family soon or immediately, and I was not clear whether in fact we owned this second place or were just very familiar with it. In any case, I then awoke, and wrote the dream.
I got back to sleep, I think, about 6:00 a.m. Just before awakening for the final time at 9:00 a.m., I had the following dream. I had received some kind of report, which I think was from a medical professional but I wasn't really sure who said it, that I was going to die. I had some terminal condition that would take me very quickly. But, for some reason, I was going to die not peacefully in my bed but at a large banquet for hundreds of people that I would soon attend. The dream then seemed to go in two directions--I would die at the banquet because of ingesting some kind of pill or I would die at the banquet because someone was planning to shoot me. Indeed, when I arrived, I went to a side room where someone shot me. I laid down on the floor, expecting to die, but I didn't. I concluded that the wound had only been a superficial one, and that I should arise and go to the dinner.
I went into the spacious dining banquet hall, and recalled that I needed to try to talk to the emcee, who happened to be a lawyer in the firm where I formerly worked, to tell him that I would be taking some pills that would end my life during the dinner. I thought he would then announce it to the crowd. But, I couldn't get to him, either because he was surrounded by people or because I just couldn't find him. So, I took my seat at the banquet table, had a pleasant conversation with some people nearby and then took some pills, which I thought would be fatal. But they weren't. So, I decided to get up between the end of the meal and beginning of the program to wander around the hotel, to see if I could find the guy who shot me and see if he wanted to finish the job. I looked around the hotel for quite some time but was unable to locate him. So, I returned to the banquet room, where the program was just finishing. After all were dismissed, I decided to take one more swing through the hotel to see if I could find my shooter. But, I could not. Then, I awoke.
Job, you know I think you could go a number of different directions in interpreting these dreams. If you talk about them to women, they all say the same thing--"why don't you go see a shrink to help you with them?" It is as if the female gender is under contract with all shrinks to act as their agents for business. I have tried four or five psychologists, Job, and it didn't ever work. I am not going to get into that now, though I think I have some insight into that. In any case, that is a woman's response to my dreams. But I am curiously drawn to Elihu, Job, and to his "read" of dreams. I think his theory that dreams are to "keep them (the dreamers) from pride" is the one that makes most sense to me now, Job. I bet before you were terrified with dreams, Job, that you were pretty self-confident and even prideful, don't you think? But, I bet that you even took the dreams as another indication of your superiority to God. You didn't see their educative potential, did you, Job? You are even more stubborn than I, aren't you? It is almost impossible for me to conceive of that, but I bet it is true. Thus, by the time Elihu speaks in ch.33, you still haven't learned to see your dreams as "instructional gifts" from God. So, Elihu has to help you out in so viewing them. If you listen to them in that light, Job, they really do break down your pride. They do so by exposing your fears, letting you ruminate on them, showing you that your fears are part of the common lot of human fears, and then letting you awake and realize that you still have breath. It is a gift that the terrors of the dreams are really not true, and it is a "warning" to listen to the deep human rhythms that touch us all, rather than simply the zany beats of our individual consciousness. How's that for biblical scholarship, Job?