I have commented before how I had not had a single dream (which I remembered after waking) of Kim, or with Kim in it. That changed last night, and I still, hours after waking, remember it with crystal clarity.
It was strange.
I’m at mass at St. Mel’s in Dearborn Heights – a church long closed, at which I haven’t attended Mass in probably 30 years, but which was our parish as I was growing up.
The church is full, as it always was in my youth. It is also configured as it was in my youth. I’m seated near the front on St. Joseph’s side (south side of the church). I get up to go use the bathroom in the crying room at the main entrance to the church. As I approach the vestibule where the door to the crying room is, I see Kim as she was before her diagnosis, in the last pew on Mary’s side. She is wearing the lightweight denim shirt she often wore, one of her favorites. She is not facing the altar but facing the glass of the crying room. The crying room is dark so the glass perfectly reflects what is behind her; the ongoing mass. She is expressionless and does not seem to notice me, and does not interact with me. I don’t try to get her attention; I just note her presence and continue on my way.
As I approach the door to the crying room, I see the room is dark, and the impression I get is that it is packed – literally packed – with no spare room. What looks like a rolled and folded newspaper or cloth is pressed against the glass in the door, but doesn’t cover the entire glass. I still see nothing but a battleship grey around the item in the window.
I turn around and start up the aisle on the south side of the church to get to the bathroom in the church hall. I look down to see I’m dressed in tan cargo shorts with my black Bulliet boots – ridiculous! As I enter the hall, there are four old ladies. Three are participating in the mass, while one is talking loudly about something else – either church politics or politics in general, I don’t recall which, but I do recall it being politics. There are still Christmas decorations hanging from the middle of the ceiling- light pink shiny garlands with large, red, shiny glass balls. As I’m approaching the point about where the kitchen is, one of these decorations slides across the floor and stops just before it gets to my path. I look up and see someone race-walking me to the men’s room. We arrive at the same time, and suddenly the hall has another hall behind it, and there is junk everywhere, among them a self-standing urinal. I recognize the man as a short, skinny man who I worked with at Ford until he retired. Unfortunately, I don’t recall his name, but his face was clear, and I know who he is – to the best of my knowledge, he had never set foot in St. Mel’s. I told him to take the room, I’ll go to the one at the north entrance to the church, near the sacristy. He said “No, that one is wrecked. Use this one – I’ll just use this urinal,” to which I reply “that’s ok, that’s all I need to do.” He goes into the bathroom, and I notice another men’s room in the new hall behind the existing hall. Being self-conscious about the ladies in the hall, I begin making my way through the stuff all over the floor – equipment of various types – toward this new room. That’s when I woke up.
Today’s verse in the morning offering from the Catholic Company is: “At present, we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12-13
Do dreams have meaning? I was told when you dream of someone who has passed, it means they need prayer (I pray for Kim’s soul every day, nonetheless). Is Kim still only seeing the face of God as if through a mirror, or is she signaling that I should be focusing more on the holy souls trapped in purgatory – represented by those packed into the crying room? Or does this dream mean something different altogether, or nothing at all?
I certainly don’t have the answer. I’ll continue to pray for both. And I’ll hope for better, sweeter dreams than this…