Friday, August 22, 2008

Öhe 27.12.93: Glühwein and Nightmares

Looking out the window now. A dreamy Baltic Sea landscape, rolling green meadow shrouded in mist, cold rain, beneath a never-varying gray sky. Houses lie nestled just beneath the last rise of the meadow, in the distance.

God. Where, who, is God in such a place, on such a day? A very bad night. My ears hum and sing. I feel constant dull pressure in my head. I awake with pounding heart, toss and turn with troubled dreams all night long.

Oddly, the evening that provoked such a night was a pleasant one. I was tired by 6 P.M., and bathed while W. took K. to the airport. When he returned, T. came to say that the neighbors had invited us all for Glühwein and snacks.

So I got dressed and we took a little walk, then went and had wine. Was nice—sitting around in a circle laughing and talking, eating and drinking. The Oma spoke no English, so W. decreed we’d speak German, and that Steve and I would stretch ourselves to do so. We did, with varying degrees of success.

Despite the relative ease I felt in the evening, I simply could not rest all night long. Dreams of Belmont Abbey College, horrible ones . . . .

E.g., I’m at Belmont Abbey, and A., the academic vice-president is there. I discover that he kneels on a towel with inscriptions on all four sides, as he speaks to the college community. The inscriptions tell him what to say, how to react, in any situation. They’re simplistic and sycophantic sayings, with only four variations: things like yes, yes; no, no, sit, stand; jump, fall.

I expose A. as a fraud and tell him he’ll receive his just reward for his dishonest behavior. He does, and meets some downfall.

Then some scene in which I look in a mirror and see my eyes, behind my glasses. They eyes shift in different ways, and finally look dead.

Then I’m teaching at a program like Loyola Institute for Ministry, though connected to Belmont Abbey. I pass a whole line of bookshelves, and there’s an essay in a book the students have found that speaks of Steve and me, in some way exposing our relationship, so that I see the students know, but value us all the more.

After this, I lecture. I tell them we’re doing it wrong by lecturing without beginning with praxis. I lead them through a door marked “Praxis,” and tell them praxis can be action on behalf of the poor, as with Bread for the World. Then I think that I should also mention action on behalf of justice for gays. So I do.

When I awoke from the dream, it was with a sense that the dream uncovers some deep, beneath-the-anguish layer of vocation, in which I can see that I am a theologian, with a calling to be one, and that I’m sometimes effective at my vocation.

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