I had a dream the other night. Satan, through one of his minions, offered Rich and I keys to a luxurious, fully furnished home in the heart of a city–free of charge. I don’t recall seeing what the home looked like from the outside. It seems the dream began as we entered the front door…
Just inside the entry was a sunlit room of floor to ceiling windows on two sides. Uncharacteristic of the rest of the home, it was barren and grimy and the windows were dingy. The view was of a busy city intersection–many vehicles, hustle and bustle. No city sounds, though. The room must have been sound proof. It was anything but welcoming–I remember thinking I could work with it, though…turn it into something we’d use (good for people watching).
The rest of the home was in the style of an old English estate: dark wood, luxurious fabrics, stately drapery, etc. It had a lofted area (that I never did see) over the living room area, which made for a high ceiling and a sense of grandeur. The regular trappings of an estate were present in the main living areas: fireplaces, high ceilings, spacious areas, leather furniture, leisure activities, etc. There were many bedrooms and bathrooms, sparkling clean, fully furnished (towels and toothpaste even) and ready to go, which was fortuitous as we had many children to house (yes, they came for the tour and delighted in the surroundings). It was all so well coordinated and homey. The master bedroom and bathroom took my breath away. I just loved the place!
A few anomalies were present, though. There was an under developed backyard area: a single windowless door led out to a poorly kept grassy area that was shaded by a lone tree. The yard was large and looked out on a beautiful body of water (maybe a large lake). The only glitch in the view was a busy highway between the end of the backyard and the water. I wondered why, with so much invested in the home, that this had been overlooked. Again, I thought we’d figure out a way to make it usable, figure out a way to maximize the water view while minimizing the highway sights and sounds.
The music room was another “Huh?”. It was a dimly lit walk-in closet sized room with an upright piano. There was barely enough room to get behind the keyboard and absolutely no place for audience seating. Next door was the diningroom, which was abnormally small: the “too small for our family” table was situated awkwardly with only a few chairs around it; there was no lighting beyond what came through the window. It felt much more like a storage room that had a table and chairs in it, than anything like a dining area. At this point in the dream, I began to smell a skunk–I began to wonder if this “free house” had an underside. I only have a snapshot of the kitchen in my mind: it was dimly illumined, painted gray, very plain and without appliances or food. Nothing was ready to go there…
At one point Rich and I met up with a pencil thin barrister in the home’s well furnished conference room/office area (which held rows of leather laden desks and a large viewing screen). He was as you’d expect: elderly, dressed to the nines and very well spoken. The only thing I found disconcerting was the one side of his face that was rotted out…black and hideous. He came presenting the contract to the home and instructed us where to sign. It was all so simple and easy: just sign at the top, receive the keys and move in immediately, free of charge. The place would be ours!
I opted to look around a bit more first. With our kids in tow, I felt God leading me down a long, barren hallway that had a door at the end of it to the basement. As we approached it, the door swung open and up came a brood of children with their nanny. They were ill kempt with greasy hair, rotten teeth and poor manners. They seemed real, but I could tell they weren’t real…they were too shadowy. And then, before they headed back down the set of stairs, the nanny mentioned something about roaming the house at night. With all my “we can make this work, we can live here” thinking, I knew this last piece of information was not something I could work with. I knew God had led me here so that I would have all the information I needed to make a wise decision (it was as if He was pulling out the stops, saying “NO, don’t do this! Can’t you see where this is heading?!”) . At that point, I knew couldn’t, in good faith, choose to subject my children to living in a home that was at the mercy of demonic entities (that demons would reside in Satan’s house is obvious upon reflection…I guess in the dream I just needed it handed to me upon a silver platter) . Nothing was worth that… We refused the “gracious” offer and left, even though we had no home to go to, even though we were homeless. With God’s help and wisdom we turned our back on the temptation to say “yes” to what Satan offered. Even though it was a freebie, the toll that living there would exact on our wellbeing and relationship with God just wasn’t worth the cost. I recall walking away from the home feeling ashamed for even considering such an offer, for actually toying with the temptation to say “yes” to Satan and accept his provision for our need. I hung my head and slouched away…
The dream ended there, but before I sign off, I’d like to unpack a few details about the home’s anomalies…kinda read into them, if I may… The fact that a sunlit room was dingy, unfurnished and unused seems pretty predictable for a house offered by the prince of darkness…that one is easy (in fact it is surprising there was such a room…but maybe that there was one and that it was ill kept reveals how Satan disregards sunlit spaces). The music room, though, was surprising…makes me think there is something about tasteful music that Satan hates–that there is something about melody that stirs a person’s awareness of God/that rings of heaven, which Satan discourages. The kitchen and diningroom deficiencies are likely evidence that with Satan no one is fed/edified except hell’s parasitic entities. The outdoor space may signify how unimportant Satan deems God’s creation. And then there is that highway between the yard and the water. Water may symbolize awareness of God and/or the unconscious…something that a busy, noisy, view blocking highway would surely keep at bay (no pun intended :)).
Also, just as I slipped off into this very vivid, sensorial dream I recall asking God to help me know whether this personal time of crisis is being used by Him to purge me of attachment to worldly things or whether it is being used to purge my willfulness so that my will would line up with His Will (for Saint John of the Cross students: I was asking Him whether I was in the Dark Night of the Sense or Dark Night of the Spirit). I’d say this dream was His answer to that prayer–thanks God!
PHOTO: (http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/upload/img_400/bedroom_14_view_1.jpg;) creative commons license–permission to publish)