Here it was the last week of the semester at a new school and I realized that I (the teacher) hadn’t shown up for most of my classes since early October. To make matters worse, the days I had shown up, I wasn’t teaching the students or recording any grades. Who had been watching the students while I was away? What, if anything, could be done to help the students catch up? In addition, the other teachers were on a new schedule and I didn’t where to go or what to do. My new boss was pretty understanding, but how was I going to explain this one? (I couldn’t even explain it to myself.)
And then I woke up. The dream was so intense it took a few moments to convince myself it wasn’t true. “You don’t teach high school anymore.” I then realized that I’d been dreaming the same dream for several weeks. I had similar dreams when I was in college and now, decades later, I’m still wondering if I’ve forgotten to go to class. The dream goads me with the thought that one day I might mess up. I’m haunted with the fear that someday someone might discover I that I don’t know what I’m doing. Someone will discover that I really don’t have it all together.
I know. I know. There are psychological explanations for why I had the dream: (1) We recently moved to a different state and I am three months into a new job. (2) In the midst of the move there have been a lot of changes and with new routines — lots of stuff to “juggle.” (3) In all of our unpacking I cannot find a nativity set from Haiti. The nativity is hand-carved out of a coconut. I’ve been looking for it for days now and I find myself walking around our house, opening random cabinets and drawers muttering, “Where is that coconut?”
Throughout life, my scary dreams haven’t evolved much. When I was in junior high school I had a recurring dream that I couldn’t find the right classroom — it was that last day of the semester and there was an exam to take and everyone knew where to go but me. Arriving to class late I realized that I was the only one who hadn’t dressed appropriately. (Yes, I was usually in my underwear — tidy whities to be exact.) These childhood dreams reveal my nagging fears. Fear of failure. Fear of exposure. Fear of people discovering who I really am. Deep down I’m still a kid who is trying to convince the everyone else in the room that I really have it all together.
Why is it that whenever I am presented with new opportunities, my mind moves to anxieties instead of child-like wonder and expectation? The adult in me tells me I need to be in control, fearless, flawless. But the kid in me realizes that no one else in the room has it together either. That’s okay because, in God’s eyes, we’re all just kids. We all need help. The search for the Nativity . . . The search for the Christ-child, begins when we are willing to admit that we need help. When I find Him . . . when you find Him (and you will, because He’s been searching for you all along) your fears will be exchanged for hope and wonder and expectation. In the midst of the sometimes scary dreams (life has its share of scary dreams), you will realize that you no longer have to be afraid. God came to earth as a man so that you no longer have to do life alone.
Follow my blog on Facebook, Twitter @croso1, at crosoblog.com or have a copy sent directly to your email. Calvin G. Roso © December 2015