Thursday, November 17, 2011

GUATEMALA 2011: (33) Interpretation of a Dream

The Clouds gathered, the night fell, and I dreamed...
I stood on the poured concrete floor and looked at the walls of the room in which I stood. Sunlight filtered in through the newly installed window. The glass had been cut by Carlos, as always, because he used the proceeds to train children to paint. Two works from his studio hung in my bedroom at home.

The 6" plank walls stood 8 feet tall at the sides and peaked in the mid-line of the structure. The aluminum roof was securely nailed down and I imagined rain pelting down percussive on the metal driven into countless collisions on a wind wrought night. I smiled as I thought of Enoch, Ruth, and their two girls sleeping safely underneath as the storms raged. 

The doorway stood open as sawdust was being whisked out by the rhythmic swish and slide of a straw bound broom. We had nearly completed the house on this incredible Guatemalan mountainside. And now... it was time for my job.

An empty shelf was required to be build that extended from the wall. It was very specific... I can picture it's dimensions in my mind. While in 8th Grade, I took a semester of wood shop and one of my projects was a shelf. It was small, about the size that would hold knick-knacks or a picture frame. The shelf I was required to build... was a shelf from my past. I was knowledgeable and equipped how to construct it. This was my job alone.

I completed the shelf and I hung it securely on the wall. 

And someone immediately walked in and filled it. 

This was upsetting to me... the requirement was that I build an EMPTY shelf, and this one had been filled. And so... I constructed a second shelf, identical to the first. Again, this was a process that I took great care with, precisely following the structure and aesthetic of the shelf that I had build as a student. As with the first shelf, I fastened it securely to the wall... and it immediately became filled.

I needed an EMPTY SHELF.

And so I constructed a third... which was filled. I was becoming increasingly frustrated. I built a fourth, faster now... and it was filled. My construction was now familiar, each movement measured and precise. I didn't require the use of a rule or measure... I simply knew it's measure.

And so I build. I covered the walls of the room... and each time I completed a shelf it was filled. I moved into the second room... now constructing shelves with the ease and precision of a master craftsman. And yet... no matter how fast I produced a shelf, it was immediately filled. 

There was no space left in the second room... and so I moved to the final space in the house.

And more rapidly than even the second... I stood silent as my eyes covered every space on the walls... even the space above the door... it all was covered with shelves, and they all had been filled.

I realized that I was still required to have an empty shelf... and so I walked out the door to the outside in order to begin construction on another house. All my shelves were filled... and I needed an empty shelf... desperately. 

I felt panicked.

And then I heard a rooster crow and I awoke. I was laying in the top bunk of the Team House and it was time for breakfast.

It was the start of a beautiful day... and an actual house needed to be completed.

Who is so bold as to tell me with confidence the meaning of this dream? Comment below.


  1. It would seem you feel that no matter how much you is not enough to meet the needs of the people in Guate.

  2. It is always eye-opening to learn insights about myself. I do not want to embrace that perspective of not being adequate to help.

    The amazing part of the story of the Good Samaritan wasn't that the man in the ditch was saved... it was that the Samaritan allowed his own life to be changed.

    I want to allow myself to be changed. It isn't about me and the people of Guate, it is about me and God.

    Every shelf built held something. And there is also meaning in that. I think of the story of the kid on the beach throwing starfish back into the sea... "it mattered to that one."

  3. Thank you so much for your comment, Mom. It has my mind in high gear. My thoughts are on Oscar Schindler and how in the face of 6 million Jews being killed, he stood in the face of insurmountable odds and saved 1200. More than 7000 direct descendants of those people are alive today. It wasn't about winning... it was about doing what he could with what he had in the time he had been given. Powerful.