The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Starting off the new year with a post not really about the new year.

I have always found dreams to be so fascinating. Where does the subject matter and imagery come from? My subconscious has some pretty boring stuff in it usually -- I never dream anything that is physically impossible (so no flying, no dinosaurs, no magic, etc.). And yet I still manage to have the oddest dreams. The last two nights have been particularly awful specimens.

Two nights ago, I dreamed that a dear friend of mine was in an accident. He reads this, so he'll remain nameless. I remember that there was a car accident, and then that he regained consciousness -- I don't know how long he was unconscious. So we're all overjoyed that he's conscious, blah blah blah, and suddenly, he doesn't know any of us. We all reintroduce ourselves to him, explaining our relationships to see if we'll trigger something, but he's lost. And because it was a dream, it was possible for him to have lost all his memory of us, but not of knowing his own name, or of speaking or walking or knowing what a hospital was or what a mother was or all other social constructs. It was as though he'd simply lost all memory of his relationships. We tried showing him photographs of us, read him words he'd written us, but to no avail. It was like he had died, but also we had died. Because as much as he had lost his identity, we'd lost the parts of our identity that came through him. It was a feeling of despair I have never felt from a real-life event. It was such a powerful emotion that I really feel like that scenario would be a version of hell (if there was one). I don't know if being in his position or mine would be more painful, but it was really unbearable. I woke up before there was any semblance of resolution, but I imagine that we just had to start our lives over.

And last night, in my dream, I was at a huge celebration with a bunch of people from CLU. I'm pretty sure we were in Lundring (hahaha) but it was way bigger. So maybe we were in Gilbert? I don't know. Regardless, there were a bunch of tables and everyone was eating and drinking and laughing and there was a presentation being made by ReShai [our trusty King/President, even in my dreams, haha]. The whole time I was flooded with memories of CLU -- it was so joyful. All I really recall about who else was there was that Ben was at my table. Maybe this was a dream about missing Ben and ReShai? [Maybe we need to do more work on being class reps.] But it got awful, quickly. It turned out that ReShai had thrown this party because he was dying. He had gathered us all together because he was going to die, and he wanted to tell all of us at once, and have it be the last time he saw any of us. I don't know of what he was dying or when he would die but it was imminent and it was devastating.

So what does this mean? Of course my life is defined by those with whom I am in relationships. That seems like a given. But why am I in such distress about them? Subconscious -- chill out.

In order to make this a slightly new year related post, I'll resolve to make sure to love my friends before they die/get in wack accidents. And to stress less in real life about them, so hopefully I can stress less in dream-life. New Year resolutions are so useless. But my relationships are always worth treasuring.

Thanks, Rachel (and Mary Oliver).

I hate to break it to you, but your pessimist progressivism is conservatism.