Last spring I wrote this dream down in one of my journals but since moving out here I think I lost that journal. Damn. I’ve been meaning to type it out so I guess sooner would be better than later. It’s funny because I had just wrapped up a series of reflections based on my work at the drop-in for street kids and the shelter for men in Toronto. I was in the middle of wrapping up my TA job developing a course called “Youth and Homelessness”. That Toronto chapter of my life was in the midst of ending when I had this dream.
I was riding the train to go and visit my brother who was in the hospital recovering from surgery. I took the Subway to Union Station and then hopped on the GO Train to Oakville. Somehow I ended up sitting next to a couple of younger girls who turned out to be street-involved. I chatted with them, especially one girl, who’s name, I found out, was Krista. She was 19 and had been street-involved since she was 12. It’s sort of embarrassing and I wouldn’t mention this if I didn’t think it was significant but, in the dream, there was a flirtatious element to our conversation.
Anyway, I got to my destination, spent the day visiting my brother and his wife and ended up back at Union Station waiting for the Subway home. Looking around the crowd on the platform I noticed Krista in the act of propositioning a young man. It turns out that the young man was a tourist and was traveling with his mother! The mother absolutely freaked out and started yelling at Krista, calling her a slut, a whore, basically every demeaning name she could think of came flying out of her mouth. Well, Krista is embarrassed and upset and starts yelling back at the mom, things like, “You don’t know me, you don’t know what I’ve been through! You can’t judge me!” The mom just keeps screaming though and I end up getting furious, because, fuck, she doesn’t know what Krista’s been through. I know enough to know that I can’t imagine what it would be like. I walk over and end up intervening, pulling Krista aside and riding the train back to Finch Station with her. On the way we end up talking about all sorts of things, God and suffering, life and love and our various experiences. When we arrive in the Station the whole place is empty, closed for the night, but it turns out Krista had swung a deal to make a little extra money cleaning the floors. I volunteer to help her and end up working down at the track level while she goes to work on the level of the buses. Time goes by, I finish my job and decide to go home. I head up the stairs and run into three construction workers heading down to the tracks. They look completely shocked, freeze-up and stare at me with open mouths. At first I thought they were just surprised to find me there but they just keep staring and I start wondering, “okay, what the hell is going on here?” Finally, one of them approaches me sort of timidly and half whispers, half stutters, “ummmm… y-y-your glowing.” For a minute I get a glimpse of myself from outside of myself and I realize there is a white light shining off of my face and letters of fire written above my head.
At that point I start waking up. I enter into that state where you’re partly awake but still in the middle of your dream. I start to wonder if there is something significant going on. My first reaction is to think that the light represents my Christian identity – called to be a light to the world. So I decide I’ve got to find Krista and share this light with her. But after searching through the station I’m unable to find her and decide that there’s a different interpretation.
That’s when I think of two things simultaneously. The first is Moses coming down from the mountain after meeting with God. After being in the presence of the Divine there is a light that shines from Moses’ face. The second is realizing that “Krista” doesn’t have to be spelled with a “K”. If spelled “Christa” it is actually a feminine form of the word “Christ”. Then everything falls into place. It is in our encounters with the oppressed that we meet with Christ, it is in the suffering that we discover the presence of the Divine, and it is by journeying in relationship with these people that we then become lights to the world. That also explains the whole flirtatious element that seemed so out of character – at the same time as this dream I was just beginning to pursue the idea of knowing God as Lover.
The funny thing is what tipped me off to this interpretation. There is an abandoned house in the neighborhood where I was living and I sometimes went there to journal or just think. It was good to get some time away from everything, I enjoyed the solitude that comes in the midst of the noises made by a house in the state of slow decay. The night before I had gone to that house and found a book on the kitchen counter (that actually wasn’t there the last time I visited). It’s funny because it was a book that I already owned – a series of reflections by the priest who started Covenant House called, “Sometimes God has a Kid’s Face”.