Zee wrote me on Facebook with the following suggestion for the daily Sound Off: "The Bible has a number of examples of dreams having meaning. Do you think dreams have meaning? If you are a theist do you believe God has ever spoken to you through a dream?"
My understanding is that dreams are the result of one's brain trying to sort through things while you sleep. So, it seems to me that dreams can often have psychological importance, but their meaning comes from within, as opposed to coming from God. But, if a dream seems to have deep significance, and the dreamer has faith in God already, how could I ever convince her that the dream wasn't a message from God?
Using one of the earliest dreams I can remember as an example: I was trapped in a gorilla cage at the zoo, and the gorilla was chasing me around in circles. I saw my mother outside the cage in the distance, so I cried out for her. She merely turned and looked in my direction but did not come to my aid.
I learned not long ago that dreams like this are common among children, and they represent a fear of abandonment. I was four years old when I had this dream and would have just been starting nursery school. This would have been my first time on my own, the first time my mother left me behind.
After I got married, I had several dreams that followed the pattern of one example in particular: I am outside when I spot an impending storm moving in quickly off of a lake; the clouds are marvelous to behold, but menacing at the same time, as clouds associated with severe weather often are. I stare at the lovely clouds for a bit, and then realize that the very dangerous storm is heading right for me. So, I turn to run inside, but my feet won't move quickly enough, as if I were wading through tar.
Like my marriage, the storm was something I thought was pleasant at first, but then realized that it was a dangerous situation. But by the time I realized it, I felt trapped and unable to escape.
In either case, the dream was a meaningful commentary on my life at the time of the dream. If I believed in God, I could attribute that commentary as a message from God. If I didn't believe in God, then I attribute the meaning to my own psyche.
How would you answer Zee's questions? Also, feel free to share any meaningful dreams you may have had.