One time I dreamed I was at the crucifixion.
How's that for an opening sentence? But it's true. It was the most realistic, pivotal, and unforgettable dream that I have ever had in my 55 years of life on this planet.
It wasn't during the Easter season or even Spring when I had this dream. Actually it was in October, I think. I hadn't been studying any particular part of Scripture that was lingering with me when I went to bed. I think that's one reason it weighed so heavily on my mind- it took me totally by surprise. That and the fact that I was at the crucifixion.
I was lying on the ground. It was a grassy hill and I was on my stomach. I was wearing black and I had my head covered; I was looking ahead at three crosses. The sky was light pink and green and yellow- like a twilight sky, but it wasn't twilight and the colors were not bright. Very pale. The crosses looked black against the sky. The air was cool and still.
As I looked at the crosses I knew there were men on each of them. And I knew the one in the center was Jesus. He was in agony. I must have known Him because my heart was so heavy with despair. I knew He was dying and there was nothing I could do.
In the dream I knew I had been there for some time. Hours. I had crawled along the hill to be as close as I dared to go. I was filled with more desperation as I heard him cry "'Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" I couldn't understand something. Things felt odd and confusing. Why would God be forsaking Him? I didn't know then that Jesus could not be One with the Father because He had taken on my sin. There could be no sin in the presence of God. I knew that I deserved this kind of death, not The Sinless One. There was stirring at the cross, the guards doing something. Clanging of metal armor and coins.
Then I heard Him say "It is finished." I understood the meaning behind the phrase; that His work on Earth was completed. He had done what He was intended to do.
I lay as still as I could lay. My hands were gripping the ground with every bit of strength I had. I could smell the earth beneath me, I could feel the blades of grass between my fingers. A layer of gray covered the sky behind the crosses. The hillside shook. I was shaking as well.
Then I woke up.
My heart was racing. I looked around my room. I knew I would never be the same. Even today, as I write this, I can still smell the moist grass and I can still feel the ground beneath me. And I can still look upon that cross with amazement. But I feel no despair as I did in my dream. I feel no confusion. For I know that my sin was paid for on that hill and that my promise of everlasting life was fulfilled when Jesus left the tomb. My hope lies in an empty grave.
I know that, at the time of my dream, I was enduring some pretty heavy issues. I remember that life was difficult at work. I was facing conflicts and doubts and deception. That dream left me quaking but confident in the simplicity of my faith. No matter what troubles surround me. No matter the stress. No matter the hurt. No matter the insult. No matter...what. It all pales in the shadow of the cross and there is no room for doubt in that empty grave.
I didn't really speak of my dream for a while. I told my husband, but no one else for some time. As you can imagine, it was quite disturbing. The events throughout the day seemed so trivial. Oh, the printer out of ink and we have the wrong cartridge? Guess what? I dreamed of Golgotha- I'm kind of preoccupied right now. To have been allowed some kind of emotional glimpse into the most important part of my faith, to be unconsciously there...but wait.
Wasn't I there? Weren't we all, really? Our sins were. They were right there on His heart and mind when He was being brutalized, suffering, and dying.
So as I contemplate the events of this Good Friday I do so with a different perspective now.
You see, I was there.