Finding Hope in Hostage Negotiations and Stage 4 Cancer

“Hope. Giving people hope was the center of my job. Someone was going through with a divorce, I told them they’d get through it, have an opportunity to find someone who could help them find happiness. Someone was jobless or had financial struggles, I told them resources and opportunities existed, and that we could help them find something to meet their needs. Someone who was fighting with an addiction, I told them we’d get them help and talked to them about those I’ve met who were in similar straits. But what about those who had a life threatening diagnosis like what I have right now? I had nothing back then. I was an avid atheist. But now, looking back, I see that God is the only source of hope for something you can’t help but feel so powerless in.”

Some time back, I had a rich blessing to speak to a hostage negotiator with stage 4 cancer.

Paul had a lifelong career in law enforcement, and 10+ years of his service in law enforcement was as a hostage negotiator. Paul shared with me that he was still a relatively new cop responding as backup to a situation of a man holding a gun and threatening to shoot himself. Paul witnessed the hostage negotiator—an older cop not new to his role—act less than empathic in this situation, his patience dwindling after hours of talking with the gunman. Paul told me that witnessing the older cop in the situation was a kind of challenge to him, a solemn vocation to be more empathic than the last guy. This was not a task of hubris, I believe, for Paul, but a God-given vocation to rise to a challenge and grow in a particularily challenging field.

Paul shared of multiple hostage negotiations he deescalated, most of all of them being suicidal situations, wherein a gunman was more of a threat to themself rather than anyone nearby. Paul shared his gratitude for his success rate, but also shared of the hardships he faced. He recalled events that carried him from one day into the next, overnights to seriously troubled individuals. As a parenthetical, in the various sectors of counseling, there is usually a boundary with time, an agreed upon limit as to how effective a counselor’s support/listening can be. Some crisis’ I’ve been asked to be present to have benefitted from hours of presence and empathy, though most one-on-one conversations top out in their usefulness by about an hour; after that hour, the counselor’s own fatigue can wear on the quality of empathy and presence wherein a follow up would be more appropriate. Not for Paul, though. This gentleman had spent 12+ hours with those in dark places and dire straits.

I was fascinated with Paul’s line of work, myself curious of the talents, gifts, and training needed to work in such a delicate field that required both tact and empathy. I asked Paul what helped him in those trying encounters, what tools he frequently called upon when being present to these crisis’.

“Hope. Giving people hope was the center of my job. Someone was going through with a divorce, I told them they’d get through it, have an opportunity to find someone who could help them find happiness. Someone was jobless or had financial struggles, I told them resources and opportunities existed, and that we could help them find something to meet their needs. Someone who was fighting with an addiction, I told them we’d get them help and talked to them about those I’ve met who were in similar straits. But what about those who had a life threatening diagnosis like what I have right now? I had nothing back then. I was an avid atheist. But now, looking back, I see that God is the only source of hope for something you can’t help but feel so powerless in.”

Last Thanksgiving, Paul received a diagnosis of having Stage 4 Cancer (pancreatic if memory serves). The doctors gave him a couple of years if he underwent treatment. It was a hard holiday season to get through, to see family with knowledge of the finitude of his life. Hard feelings were shared, feelings of injustice and bitterness. Paul felt some despair, a feeling of purposelessness and helplessness. He had a Catholic upbringing but his heart-breaking experiences he’d seen in his work inclined him only to turn further away from God. Although he identified as an atheist, he wondered why God would allow him this diagnosis to surprise him without warning, why life had to be cut short in his 60s. 

Among those Paul spoke to, a family friend approached him after the holidays, told him that in light of this new diagnosis that he had to find Christ, he had to reinvigorate his faith. Paul told me that he was at first resistant to these conversations, but this friend of his was a trusted confidant and he thought he at least afforded the man some consideration. The family friend shared how the only hope one can find as we confront our mortality is the one who has saved us from death, the one whom conquered death.

After many conversations with this friend, after many prayers, many readings of Scripture, Paul felt his heart soften, his curiosity build. Paul began praying himself to know the Lord, and slowly he felt a load lifted from his shoulder, found some hope and light while staring down the sadness of his illness and while reflecting on the tragic experiences he had seen.

“Thank God nobody ever died on my watch, in those I talked off the brink. We always got them help. That being said, I can only imagine how much more impactful some of my conversations could have been if only I knew then what I know now: that the only hope one can have when all things seem hopeless is to find Christ, our creator, our savior.”

Paul continued to return to those memories of speaking with those who lost hope because of a poor diagnosis/prognosis, because of insurmountable pain from a health condition. Paul gained no perspective in this diagnosis, of utter helplessness and hopelessness. While I have no doubt that he gave 200% of his heart and soul in those encounters, I imagine the work he did would only be further magnified and long-lasting knowing what he knows now.

Paul intended to continue to speak to his friends in law enforcement, to share with him the wisdom he learned over the years and the wisdom and hope he has learned since getting this diagnosis. 

When we find ourselves in a similar role as counselor—even if it’s not as intense as “hostage negotiator”–we sometimes are tempted to patch up problems, find hope in other avenues. I confess, in my work I often turn to the secular first when in this role of counselor. It should be a reminder to all of us that our only hope is in the all-poweful, that the Lord gives us some interventions to scratch the itches we find. That being said, the ultimate goal is not for the Lord to make us self-sufficient, but to lean on Him, to understand our powerlessness and recognize His power, to not be isolated from the Lord but in full communion with Him.

When we find ourselves in hopeless straits, we ought not turn to the Lord looking for one fix so that we may return to our isolated ways away from Him, but seek a new way that affords His light to shine in every day, to bless every action, word, and endeavor of our days.

May we continue to open our hearts and minds to Him, especially in times of hopelessness, be patient for His glory to shine forth. And when we see His glory, may that live in us each day going forward.

Why Do We Call Simon Peter?

And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it.

-Matthew 16:18

Not too long ago, I was asked the nature of Simon being named Peter. 

It was a question that forced me to pause, not because I thought the answer too obvious. The question itself, I detected, had a great deal of curiosity behind it, a mining of meaning in this very formative moment in Peter’s journey as a disciple.

So why was Jesus’ disciple Simon renamed Peter?

It’s important for us to examine how the disciples show up in the New Testament.

When we look at the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, we see Peter really taking center stage out of the twelve. Just behind him is John, though Peter tends to be far more memorable to us for all that he said and did whereas John tends to be depicted as more passive yet nontheless close to Christ.

It is Peter who declares boldly that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and the same disciple that falls on his face in repentance seeing Christ bring the miracle of the haul of fish. Peter is the one who acknowledges Christ’s power and asks to be allowed to walk on water, but also is the disciple who’s doubt is manifest to the other eleven and to the rest of history. Peter boldly swears to die with Christ and draws his own blade to fight for Him in the garden, and he is also the one who denies Christ three times. While Thomas does go on record once in his boldness of saying, “let us go to die with Him” (John 11:16), Peter’s boldness is a reoccurring theme in the Gospel and Acts accounts.

Besides John, Thomas, and Judas, the rest of the disciples fade in the narrative. We get to know Judas’ deception and love for money. We get to see John’s closeness with Jesus. We get to see Thomas’ zeal before he begins to doubt. The rest of the disciples personality and works unfortunately are not well covered in canonical scripture. Peter is the star, and in just about every film adaptation of the New Testament it is Peter that is often given special spotlight.

And for good reason.

As mentioned already, Peter is the consistently bold disciple, but with his imperfections. Peter enjoys so many peaks in the Gospel accounts, but he has so many human moments of weakness. We sometimes, unfortunately, categorize Peter as a bad example of faithfulness while failing to give credence to his triumphs and later works—similar to how Thomas is ONLY remembered for doubting. Peter doubts, Peter calls himself sinful, Peter promises to kill and does even maim in Christ’s name, and Peter denies Christ three times. And yet Peter is restored at the end, and his ministry is powerful in Acts. But most of all, Simon is called Peter, the Rock, the rock on which Christ builds His Church.

This goes to Simon Peter, not to anyone else, not even John.

Consider the disciple and evangelist John for a moment. He is continually called the beloved disciple, a disciple close to Jesus. He is the author of John—or at least its narrator—and most commonly attributed as well to the Book of Revelation. John doesn’t have a negative account in the narrative. In fact, when the other eleven disciples failed to show up at the foot of the Cross, John was there. It’s often interpreted that John’s showing up at the Cross was reason for his escape from martyrdom, that he already risked his life being a witness to the crucifixion. John is not called Peter, not given this incredible new identity and responsibility from Christ. And it’s nothing against John. That being said, there’s something powerful about Christ’s appointment of Simon Peter.

Simon Peter represents both the potentiality of the Church as well as its flaws. Simon Peter is the rock the Church is founded on because he shows up in his walk with Christ and in his ministry with zeal, despite how brash it sometimes can come across. And Peter has his moments of weakness. Christ blesses Peter with this role, blessing the zeal the Church is to embody while also recognizing our human error.

Often the Church—Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, whether it be a parish or a synod–comes under scrutiny for its ability to err. “The institution of the Church” is a too common scapegoat for the modern Christian, spiritualist, and secularist. We find ourselves allergic to the association of the church because of what we think we know about history. Yes, there have been abuses of power, from the lay level to the episcopal level. But Christ appointed Simon Peter as the rock for His Church. Peter nearly murdered in Christ’s name and had acted “un-Christian” in his denial. But just as we ought not focus solely on Peter’s shortcomings and instead consider his zeal and goodness, so too the Church should be afforded some similar credence. While members of the Church have not always been faithful and sometimes overzealous as Peter, the Church also is an agent of truth and healing like Peter. As much as we like to point fingers and shout out “but what about the scandals and crusades” we need to pause and evaluate the institutions of healing they’ve also provided, the refuge it has been in war for the ostracized, the supporter of the sick, orphaned, and widowed through its instituted agencies. 

Simon Peter reminds us of Christ’s trust to us despite our shortcomings. He didn’t call the qualified to this task, he qualified the called. 

If you think you’re unworthy to serve Christ, think on Simon Peter’s shortcomings as well as his triumphs and realize that Christ can and will teach us how to direct our zeal. If you think your priest, pastor, church cannot be trusted because of its humanness, remember you are just as human as Peter and that the institution is what Christ trusted and ordained. 

Afterall, Christ did not come for the healthy, but for the sick.

Hard Nuts – The Story of Moving a Boulder of an Old Man

There was a gentleman I spoke to not long ago who had trouble with a lot of hardships in his life, mostly of medical issues growing more complicated as he got older. He was already into his 80s, goes to dialysis three times a week, and each time he goes he’s drained of his energy. He told me that he’s pretty sure he slept non-stop for three days, though I’m sure he was disoriented by his stay in the hospital.

I spoke to him because his sister was concerned about his mood, about his attitude. She had become her brother’s keeper though this task had been wearing her down. From the sister, to the nurse, to even what I observed, the patient was short-tempered, bitter, negative, and angry. He absolutely had the right to be too. His life had become this dance of going to the hospital and going back home, of being treated for one thing just for another thing to pop up. He goes to clean his body through dialysis just to spend his body’s energy for the rest of the day.

I’d been tasked by the nurse and the sister to address the depression, to provide some special kind of blessing through either prayer or conversation. Again, from the outright, the old man hardly gave me the time of day. He said he was fine, but if you asked him about the competency of the staff, the quality of the hospital, or anything else he’d tell you what was wrong with the system. Nonetheless, he’d settle down, say everything was fine, say he’d get on with it. 

I do my best to avoid small talk, to get to some big talk, even get people to open up about their history so that people will feel trusting to share more. I asked him where he was from, he said Michigan, and basically left it at that, commenting briefly only on the change of weather but how people were “smarter” up north and how everyone was a bigot in the south. Then we talked about work. He mentioned working for Nasa for a few years, and despite how interesting I remarked that was he said “it was just a job, nothing special, humanity comes up with new stuff, what’s new.” Then i asked about recreation, he bitterly said there wasn’t much for him to do in the hospital and he was resistant to reading. I asked what he’d done for recreation before the hospital, he said “everything you can think of” though when I asked about the most common retirement hobbies (fishing and golf) he spoke negatively of both. Lastly we got to God. He did mention believing in God, and that one HAD to believe in God, but that wasn’t sufficient for me.

“What’s your belief in God look like?”

“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Him.”

“So you’re grateful?”

“I am grateful. For a lot of things, for a lot of blessings.”

“Such as?”

“Well, to be alive. I keep having health problems, and I keep getting back up, all becaues of Him.”

“That must fill you with a sense of purpose.”

“What do you mean?”

“Most people, when they recover or find themselves coping with health struggles, usually ask about a sense of purpose: why does God keep me alive.”

“All I know is that He keeps me alive, and i’m happy about that.”


“Okay, and what about your relationship with God? Do you pray?’
“Sure, here and there, not like three hours at a time.”

“What’s that look like for you?”

“I thank Him for my blessings.”

I didn’t push it. I knew he’d keep me in circles with his vagueness.

We ended the conversation with him saying his room was too cold, though I was sweating as I spoke to him about nothin in particular for just under half an hour. I told him I’d ask the nurse if we could raise the room temp or get warm blankets.

“Young man, you don’t understand. They can’t get me anything. Their damn hands are tied. You’re not going to get me a blanket. They’re not going to do shit for me. They don’t do anything, they’re so inept.”

We talked a little about his frustration about how miserable it is to be stuck in the hospital, but then he bounced back to his common answer, “but I’m fine, and i’ll be fine. I’m okay,” as though he hadn’t raised his voice or cussed at all.

I asked if I could pray for him, he limply said that would be okay if I did. I can’t remember what intentions I lifted up, but I think I asked for the Lord’s peace and joy to visit him. Then I left the room, and the nurse and the sister looking up at me expectantly.

“Did you give him a special blessing?” The sister asked me.

“We prayed and we talked,” I answered.

The sister happened to also be a medium. Though I disagreed with her sense of spirituality I was grateful that she was transparent of her own difficulty with her brother as well as being transparent about their upbringing. She mentioned that there was verbal and physical abuse growing up and that she felt spirits had led her to find healers in her life. I asked if her brother felt his emotions and voice had been “quashed” in their home environment. She said he kept all his anger inside, always did, and became a bitter person throughout. The sister asked me if I could stop by agian later to check in on him. I hadn’t a whole lot of time that day for an especially hard nut to crack, but I told her I’d try if I had time. I left just as the nurse braved going back into the room again as she said with a belabored look, “here I go to get beat up again.” The sister and I were silent. We’d all been given quiet a bit of grief from him.

I did end up circling back, but this gentleman was fast asleep. The nurse noticed me, looking particularly refreshed.

“Whatever you did in there, it worked.”

I was stunned.

“What do you mean? He hardly gave me the time of day. I worked so hard to get him to share about himself.”

“Well, the three days I’ve had him, he’s been nothing but unpleasant to me. But when i walked in after you talked to him, he was a totally new person. Thanks for giving him the time.”

The nurse and I spoke again about the background the patient came from. Not only did we converse about what the sister said about the hard home they came from, but I learned the patient’s parents came from Communist Romania under an iron fist of a government. The man’s behavior began making sense.

I write this because crochety old men are not individuals in our society we can afford to ignore. I’ve met dozens in my life and my vocation, and in some way I feel as though most are testing us, to see which of us put up with them and can listen without retort why things are miserable. I also mention this because I sometimes find myself challenged to pray, unsure at times how to give petitions before God and wonder/fear how/when God might respond.

This interaction served as a reminder of a few things:

  1. God does all the work. We may be beset with an impossible task or person, and we might feel as though our efforts were in vain. Only by giving the matter to God may we see His goodness, His work, and His intention in our cooperation in that act. For those of us who place all the work and expectations on ourselves and forget to include or consider God as part of whatever work/ministry/vocation we do, He will remind us through the impossible that He will accomplish the great task
  2. We dont always get to see the fruit of our work. it was a total fluke that I got to return to the nurse, a lull in my day that allowed me to hear what the nurse had mentioned about this old man’s attitude totally changing. i’ve often been told my clergy that “God makes us the sower, but seldom gives the sower the pleasure of reaping the harvest…that’s usually for someone else.” Even if we don’t get a glimpse in the rear-view mirror, consider that God will still use our prayer and our efforts for HIS glory (and not our own).
  3. There’s always a story behind the bitter resentment. And it’s our job to listen to it, to hear it out. Unfortunately I didn’t mine deep enough as to the center of this man’s hurt. Next time I point-blank address his frustration and disposition, see where it stemmed from. Maybe he’d tell me eventually, maybe it’d only come through the sister. Either way, sometimes it takes for us to be curious or imaginative to discern a story behind the hurt. By that discernment, we can grow in our capacity of reaching others who otherwise seem unreachable.

The path of least resistance against a boulder is to go around it, ignore it. That being said I believe sometimes the boulder is waiting for us to press long enough and just hard enough—gently really—for it to move somewhere new, for a river to decide to dislodge it from its stagnation. My brothers and sisters, let us allow Christ who is the living water to flow through us that we may be vessels and tributaries of His life giving stream.

Is Dream Interpretation Ok?

My Connection To Dreams

Over the years I’ve held mixed feelings about dreaming, at times relishing it and at times detesting it.

When I think of dreams that I can still actively remember throughout my life, they tend to be negative or traumatic. Some are legitimate nightmares, others are rather despondent and disheartening.

Nonetheless, in much of my young life, I longed to dream. I wanted to dream every night, though the science would really say I wanted to remember them instead of having them (we often dream without recollection). This may seem odd as the dreams that stand out were never particularly inspiring or pleasant. Nonetheless, I was wishful for a pleasant escape from reality, a taste of surreal entertainment. I think in part I was also looking for something revelatory, something that might speak an important message of my world, myself, etc.

In my teenage and college years I began to develop some resentment towards dreams as they spurred me with false pleasantries and disturbing images. I’d grow frustrated either from what I’d wake up without or perturbed to have been subject to horrific nightmares that would haunt me throughout the day. My interest in remembering my dreams died out for a time.

Upon my approach to seminary, my interest peaked once more in dreams. I’ve tried taking their meaning with a grain of salt, though I couldn’t–and still can’t–help but wonder if there’s some utility in them. I’ve found it’s safer to consult others when it comes to our dreams as the messages can sometimes deceive us. We should be careful when attributing a source to our dreams lest we be mislead that God is telling us something that may not come from Him. Though I think there’s precedent to believe God can use and speak through our dreams, I would caution anyone who reads this to not self-assume the role of a prophet when examining their own dreams, but rather become curious as to what implications the dream has for the individual’s own soul and personal development.

Scriptural Precedent for Dream Interpretation

Scripture certainly affirms a utility in dream interpretation. That being said, the dream interpretation we see in the Old Testament have a lot more to do with prophecy than that of personal revelation.

Joseph and Daniel are the big figures of dream interpretation we see the in the Bible, and the circumstances of their dream interpretation follow closely together. Joseph and Daniel’s dream interpretation came with a risk should their interpretation prove wrong. Their interpretation was used on behalf of pagan tyrants, typically to warn of some gruesome fate that was to befall their empire. The dream interpretation seems to have led such leaders in a state of humility (temporarily at least). And most importantly, the dream interpretation of both these figures was done by consulting God in prayer.

We also read in the Book of Joel, echoed in the Acts of the Apostles, of prophecy being something to be expected of the elderly, that they will dream dreams (in addition to the youth prophecying). This detail seems to affirm a utility in dreams, that the old men will discern important themes and wisdom much like the youth on behalf of God’s glory.

Keeping in mind this Scriptural precedent, I find it important we use the aforementioned criteria in dream interpretation so that we become not misguided or deceived. Dream interpretation should always lead to the glory of God and its pursuit and end goal ought to be done with humility. 

How I see dream interpretation acting towards the glory of God is when we look into the themes of our dreams and how they might communicate growing edges of ourselves, or insight us to work on something, specifically to work towards something we are neglecting.

Secular Precedent and Application of Dream Interpretation

Dr. Jordan Peterson in his lectures talks at great length about dream analysis, and shared in one instance how dream analysis helped his client in a psychotherapy session confront a fear of death she had. Dreams may not always seem straightforward in what they are communicating to us to address, but in that instance it seems the dream was quite explicit about the need of the individual in conquering a fear. When we are awake, our body and mind are quite adverse to approaching things that we hold staunch phobias or trauma over. I believe that a wandering mind without inhibitions or distractions (ie, our minds in this dream state) boldly ventures to our fears, our shame, our concerns either through the explicit image of what we need to confront or by veiling it in a symbol of something we can more properly digest or encounter.

Peterson has also likened daydreaming and the act of thinking as the projection of an avatar, the imaginary insertion of ourselves into a circumstance that has not occurred that we nonetheless expect may happen or fear may happen. A concrete and positive example of this is thinking of hypothetical situations for emergencies, such as checklists and step-by-steps of fires, natural disaster, etc; though we don’t typically dream about such complicated issues, we nonetheless “daydream” or think out loud, and these become strategic dreams. Less useful instances of this is when we walk away from an argument and think up what we could have said or done differently. 

I mention these forms of “daydreaming” to show how our minds see a utility in reflecting on the past and thinking on the future. Our wakeful mind sees utility in these thoughts. Nevertheless we ought to be discerning of our thoughts, examine their source and intention, weighing whether or not they are for our betterment and God’s glory or if they will only lead to distress and sin. In the same way we see utility and potential for distress or distraction in daydreaming, we can see our dreams at night as both a utility but also as a hazard that should be handled with great care. But even the hazardous nightmares that unnerve our peace and cause us to fret can still tell us something important about our attention and concerns when we are awake.

Dream interpretation leans heavily on symbols, of interpreting what an image is standing in for. A father may not necessarily be your mind telling you about your actual dad, but using the facade of your dad to articulate something more complex. Abstract thought is not a feat we humans gain early according to Piaget’s theory of stages of development, and so it is not so obvious that our thoughts have to do with lists and math but rather deal in images that stand in the place for more complicated themes and ideas. But it is truly wondrous how quickly children pick up on symbols, doing so not merely in language but through their imagination and using toys, shapes, etc to manifest invisible themes and realities. 

Dream Interpretation For Self-Improvement

While we have mentioned that God has used dreams for His divine purposes, again, I believe we should take caution in assuming the dreams we have possess a prophetic purpose. It’s safer for us to be discerning and mistrustful of visions lest we be deceived by something spiritual that is counter to the divine (demonic). Included in this, I believe we also should be cautious of actively seeking out dreams and especially careful to avoid dream manipulation. Actively seeking out such experiences seems reminiscent to me of Adam & Eve’s desire to have secret knowledge they weren’t ready for, something ultimately distracting them from God’s revelation to us. It is better for us to seek out God’s revelation and ask for His protection at night, and what dreams may come let them be.

That being said, the themes of the dreams we have will undoubtedly tell us things about ourselves. Even in the Ladder of Divine Ascent a monk describes the dream of flight having to relate to the sin of pride we can suffer from. It is more likely that our dreams–both good dreams and bad dreams–will tell us something we need to work on rather than provide us some sense of intuition or privileged wisdom. We can think of it as a subtle friend who is talking about something indirectly as that we can digest the hard message they are trying to get across to us, that we need to be mindful of our attachments, of our neuroticisms, to pay attention to the passions and fears that we are absorbed by.

In all things, we ought to bless and hand over that which we engage in. If our intent is to look at our dreams as opportunities to lead us to sainthood, to perfecting our souls that we may have a more open relationship with God, then we have baptized the utility of the dream. The danger of dreams can be neutralized when we take a pulse of our ego that it may not inflate and when we ask God to bless our discernment. More importantly, should we pray before drifting off to sleep for protection we can hope for a night free of misleading dreams and to hand all our pursuit of wisdom into God’s hands.

Are Dream Symbols Universal?

There seems to be some suspicion of “dream interpretations” due to seemingly arbitrary “handbooks” on what specific images relate to specific concepts/themes. From what I’ve seen, a lot of online dream “handbooks” seem to borrow from Frued and Jung’s school of dream interpretation which also deals with objective themes and archetypes common to all humanity and culture. To those who have put forth the effort and study into the field, I think at least credence should be given to their input.

That being said, I’ve heard compelling arguments that some of these themes may be mere extrapolation, or that some images may represent different themes based on individual and 

cultural contexts; ie, dreaming of a cow in a Western farming context might have more to do with livelihood whereas dreaming of a cow in India may have something to do with the sacred, or dreaming of a father for most might be a symbol of tradition and order whereas someone with an abusive father may see said image as a symbol of tyranny or a looming threat.

Again, this is why dream interpretation is best paired with discernment and prayer that any possibility of subjectivity can be sorted out with true humility and wisdom.

That being said, I think a strong case can be made for universal symbols considering how certain images seem to mean the same thing to all of us regardless of culture and context. An egg, for example, always infers new life and snakes–even in cultures that have divine snakes–represent danger given the deep human fear built into us of snakes. Pyramids and Zigarauts across cultures are representations of humanity’s attempt to ascend and the divine nature we ascribe to mountains, and even within cultures that find their livelihood through the ocean still face the common threats of the ocean that we all see: storms, sea beasts, drawing.

I would argue symbols diverging in their meaning is more of an exception than a rule, that our minds and psyche are all inclined towards finding the same meaning in the symbols we see and dream of despite our culture and upbringing. 

My Intention of Dream Interpretation

My goal in this series is to place my own dreams under a public microscope. I’ll be writing out with as much detail as I am able some dreams that have stuck with me that I believe are significant to my own life. I plan to also include dreams others have shared with me, though safeguarding those individuals’ identities as I speak about them.

My hope is that some of these dreams resonate with you, that the symbols manifest within them have an application for my readers for everyone’s edification.

I also hope to example healthy dream interpretation, explore images and themes that might be common to others.

I am open to others commenting and sharing their dreams in this series. This is a public laboratory that I hope we all learn from one another on.

Again, all this I hope is done with utmost discernment and humility, and I hope through this series we can begin to see–especially for those of us who have developed a resentment for dreams–a utility that these dreams have, and what our souls may be begging us to address in our wakeful lives.

So let us humbly and carefully listen to our souls, all for God’s glory.