In my dream, I was a young man in my early twenties trying to visit my twin brother in a mental health facility. (I’ll call myself Joe and my brother Jim.)
The receptionist told me I couldn’t see Jim because it was time for him to eat his dinner and then take his evening medications. She said I’d be wasting my time trying to talk to him after he’d taken meds.
It seemed she was quite intent to keep me from seeing him, so I pretended to leave the building. Instead, I hid around the corner listening as she and the home’s director went into Jim’s room. I heard them hurriedly feeding and medicating my brother. I also heard Jim whimper and cry quietly. There was no response from the receptionist or the director, the ones who should care about his welfare and happiness.
I became more determined than ever to see Jim because I observed that they were making his illness progressively worse through medicated silencing and loveless care.
As I stood there, the sounds of their movements told me exactly where Jim was in the facility. I decided to ‘bust him out’ of that prison-like place. I knew without a doubt that Jim’s thought processes, personality and identity would begin to heal immediately when he was restored to loving care.
Jim and Joe portray us, each of us in the system of religion. We have been raised nearly identically to follow beliefs, scripture and doctrine in certain patterns.
However, those of us who have left traditional doctrines behind sometimes experience a desperate need to ‘break out’ our brothers enslaved in those same doctrinal yokes.
When we hear their muffled groans of discomfort, we begin to pray, but we’re quickly thwarted in discussions of reason they can’t seem to hear. We are sure we could love them into healing if only we could find a way to ‘bust them out.’
In the dream, I saw that once the meal (sermon/lesson) was delivered and the meds (doctrine) administered, Jim’s ability to follow me out the door decreased as his thought processes become impaired. Therefore, my hope is to be there with him when the effects of the previous ‘meal’ and ‘medication’ are weakest, just before the next dosing.
At this time, his mind is clearest, and he is able to identify and express the lack of love he’s experienced. It’s when love is eagerly welcomed, becoming both an automatic invitation and doorway to freedom. This is when I knew Jim would be eager to leave with me.
Between teachings, doctrine grows slightly fuzzy in our minds. It takes effort to study and maintain while performing other rigid behavior modifications required for compliance. Rote memorization of formulas, scriptures and rules appear to be holy because, after all, they involve Holy Scripture.
Unfortunately, it’s hard work to memorize by intellect with a side-dose of fear. We generally fail those lessons and perpetuate the fear. However, faith based on love is simply living inside an intimate relationship. I don’t have to study my husband’s habits to know his heart. I only have to experience relationship with him. God is the same way.
I learned from this dream that helping our trapped brothers does not require long debates of unraveling doctrine. I couldn’t have helped Jim by having a discussion about the situation. That was the tactic he was presently enduring, intellect packaged in fear.
Help is inside love. No one trusts love by studying it or fearing it. Love happens first and then we study it. A heart cry is a human heart in need of love; rushing in to lavish love will create an open door to freedom.
In the dream, I knew that Jim would fear leaving the perceived safety of the ‘home.’ However, in a moment when he could clearly see the loveless, hopeless environment he endured, he would grasp my love and be eager to go with me. Once out the door, the breath of freedom would thrill his heart and he would drink up all the love he needed to heal.
This dream is not a judgmental, gavel pounding on any church, preacher or sermon. You know in your heart when you see religiosity that causes pain. You and I have traveled its path and our hearts have ached, too. This was Father’s way of letting me know I have brothers who not only need my love, but are eager for its personal expression to them. I cannot run away in anger and close the door of my heart to those inside who suffer. I must be nearby with love to heal when the medicine has worn off.
I cannot fight religion by intellect, reason or fear. I must silently wait for the heart cry, that moment when the drugs have worn off and the heart yearns for love. That’s when I can rush in with love, an offering in my hands.
(editor: Laurie Hilgers)