Do you remember that song? “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” was written in 1950 by Ed McCurdy. It was covered by everybody you ever heard of, from Simon & Garfunkel to Johnny Cash. Being an impressionable kid during the sixties and seventies, i remember its antiwar theme set against the backdrop of the Vietnam Conflict. But get this, “In 1989, school children on the East German side of the Berlin Wall sang “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” en masse as the wall was being dismantled.” How would you like to have written that song?
If you don’t know the song, grab it on iTunes or someplace. See the lyrics at http://blindbeggar.org/?p=1141 .
Last night i really did have the strangest dream. Actually, it was this morning, just before i blinked my way into wakefulness. i don’t think there was an anti-war message in it, or a peace message. But, we’ll see…
In my dream i was playing in a baseball game. i’ve done this before, when i was just a boy. Played a lot of baseball, but gave it up for other things just before high school. i played other sports after that, but did have a job in the summers as an umpire for the local softball league.
In my dream i was playing outfield. This is a position in which one stands all alone with responsibility to cover lots of space. In theory, one should have time to track down a ball and get to it, given that one is so far away from the batter’s box at home plate.
This was a night game. And, the outfield wasn’t very well lit. My eyesight being what it is (or isn’t) these days, i could barely make out the fact that there was activity in the infield (where they are much closer to the batter), but i couldn’t really tell what was happening. i could discern lots of movement from time to time immediately following the faintly distinguishable sound of the crack of the bat. i absolutely knew that if the ball came out to where i was, i would never know. It was simply too dark.
After one of these flourishes of activity in the infield, there was much cheering, and i could see that the guys on my team were excited and running back to the dugout. This meant the inning was over, and it was our time to bat. i jogged on over.
Somehow, you know the way dreams work, i discovered that i was batting fifth. i began to get ready, warming up my swing, getting my helmet situated, and watching the pitcher to see what kind of pace he employed. i saw the faces of some of my friends–they were vaguely familiar, but i cannot now recall any of their names…
And then, i woke up. i wish i could tell you the result of my trip to the plate. But, i haven’t a clue. (Now, most people who know me well would say that’s the moral of the story: “Mike hasn’t a clue.”)
And that probably is it. But as i blinked myself awake, i was immediately impressed more by the experience i was having in the outfield.
In baseball, i notice that the most important statistic is a player’s batting average. It’s what he does at the plate that seems to matter most. If he’s a pitcher we track his “earned run average”, if he’s a shortstop we also track how many double plays he’s been involved in. For an outfielder, we track his batting average and how many times he drops the ball.
It seems like i work kinda hard these days. Long hours, lots of time on the phone. i think i know what i’m doing, but there’s so much that i just can’t control. Also, i watch my family. i like to think that i know what’s going on–i’m the dad, after all–but to tell the truth, i feel more like a spectator than i do a leader. It all goes on, with or without me.
So, in my dream, as i stood in that dark outfield aware of but not really involved in the game that was going on 30 yards away, i think i heard the still, small Voice whispering, “play your position, I AM in control. There’s no way you could understand all I AM doing. Everything you encounter is too big for you. You have a place on the field. Trust me for the processes and for the results. Just play your position.”
Or, something like that.
Teresa told some of us a story last weekend. i think it was the same message, “You won’t understand, it won’t make sense. But, it’s ME.”
Friends, i don’t know what you’ll be doing today, but i’m praying you’ll know that, when your boat starts rocking, Jesus himself will come walking to you on the water, saying, “Peace, be still.”
We pray for all of you, all the time. It is our joy…