All my life I have had strange dreams. As a child, I used to beg my parents to leave the hall light on at night because I often had awful nightmares. They were always the same - I would be running and the devil would be chasing me. And I knew, even then, that he was totally and completely devoid of any goodness. His eyes were as cold as death and they petrified me. I would wake up full of panic, my heart beating wildly, wondering what would happen if he ever caught me in my dreams.
Well, he never managed to catch me as a child but he did lay out many snares for me and as a teenager I started falling into these traps. I fell away from the Church and my prayer life went down the tube as well. I would do my night prayers but they were done in a perfunctory manner with little to no reflection involved. I don't remember very many nightmares during this period.
It wasn't until my twenties that the nightmares came back full force. Only this time, the devil wasn't chasing me. He didn't need to anymore. During the night I would have dreams that I was standing in deep muck with reptilian creatures surrounding me. I would wake up and say Hail Marys until the fear left me. Later I would realize that these dreams were warnings that I was knee deep in hell spiritually. When I read my poetry from this period of my life I can see the warnings there too. Many of my poems were dark and bleak.
Hell is a state of being and I knew that state personally.
Soon after my return to the Church I had a vivid dream. In this dream I opened my mouth and a worm started coming out. A strong hand grabbed the worm and pulled, pulled until it was all the way out. It was the longest, ugliest worm I had ever seen. The next day when I woke up my heart felt lighter. Gross but true.
Many years ago when I first started praying the Rosary regularly, I had a funny dream. In this dream I had a 7 story house . I was walking around this house when I came upon a lady with a broom and dustpan bustling around my house cleaning it. And good grief, was it a mess! But she started on the top floor and was working her way down. The house had no stairways, it had an elevator and she was using it to get from floor to floor. I followed her and then she turned around and looked at me.
It was Our Lady.
Before she turned toward me, she was pulling down cobwebs out of dark corners with her broom and was entirely engrossed (fitting word I think) in the work she was doing. I remember watching her steady and thorough cleaning and wondering why this woman was so determined to clean my house. After I saw who it was I remember waking up and feeling very blessed that she was taking on such a task.
I never saw her cleaning the cellar in this dream. She hadn't yet reached that point in her housecleaning and I'm a bit thankful that I didn't have to follow her down there.
She's cleaning my "cellar" now. Oh, I could tell you that my "cellar"is neat as a pin but I would be lying through my teeth. My "cellar" is a junk pile and Our Lady is shoveling it out. A broom just doesn't work on this mess. My emotions are flying all over the place as the junk pours out. I feel like a little kid in the middle of a trash dump puzzled (and a bit mortified) by my mother's insistence that all my "stuff" must go.
Oh, to think I've been clinging to trash all these years.