As you would imagine, my recollection of the specifics of the dream are foggy at best, but I can seem to bring to mind some of the details.
First, you have to understand that I have this re-occurring dream every month or so that I have been asked to speak in public, and that something has gone drastically wrong. I don’t mind speaking in public; I have no fear of speaking in public; I want to make my living speaking in public. Still, this “dream-on-the-theme-of-problems-speaking-in-public” keeps coming back to haunt me. Sometimes I am improperly dressed (or not dressed). Sometimes I still have my retainers in. (I had braces, and will still wear my retainers every now and then to keep the teeth relatively straight. My retainers, however, cause me [as far as I am concerned] to have slightly slurred speech–and so retainers are not the kind of things you’d want in your mouth if you were speaking in public. And just how do you get them out of your mouth without anyone noticing if you’re up on stage?) Sometimes something else has gone wrong. This dream under present consideration was kind of a combination of problems, as you will see, if you will be so kind to read on.
The gig was a youth camp. Not teenagers, mind you, but grade-schoolers. I used to speak to grade-schoolers all the time in a former life. But this was at a Christian camp (Northland, in the building which used to be called “the white chapel”), and it was a pretty big crowd of kids. I was supposed to preach. (Of course, if you know me, you realize that we’re already in pretty fanciful territory as far as this dream goes.)
The problem was that I was woefully unprepared. (A lack of preparation before a speaking engagement would be a bona-fide fear of mine.) So I had no idea on what Bible passage I was going to speak. This was a pretty hazy part of the dream, but I remember having a great of anxiety for some time concerning this very matter. I’m not sure if I had time to prepare and procrastinated or what, but still, I was not ready.
But the show must go on. And so it did. I thought to myself, “You’ve been working on memorizing Psalm 32, and have some good thoughts on that passage. Preach on that.” [[This part was true. My wife had put it in this plastic thing in the shower, and I decided to work on memorizing too. Then she took it down this morning. I’m going to have to get her to put it up again.]] Ah, yes, Psalm 32. This is where the ESV Study Bible comes in.
I was saved. I would preach on Psalm 32. But the only Bible I seemed to have with me was the ESV Study Bible. So I took that up. All I had to do was find the passage–Psalm 32–in my Bible. I was up in front of all those kids, and I started thumbing through that TOME and could not find the passage. The Bible was so filled with all these charts and maps and introductions, I could not find the Bible passage I was looking for. I flipped toward the front and it was some kind of full-color Bible dictionary. I flipped through the middle, and all I saw was more pictures and charts and everything other than the Bible. If only this was a dream, I thought–but, no, it was far too realistic–it couldn’t be a dream. Every eye in the place was on me, and I could not find my passage to save my life! All I could find was the extra ESV Study Bible stuff! I briefly contemplated telling my audience that things were pretty hard to find in this new ESV Study Bible, but figured that would come off as a crazy and corny excuse. The room was uncomfortably quiet as I frantically flipped in this giant “Bible” with every conceivable Christian resource except the Bible.
Then, in my dream, I began to speak. And I noticed I had my retainers in. …
True story. I really dreamed that.