There is an old story that I have seen in different forms. The essence of the tale is that a devout but very poor rabbi from Krakow had a dream one night. A voice urged him to make a journey to Prague and to look for treasure under the bridge that led to the king’s palace. When he woke up the next morning, he remembered his dream. But he did nothing about it.
When he had the same dream the following night, he began to grow restless. After having the identical dream for the third night in a row, he awakened and put on his walking shoes.
When the poor rabbi arrived in Prague, he found that the bridge was under guard both day and night. But he persisted in going there every morning and walking around until night. The Captain of the guards spotted him and asked him if he was looking for something or expecting to rendezvous with someone. The devout teacher told him of the story of the dream that had brought him here.
The soldier laughed at the scruffy looking old man so far from his home. “Because of a silly dream, you old fool, you have merely worn out your shoes from walking.” he roared. “Why, if I were foolish enough to pay attention to dreams, I would have made a trip long ago to Krakow to dig for treasure under the stove in the house of a Jew, someone named Eisek. Yes, that was his name, Eisek ben Yekel. Can you imagine that a man in my position would go on such a wild goose chase?”
And he laughed again and shook his head. With that, the old man bowed to the guard and turned his face toward Krakow, and made the long journey back home. When he arrived there, Rabbi Eisek ben Yekel dug the ground beneath his very own stove and unearthed a great treasure.
In the late 70’s, Ann and I were invited to a MARRIAGE RENEWAL. It was to be conducted at the local Holiday Inn and would last a continuous 48 hours. There would be no TV or radio, no telephone or any other way of communicating to the outside world. No house cleaning was to be done, absolutely no interruptions allowed. It would be 48 hours of Jack and Ann together.
Frankly, I was scared. What would I do locked in a room with my wife of 30 years? It sounded very much like “the lost weekend”. I tried to wiggle out of it but we had already signed up and paid the fare.
It turned out to be the greatest 48 hours of our life. We met with 10 other couples, were given a notebook and pens and we were given a choice of any subject we wanted to write on. One subject in the morning, one in the afternoon and one for the evening session. Each session would follow the same schedule. First half hour, we would sit opposite each other and write. Always beginning with “You are my greatest love, etc., then the rest of the page describing our feelings about the subject to be discussed. When the alarm went off we would close with some warm thoughts about our love for each other.
Now we were instructed to exchange notebooks and read the thoughts and feelings of your spouse. Read it three times – once for the head, once for the heart and once to tie them both together.
The following hour was dedicated to communications. Just talking about thoughts, feelings, understanding and seeing the subject from another’s view. The time just flew by. It was amazing and hardly before the 48 hours expired, we were wanting to stay longer. Words like, “I didn’t know you felt that way”, or “We never talked about this”, or “what a beautiful thing to know and read your mind on paper.”
Each time we met as a group there was so much we all wanted to share and say. Most of the subjects were assigned and the writing got beneath the harsh words we had said before, and the total misunderstanding of each others thoughts and feelings. When the 48 hours were up, we had the strange feeling that we had been on a mountain together, to see and touch and know each other in a way that we had not done so in the years of our marriage. The dream we had went beyond us and pulled all the families together in a way that was just miraculous.
James writes, “If any merry, let him sing praise” (James 5:13) The apostle Paul added, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies (deep feelings), Kindness, (feelings), longsuffering (feelings), forbearing one another (feelings), and forgiving one another (feelings). If any man have a quarrel against any (feelings) even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye (feelings), and above all these things put on love which is the bond of perfection” (Colossians 3:12-14).
Why not dream a dream of closeness and follow the simple plan of the MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER. Two notebooks, two pens, one hour a week. Meet, write on topics that interest you both, and read each others thoughts and feelings. Dreams are good but it’s really what you make of them.