Cleaning the Slate at the New Year

Yesterday I spent a few hours getting ready for the new year. There are some quick and easy ways I like to “clean the slate”:

1) I quickly organized the clothes in my closet by grouping like items together (church clothes, writing clothes, workout clothes). It helped me see whether I need to buy something at the excellent sales going on right now (I don’t);

2) I went through my bookshelves and pulled out books whose titles made me feel tired. In this way I purged a dozen books from my study. I feel done with them and always need more shelf space for my ongoing projects;

3) I made a first draft of resolutions, mainly about various writing projects. (Plus a very uncreative one: “Lose X pounds.”)

Then last night I had a bad dream and woke up feeling upset. This is very unusual for me. The person in my dream is the one person with whom I have “baggage,” meaning: I am angry with him and the anger is not likely to go away. I feel he owes me an apology which he is not going to offer.

This person is rarely in my conscious thoughts. I was not aware of thinking about him yesterday. But my unconscious offered him up, as if there is work to be done here before the new year begins. In my dream he was pursuing me on different kinds of transportation: train cars, boats, a roller coaster. Maybe a plane? I don’t remember clearly anymore. I do know that he reached over to touch me, and I was both furious and frightened.

I wonder if the dream was from the Holy Spirit, prompting me to clean the slate with this person. I am not sure how to do that. But I was surprised at the intensity of my emotions. There is something unfinished here.

I am trying to regard the bad dream as a gift, although it was an unwanted gift. It was a moment of clarity.

In my experience, some of God’s best gifts are the ones I definitely don’t want to receive.

How do you handle these kinds of gifts?


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