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Moving ... again

Marge Fenelon

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

I had the "new house" dream again last night. I have it periodically, and if I had to estimate I'd say I have it at least three or four times a year. Maybe more.

The script is always the same; the scenes change each time. In the dream, I'm checking out a new house. I'm touring it, considering how it will work for our family and pondering its strong and weak points. Usually I'm completely enamored by the thing and can't wait to move in. Even though I truly love our Fenelon Clan Abode, this new house is just so...well...more appealing...you know. Once I've toured the house and made my decision to move in, I wake up. Just like that.

But every time I have the dream, I'm touring a different house. One time it was a Victorian mansion. Another time it was a back woods cabin-ish structure. Another time it was some kind of angular Frank Lloyd Wright attraction. Last night, it was an urban simpleton, appealing and yet in need of some work. It had great potential.

This little ritual has been going on for years, and I think I've finally figured out why. There's a definite correlation between that dream and the stages of my life. In fact, I'll bet you anything that if I'd logged the dates of the dream on the calendar, they would correspond directly to changes, developments, and rearrangements in my life. I don't need a rocket scientist to figure out that the new house in my dream represents the new "thing" coming up in my life and the moving into the house represents the letting go of the old and moving on to the new.

Each time I've had the dream, I wake up disappointed. I look around and realize that - nope - I haven't moved at all. I'm still in the same, old house. Sigh. Then I get up and go about my daily routine, trying to resist the temptation to compare my present house with the non-existent house of my dream.

Once I get past that somewhat childish frame of mind, I draw my heart to meditate on the Scripture passage:

In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? Joh 14:2

In this passage, Jesus is referring to heaven. But, couldn't it also represent the things of this world? For me it does.

The many dwelling places are the stages of my life. Each one holds a treasury of experiences, impressions, and lessons from which to learn and grow. Each one brings me closer and closer to our Lord, closer and closer to the ideal he has of me, for me. Each "new house" is a step closer to being the "who" he intended me to be from all eternity. And each step of the way, he's there waiting for me, preparing a place for me - a new house to move into.

The new house in my dream last night is exactly what I need. It's simpler, and needs some work just like me, just like the place in my life that I'm moving into right now. I've discovered that it's time to simplify, to pare down and focus on the things in my life that matter most. There are plenty of things I could do, but not many of them that I should do. It's time to let go of the old house that trapped me, pulling me in every which direction and take residence in the new house, which will pull me closer to Christ. In our Father's house, there are many dwelling places, and Jesus has gone to prepare a place for me there. It's time to move on.

Topics: Faith

Marge Fenelon is a Catholic author, columnist, and speaker. She's the author of When's God Gonna Show Up? and When's God Gonna Call Me Back? (Liguori Publications) and a regular columnist for the Milwaukee Catholic Herald. She and her husband, Mark, have four mostly-grown children and are members of the International Schoenstatt Movement. Visit her website at www.margefenelon.com

View all articles by Marge Fenelon

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