I don’t remember my dreams that often. But when I do, I can usually extract something valuable from them. 

Last week, I had one of those valuable dreams. I dreamt that a friend, (I will give her the pseudonym, Rachel), was visiting me. I was making dinner for Rachel and a few other friends, who were in my house. While I was cooking in the kitchen, I heard Rachel in the living room, laughing. Like, BELLY laughing. Hard, deeply, and wildly. 

This would not have been totally weird  except for the fact that in real life Rachel is walking through the fire of some real physical and emotional pain. She’s walking through the valley, and she’s in much need of some rest. My dear friend, Rachel, is weary.

But here we were in this crazy dream of mine, and she was LAUGHING HYSTERICALLY. And then, she shocked me even more by beginning to DANCE. AND THERE WASN’T EVEN ANY MUSIC, but she was leaping across the room, laughing, and engaging in this liturtigical-like dance.

Seeing this caused joy to wash over me. I looked at my chicken that was boiling for dinner in the kitchen. It had started to bubble over, so I turned down the heat. My friend’s laughter was contagious, as I began thinking of all the magic of the moment, right there in my kitchen. Rachel, who is in pain, is now filled also with joy.  I couldn’t help but be moved by her ability to put her circumstances aside and rejoice in life for just a moment.

Then someone else came into the kitchen in my dream and commented that he was so glad I was finally cooking these chicken drumsticks, since they had been in the freezer and other people thought they were from New Delhi, India from the 16th century, and it was ABOUT TIME someone finally decided to cook those drumsticks so they wouldn’t go to waste (random neurons firing, I’m sure). 

And suddenly, I was on the floor, laughing my ass off in this dream. 

Rachel entered the kitchen. I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t speak. So she offered me her hand and pulled me up off the ground. She, who walked in the darkness, lifted me up in strength to walk with her in the light.

I woke up in that moment and called my friend and left her a four minute voicemail telling her my dream. I had to tell her all of it, before I forgot. 

And because I wanted her to know that I had this VISION of her, in a lively, carefree state. That vision, I felt, was there for a reason. And I had to tell her. 

I cannot tell you how important it is to hold a candle in the darkness for those around us. I have such strong, specific memories of the times in my life when people have held that candle for me. 

About ten years ago, I went through a period of time when many people had stopped believing in me. I depleted my small support system by making poor decision after poor decision, and continuing to suffer. I was a giant ball of self destruction. I swirled through darkness, collecting it like dust. 

But there were a few people remaining who, for whatever reason, never gave up on me. They listened to me even when I’m sure they were sick of listening. They told me I could do hard things, and some even told me they envisioned me doing hard things. 

My mom, for one, told me she had a vision of me crawling out of a pit of darkness, into the light, and blooming. While she recounted this to me, I looked at her in despair, afraid I would continue to disappoint her with my lack of growth. 

My uncle Roy, who is like my second dad, listened to me everyday on the phone. He told me that he envisioned me laughing, and strong. He told me he saw me building a life with my daughter. 

I was afraid of these visions, which were, in fact, glimpses of my potential. These visions were a light, streaming through the cracks, guiding me in the direction of the way I needed to go. 

More recently, I had a friend text me in the middle of the night, sharing about a vision she had of me that came to her during prayer. She had forgotten about it, but felt prompted again, to remember and share it with me. 

“Emily, I envision you with a crown–a beautiful crown. I see you personifying the verse in the Bible from Isaiah of beauty for ashes. All of the pain you’ve had–that has formed you into this beautiful person. You are going to receive so much beauty into your life,” she said. 

And just like that, I had a vision for myself–a new one, a beautiful one that someone had seen for me before I ever could. 

Visions. Changing lives since the beginning of time. 

And now for a random photo of me and my love. We envision that you think we are weirdos.