I had a dream a few weeks ago – the kind of dream you have just before waking, when your lucid state keeps you from knowing exactly what’s real and what isn’t. In my dream, I was surrounded by a large group of strangers. The atmosphere was tense and disturbing. One at a time these people approached me, trying to tell me that my faith was misplaced and my beliefs in a Heavenly Father and a Savior were all wrong. Some who did believe in God came to tell me that it was my church that was all wrong, and how could I belong to such a misled group of peculiar people?
I was overwhelmed by my feelings of desperation and confusion. I tried to defend myself and my faith, but no one would listen – they were intent on their message, even though they seemed so unhappy and confused in their own delivery of it. I knew in my dream that I didn’t know these people – that I had done them no wrong, and that I was a good person. Why was I in the middle of such hostility?
In the middle of the tumult, a man walked into the room where I was. This is a strange side note, but I remember the man as being shorter than me, and dark in his coloring. He spoke to me with a Spanish accent. All he said was, “I am so happy to see you here,” and he reached out to shake my hand. When he touched me, I could feel that he was full of the Spirit, and that he knew what I knew. I felt a flood of relief and love and honestly, the presence of my Father and Brother.
I woke up just then, and in my right hand I could still feel the pressure of his handshake. I could also still feel the flood of emotions from being with another person who had the Spirit of love and kindness with them. I started crying in my bed, and then had to get up and leave the room because I was sobbing. I sat in another room crying for maybe 10 minutes, I’m not sure. I do know my eyes were very puffy and I felt exhausted. I felt a permanent, indelible mark had been left on my testimony of the gospel.
When I tried to tell my husband about my dream the next day, I couldn’t get through it without crying all over again. The Spirit was just so strong. I felt positive that I would not, COULD not, forget that dream.
But days went by. And as often happens with our precious treasures in life, the sands of time pile up and the shine fades, and in some regrettable cases, tarnishes. We can get so bogged down by what is right in front of us that we forget what lies above us and within us. Our precious treasures get buried.
Every first Sunday in my church is what we call Fast and Testimony meeting. All willing members will fast for 24 hours – or 2 meals – and during our main church service, interested members are invited to address the congregation and bear their testimony. As I sat listened to my peers today, it occured to me why it’s so important for us to gather together in fellowship. Hearing others’ testimonies often prompts us to look within ourselves and ask, “Where’s my testimony?” Fortunately, because I had such a profound experience so recently, I didn’t have to dig far. I realized then how grateful I am for the commandment to gather together often. We grow from hearing each other’s testimonies, we grow from each other’s strengths and knowledge and unique perspectives. I hadn’t thought about my profound dream in weeks, and yet being with others of my faith reminded me of that sweet experience.
In the end, I myself got up to bear my testimony. I thanked the members of the congregation for their belief and their love. For the Spirit that they brought to the meetings. For the chance they give me to remember when I have been touched by grace. I sometimes wonder what more I would forget if I didn’t have the chance to renew my beliefs each and every week. Fortunately, I know that’s nothing I have to ponder for too long, for I do believe that as long as I live, the Sabbath will play a part of who I am and where I choose to be.