BARBARA’S BOOK

Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith" book cover with photo of author Barbara Falconer Newhall

"Any seeker of any faith will be blessed to read the words of this fine author and observer."

Click to learn more about "Wrestling with God"

A Dream About Wrestling With — Uh, Who Was That Anyway?

A dream about wrestling. Detail of a column in the Wurzburg Cathedral, shaped in a knot. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Detail of a column in the Wurzburg Cathedral — a dream about wrestling? Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I had a dream about wrestling the other night. It maybe could have been a message from my deep psyche, some part of me that knows more than I know. Or maybe even a missive from God, the one I’ve been interrogating these past months, years and decades.

I dreamed I was about to write a post for this blog. As usual I was short on time and even shorter on the inspiration needed to knock out weekly post No. 465 in the series that began eight, count ’em, eight years ago.

The post I was contemplating was definitely going to be a cop-out, a sketchy, but quickly writeable thing. It was going to quote something one of my kids had just said (in my dream) about wrestling. Yes, wrestling. No one I know has any interest in wrestling, but in my dream life several of my kids had become avid wrestlers.

Peter (I think it was Peter) had this advice to give:

“When you’re wrestling somebody,” Peter wanted me to know, “never, ever let go of your opponent. Hold on tight at all costs. Get a grip on your opponent and keep it.”

My dream-self concluded that that tidbit of advice was just enough, barely, to make a post. It was thin and most of my readers would have no use for wrestling advice. But I convinced myself that it was just enough to pass for the morsel of  wisdom that I attempt each week to pass on to my readers, faithful and otherwise.

Before I could write that post I woke up, and what a relief that was. Whew. I had not actually posted this flimsy and, to my readers, irrelevant post.

Moments later, fully awake, it dawned on me. The title of my book was “Wrestling with God,” for heaven’s sake. Researching that book had been a ten-year pilgrimage through the religions of the world, looking for a way to believe in God in the twenty-first century.

I’d been wrestling with God since my young adulthood — year in and year out I’d been asking myself (and anyone who would listen) The Big Questions. Is there a God? What’s God like?

In all that time I had not come across any tight, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt answers to The Questions. But the dream about wrestling — was it maybe just a trickle of an answer coming out of the Big Nowhere? Was that up-against-my-writing-deadline dream a message that cried out to be taken seriously?

I think it was. And wherever it came from — the depths of my psyche or the heights of heaven — the message was clear: Yeah. Yeah. You might not know the first thing about God, the Divine, the Force, the Mystery. But hang on tight to It, whatever It is. Hang on for dear life. That’s all you need to know, and do, for now.

More tales from My Rocky Spiritual Journey at “Which Way America? Compassion With Francis, or Vitriol With Trump?”  Also, “The San Juan Ecosystems. The Woods Are Alive, and So Are the Meadows and Beaches.”

A dream about wrestling — sound familiar? Read about the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel.

 

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