There were two little girls with me and we were walking on a highway with a bunch of other people. Everybody was focused on escape, so we moved as quickly as we could. It was night and the only light was from the stars.
I don’t know what we were running from or why we couldn’t travel in cars. The younger of the girls was about 3 years old. I know she was my daughter. The other was her sister, but I don’t think I was her biological father. The older girl was about 9.
The younger girl wanted me to carry her, but I finally had to put her down to walk on her own. We were exhausted.
And then something under parts of the road started getting hot and turning red, as though there was molten lava underneath. I dropped something else that I had been carrying so I could pick up both girls. People were screaming and panicking all around us.
But I had to get these girls back to their mother.
Last night was long and confusing. There was a lot going on — and it all seemed very real to me.
It was just a series of dreams, but they seemed to go on and on. My Apple Watch tells me that I slept a total of four hours and 40 minutes last night, but it didn’t seem like that much. The night seemed to go on forever, because I kept waking up in panic and sweat.
Everything seemed to center around these two little girls being in danger — along with other people around us — and I was struggling to keep them safe and find our way back to their mother. I have an idea who the mother was, but I can’t be certain.
I’m a little claustrophobic — which I discovered the first time I needed to have an MRI years ago — so one of the dreams left a scary imprint.
The girls and I were going through a long underground tunnel. There were other people taking the same route, trying to escape from the same danger. There were concrete and steel structures all around us, but I don’t know what this place was. Maybe a sewer or water treatment facility? I just know it wasn’t designed for people.
I felt panic from being packed so tightly with other people without feeling as though there was a way to get out. I heard a distant rumble and I suddenly knew what was about to happen. There was a massive flood of water heading through this passageway toward us. I knew there was no place for most people to go, but I knew there were small concrete rooms with doors that appeared every hundred yards or so.
I picked up the two girls and started pushing my way rapidly through people. I had to get us to one of those rooms before others figured it out. I didn’t want anyone to die, but my job was to protect these two girls. Nothing else mattered.
I got to one of those small rooms and pulled the girls inside, turning a large screw-like device — similar to what you see on doors of submarines — to lock us inside. In the darkness, I realized I could see a little bit of light from stars above, so I knew this room vented upward to the outside.
I heard the rush of water in the passage outside. People were screaming for a moment and then all I heard was the massive rush of water as the people were silenced. And then I realized that something — maybe an automated system — was starting to open the door which protected us.
I climbed onto an iron ladder which went up the vent shaft. I had the girls hold onto me and I started trying to climb. But the water filled the room below before I could climb all the way. When I felt the water coming to hit us, I grabbed the girls tightly and told them to hold onto me — no matter what happened.
The force of the water pushed us upward through the shaft. We kept banging into the sides and into the railing, but I didn’t let go of the girls and they didn’t let go of me.
The water pushed us through the opening at the top. We were lucky there was no grate at the opening. We seemed to be at the edge of a vast lake and I pulled myself and the girls onto land. We just sat on the dry land for a few minutes — drenched and exhausted. Both girls held onto me and the younger one cried.
“Daddy, I’m scared,” the younger girl said as she held tightly to my neck.
It went on like this all night. It was always the same two girls. We were always trying to escape one mortal danger or another. We were always trying to find their mother. Everything was confusing. Everything was terrifying. But I wasn’t going to let anything happen to these girls. I would have given my life to save them.
I wasn’t in great shape at work today and I’m eager to get to sleep now. I don’t know what to make of my long night, but it felt — in some metaphorical way — like Jacob wrestling with the angel all night in the Hebrew book of Genesis.
Something in me is wrestling with change in my life.
Something in me is eager to take care of these girls. There was something strongly symbolic about that, almost as though something was testing my resolve. (There were references made to a son, too, but I never saw him, so I’m confused about that part. The girls were the ones I dealt with.)
In the story of Jacob, it’s not clear who he wrestles all night. We commonly say it was an angel, but other interpretations say it was God. Jacob doesn’t win the match. In fact, he’s injured in the all-night confrontation. But he refuses to give up — and he forces the angel (or whoever it is) to give him a blessing. And that’s when he gets his new name — Israel.
As far as I know, the story of Jacob is just a handy metaphor for me. I wasn’t wrestling an angel or God. I suppose I’m wrestling something inside myself. An exhausted part of me wants to give up, but there’s a fiercely determined part of me which will not give up on these two girls.
I need to protect them. I need to reunite them with their mother. Whatever that means.
There’s change going on inside me. I’m not sure what it all means. I’m not happy to have spent a night in panic and I’m not happy to try to work today through my exhaustion.
The only thing I hold onto is my certainty that I did what I was supposed to do. I protected these precious girls. I kept anything bad from happening to them.
I kept them safe. And they knew that I loved them.