This is a dream I had last night that I’ve been trying to unravel for any deeper meanings and direct parallels to my life.

It seems that parental instinct on my part was a major theme in this dream. It had me standing on the opposite side of a street running through a forest teeming with wildlife. First, a mother bear leading four young cubs appeared on the other side of the forest, and the cub at the end of the line took notice of me. He was innocently curious, and made soft noises as he shyly clambered towards me.

I begged him to not come near me because there were cars zooming down the street, likely droven by people who wouldn’t care about taking an innocent cub’s life. Thankfully his mother called for him and he returned her side before anything tragic could happen.

Then, a mountain lion appeared just as traffic seemed to completely stop in the dream. It glared at me as it slowly sauntered towards me from the other side of the street, and I tensed up, expecting it to attack me. When it came closer, I made blatant threats that if it tried to harm me, I would go down fighting for my life. Somehow, the message got across, and it lumbered away back across the street. This led to the saddest part of the dream occurring.

To my horror, I watched the vicious mountain lion maul a doe who had appeared on the other side of the forest, accompanied by her young fawn. I ran across the street to chase the mountain lion away, but the damage was done. The doe lay on the forest floor dying from her wound, leaving her fawn and I to look upon her in our mutual grief.

I knelt by her side, wracked with guilt because I believed that by dettering the mountain lion from attacking me, I had sent him careening into her path, directly leading to her demise. Before I could even say anything about how guilty I felt, the fawn gently placed her front hoof on my head in a very tender gesture of comfort. The deer child had already picked up on my painful emotions, and made it silently clear to me that she didn’t blame me for her mother’s death; she wanted me to forgive myself. Somehow, in the dream and for a few moments after waking up, I could feel the spot on my head where the fawn placed her hoof. In the last moments of this dream, I remember either feeling or outright telling the fawn that I’d be her parental substitute after the tragedy we’d witnessed together.

A “Deerly Needed” Interpretation

All day, I’ve been delving into this trying to find what the parallel to the waking world is, if there is a direct one. All in all, I don’t believe there has been anything in my life that would be a direct inspiration for what I saw happen here. On one hand, I’ve been feeling increasingly protective of any and all kids around me after hearing news stories in recent years about the horrible people who had no qualms in taking their lives, just because they were accessible victims. Forever and always, Sandy Hook still comes to mind, along with Dylann Roof’s horrifically insidious act of genocide at the Charleston Church. I will never forget the detail in the news articles I read that a five-year-old girl had to play dead to save herself. No child in this day and age in any country should ever have to play possum to live.

Something I’ve been focusing on is the message of the fawn silently telling me to forgive myself. More than anybody else, I’ve had the worst problems working on forgiving myself for my own transgressions against other people. There’s also the fact that for 3 years after it happened, I refused to forgive myself for my imagined lack of initiative in preventing the suicide of my friend Will. Because I had seen him two weeks prior outside of a grocery store where we smiled and waved at each other, I later believed that if I had known what was going on in his head at that time, I would’ve been able to step in and stop him from taking his own life. It took me years to finally say that his death wasn’t my fault, and that I was helping nobody by beating myself up for not being omniscient.

There’s also the general underlying theme of feeling guilty when I watch an aggressor hurt somebody else, when I could’ve been the victim instead. As far as I know, I’ve never been in a situation that would directly inspire what happened in the dream. Nonetheless, I do feel guilty when I feel powerless to stop things like this from happening. That’s the thing: feeling powerless in these situations is one of my biggest pet peeves, and a living nightmare for me. I hate it. Especially when I feel unable to stop someone innocent from getting hurt.

Also, the mountain lion can be directly compared to the Biblical portrayal of Satan as a prowling lion looking for somebody to devour.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

As it was, the lion in my dream was likewise looking for somebody to harm. When it realized that it couldn’t hurt me without retribution, it went for the next easy target. And as the fawn gently reminded me, it wasn’t my fault that our mutual adversary was so determined to hurt somebody.

It’s important for me to remember that compared to God, of course I’m powerless. But understanding my own powerlessness and relying on God in these situations is what I need to do in order for good to be accomplished. After all, as this Bible verse so eloquently states:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)