The Chapel in the Woods

Last night I fell asleep thinking about this passage I had read earlier in the day:

There is in every one of us an inward sea. In that sea there is an island; and on that island there is a temple. In that temple there is an altar; and on that altar burns a flame. Each one of us, whether we bow our knee at an altar external to ourselves or not, is committed to the journey that will lead him to the exploration of his inward sea, to locate his inward island, to find the temple, and to meet, at the altar in that temple, the God of his life.

from The Growing Edge by Howard Thurman

So it was that I set off on a quest for my inward sea, my island, my temple, my altar.

I had a dream last night that was so vivid I can still remember the details even though most of my dreams fade before I finish my morning coffee.

In my dream, I found the sea and I set sail. I sailed off through night and day, and in and out of weeks, and for many years. My boat approached an island where I could hear wild things. They were roaring terrible roars. I could see them gnashing their terrible teeth.

I said, “Lord, this is not the island I want to go to.”

So we sailed on. I say “we” but I was alone in the boat. Alone, but not alone.

Finally we reached another island. It was a pretty little island with lots of trees.

I left my boat to look for the temple. Instead I found a chapel — a small church nestled into the woods, with a tall white steeple. I recognized it immediately because I had seen a painting of it in a talk I recently watched. The speaker had pointed out where the painting was inaccurate — no path leading to the chapel and too much light shining from its windows.

Streams of Living Water by Thomas Kinkade

The painting, however, was accurate to the chapel in front of me.

“Lord,” I said, ” why isn’t there a path?”

You don’t come here often, He said. Paths are worn down by frequent travel.

“I didn’t know how to get here,” I said. “I didn’t know this place existed. I think I’ve been looking for it though.”

Now you’ve found it.

“Why is there so much light inside? It would have to be on fire for that amount of light,” I said. That’s what the speaker I heard had said.

Moses’ face shone so that he had to wear a veil after seeing Me.

I remembered the story from Exodus, the Shekinah glory.

“What about the altar with the flame? Is that in there?”

I AM in there. I will meet you there.

Then I woke up.


To most of you reading this, you’re probably thinking – what a strange post.

To be honest, I’m thinking – what a strange post.

But I want to remember the dream.

I want to go there again.

4 Comments on “The Chapel in the Woods

  1. that is a powerful dream! I think what God said, “You don’t come here often, He said. Paths are worn down by frequent travel.” happens to many of us even when we think we are on the path. Thank you for sharing!

    • It was an incredibly power dream. Very vivid. I still feel it in my gut when I think about it.

  2. Dreams can be vivid, but I rarely remember them. I tend to remember fragments of dreams where the environment around me is constantly changing.

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