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Canes And Crutches


Ex-COG
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I've never been a big fan of dream analysis, as I believe you can read whatever you want to into them, but this one was so striking I thought I'd share it and see what all you Freuds and Jungs think about it. (Ex-COG lies on the couch, forum members sit close by, pen and pad in hand.)

 

I was in the sanctuary of the evangelical church I used to attend. A guest speaker was giving a presentation up front, with graphs and displays on a screen. I don't remember details, but I had the impression that it was some type of fundraiser for a ministry or missions. I was standing in the back, next to some of the men (Ushers? They were the only ones that would stand until after the offering was taken, to aid any stragglers coming in). We were making quiet small talk while this was going on. Suddenly, the scene shifted, and the service was over with people milling around. The speaker was at the back of the sanctuary, passing out items. I went up to the line, and received...a cane. They were passing out canes to everyone. The one I had was made out of porcelain/china or something similar and was painted white. The paint job was bad, with drip lines and gaps where it didn't cover. I moved back to where I had been standing, and showed it to the usher. As I examined the cane, an elderly lady was slowly making her way up to the "gift line". The usher encouraged me to give her my cane so she wouldn't have to stand in line so long. I did so, and she was thankful, but looked at the cane as if she didn't know what to say about it. I got back in line, and this time received a metal cane. It was wide, like a crutch, though the top was a curved handle like a cane. It was way to big for me, almost up to my shoulders. I saw that it was adjustable at two points, so I turned the screws to shorten it. It was still too big, so I thought I would see if my Dad could use it. He was "magically" next to me (you know how dreams are) and took the cane, but it was too big for him also. Then I remember checking his legs and feet, as if it were his fault that the cane was useless to him. This is when I woke up.

 

At first, I just thought, "What a strange dream." I then thought that it really could match up with how I view church now.

1. The cane itself. We've all heard the expresion "Christianity is a crutch for the weak", well that ties in easily with my dream, it's just a cane in this case. We go to church to get our "fix", our crutch/cane.

2. The gift is given by the church whether you need it or not. In fact, we weren't even asked if we wanted a cane, it was just handed out to everybody. The church offers "answers" and help to you, but it's always what they determine that you need, not what you desire.

3. The gift was impractical. Porcelain/china can break easily; who would think of making a cane out of it? The metal cane did not fit either my father or me, so was useless to both of us. The answers and help provided by the church often aren't useful for the individual in every day life.

4. Even when the gift is needed, it's not a good match for the recipient. (This ties in with point three.) My Dad couldn't use the large cane, even though in real life he does need canes or a walker. The elderly woman in the dream could have needed walking assistance (demonstated by her slow movement) but a fragile china cane would not be much of an aid; it could break easily and she could fall or be cut. The church gives you what it has to offer, whether it is good for you or not; in fact it might even be dangerous for you.

5. If your gift doesn't fit, it's your fault, not the church. I examined my Dad to see why the cane wasn't right for him; I didn't question whether the speaker simply didn't give the correct cane to the right person. If you aren't satisfied, healed, blessed, etc., it's not the church or God's fault. It must be you.

6. Don't question or refuse the gift. While this wasn't directly addressed in the dream, I see that nobody was asking the speaker or any church leaders why this was happening or complaining that the canes were not helpful. We just accepted the canes and tried to figure out how to use them on our own.

 

Did I miss anything? Now I want to go take a nap and see what more insights I can gain from my unconscious. :grin:

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I like your analysis, but have your heard the real origins of the candy cane?

 

I got this from snopes.com:

 

In fact, the strongest connection one can make between the origins of the candy cane and intentional Christian symbolism is to note that legend says someone took an existing form of candy which was already being used as a Christmas decoration (i.e., straight white sticks of sugar candy) and produced bent versions which represented a shepherd's crook and were handed out to children at church to ensure their good behavior:

 

Soon after Europeans adopted the use of Christmas trees, they began making special decorations for them. Food items predominated, with cookies and candy heavily represented. That is when straight, white sticks of sugar candy came into use at Christmas, probably during the seventeenth century.

 

Tradition has it that some of these candies were put to use in Cologne Cathedral about 1670 while restless youngsters were attending ceremonies around the living creche. To keep them quiet, the choirmaster persuaded craftsmen to make sticks of candy bent at the end to represent shepherds' crooks, then he passed them out to boys and girls who came to the cathedral.

 

If you didn't know that they were originally white and passed out at churches, then that is just freaky!

 

They were handed out so the children would behave. That ties in pretty good with your analogies too.

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Back to churches, dreams, and the unconscious. Sometimes my dreams are clearly an out-working of things happening in my waking life and sometimes I can't see the connection. Sometimes something happens that feels like I've been there before and I realize I had a dream that was exactly like the present situation. Basically, I really liked your story and don't really know what to add.

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I like your analysis, but have your heard the real origins of the candy cane?.....If you didn't know that they were originally white and passed out at churches, then that is just freaky!

I've read a lot of the snopes stories, so I could have seen this at some time. Hmmm, maybe my dream china cane was really a huge candy cane? Then at least, I could have eaten it. :yum: That old lady would have had to go get her own!

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I like your analysis, but have your heard the real origins of the candy cane?.....If you didn't know that they were originally white and passed out at churches, then that is just freaky!

I've read a lot of the snopes stories, so I could have seen this at some time. Hmmm, maybe my dream china cane was really a huge candy cane? Then at least, I could have eaten it. :yum: That old lady would have had to go get her own!

:HaHa:

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