My dirty little secret

Part 3 of – Shadows of the Past and Disconnecting

There are dreams… and then there are dreams… I don’t know how I know the difference – but when I wake up I know which ones are messages versus which ones were simply dreams. Obviously, some dreams are just dreams.

This isn’t something new – it’s something I’ve known for many, many years… so many years of hiding and too scared to admit that I get them, but I don’t know what they mean – until I know what they mean in the material world. These dreams are not clear, more like premonitions, than detailed warnings.

For example, before the Japan earthquake and tsunami, I dreamt of tsunamis for months. Always waking up knowing I was safe, but always seeing the devastation of dirty water mixed with houses and debris. I spent too much time looking up the meanings of dreams and trying to work out what the dreams meant… and then March 11, 2011, I found out what they had meant. Watching the TV coverage was one huge deja vu… I’d seen those scenes before.

Unfortunately, in my dreams, I had no idea where this was happening much less when. I guess it was simply a large enough event to trigger for me dreams in advance.

And, as I mentioned in my post last week, leading up to the NBC news coverage of the New Tribes Mission abuse cases, I had dreams of sexual predators.

But having dreams that give me a premonition of the future, without any great clarity of the events, is not my dirty little secret.

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”, George Orwell,

For the most part, in 1986-1987, I could ignore a premonition that I had – but the dream itself was much too vivid to be easily forgotten.

See, I knew, long before my sister was in a closed room, with a man twice her age, unable to escape, that she was going to get raped.


I convinced myself it wasn’t one of those dreams. But I already knew that it was. And I knew that she was not consenting, and that she had no way out of that room. And she didn’t ask for it.

When it happened, I lived with that guilt. I swallowed it down. And I cried a thousand tears, believing that it was all my fault.

Ignoring that the man that did it was more than 40 years old, to her 15 years of age and that what he chose to do was his responsibility and not hers or mine. But I blamed myself.

What I need you to understand is the culture in which we lived and grew up in New Tribes Mission. It was fundamentalist evangelical. There were no speaking in tongues, no filled with the spirit, no laying on of hands (other than beatings, if you want to call that laying on of hands).

I grew up believing that the Assembly of God were going to hell, because they were demon-possessed. And the Catholics were going to hell, because they were idol worshippers. And the native indigenous people were going to hell because they believed in their idols and worshipped demons.

And I was much too scared to believe anything else.

We watched movies like “A Thief in the Night“, enough to scare you into becoming a Christian – and be scared witless any time you found yourself home alone!

You didn’t think “oh wow, great – I can do anything I want“.

No, it was – Oh no, I didn’t really accept Jesus as my Saviour, and now I’ve been left behind!

Finding yourself all alone was a moment of sheer terror.

Among the many fears that I had, was anyone finding out that I had dreams that in any way, shape or form, might have given me any premonition of the future.

Obviously, then I would be demon-possessed or something. Perhaps made a pact with the devil. Or been playing with witch doctors.

Who knows.

In my teenage mind, whatever conclusion they came to, I was doomed.

In the best case scenario, they would try to beat it out of me. Worst case scenario, my parents would be blamed and bear the brunt of the punishment.

Whatever option I looked at – if they didn’t believe that I could in any way have a premonition of the future, then they would say I was wishing it upon my sister and it was evil little mind showing its true colors and wanting to see her harmed. And guess what that would get me?

Yeap – corporal punishment. And I most certainly didn’t expect it to be gentle.

So, full of thoughts of self-preservation – I told no one. Not even my sister.

And that I regret. She probably would have dobbed me in. She may not have believed me. But knowing now what I know – I wish I had trusted her enough to warn her.

Unfortunately, New Tribes Mission did not foster an environment of trust and sharing secrets. And my relationship with my sister was not one of blood brothers. I didn’t trust her with my secret… because I feared that at some moment she would let it out of the bag – probably mercilessly teasing me that I thought I had dreams that could see the future.

If I had gathered up the balls to tell it, when it all happened she would have understood that I knew it was never her fault – that there was no way out of that dark room. She would have known that when I looked away, it wasn’t because I was ashamed of her… it was because I was so ashamed of myself. Of not being brave enough to take a beating so that she could avoid a greater harm.

But I was too scared to share that secret – that I had dreams and simply “knew things” and had absolutely no explanation for how I knew. And I would choose to stay silent, rather than sharing what I knew, because I hadn’t read it in any book and I couldn’t point to “this is where I learned this”.

For years after that, I was too scared to even acknowledge this part of myself. And, as George Orwell says:

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” 

George Orwell

And that dirty little secret got locked up inside of me. Hiding even from myself something that I didn’t want to know I could do.

Because God forbid that a Christian have dreams that could in any way give them a premonition of the future.


  1. I dream that way as well. And finally wrote one out this year. I am 47. Thank you again for sharing.

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