I dream my painting and I paint my dream.Vincent Willem van Gogh
I had the strangest dream last night.
I was lying on a narrow bed, like a chaise lounge, my head propped on pillows. I was immobile, and my body was cold. Everything was cold. I wasn’t breathing, but I was alive. It was as if I were made of stone. A thin sheet of fine fabric completely covered me, like a shroud, and it blocked out the light somewhat – so everything had that grey cast, like your bedroom in the morning just before the sun first comes up from beneath the horizon.
Then I was looking down on myself. It was sometimes me and sometimes not me. I was made of stone. Marble. Then I was human, flesh and fabric. It kept changing. Beside me on the bed, near my feet, were some books, a quill and inkwell, and a pineapple.
Those things by my feet seemed so significant.
Then I was standing beside myself lying on the bed. Suddenly it was not me any more. I stepped nearer, to take a closer look. It was a statue. But it was real. The man beneath the veil turned his head towards me, although he was made of stone.
Who are you? I whispered.
Cristo velato, he said. He looked right at me. He held my eyes with great intensity. And said something that sounded like File to lavoro.
I woke, the words running through my head. Cristo velato. File to lavoro.
Cristo Velato. It’s Italian and translates as Christ Veiled. It’s actually a statue by Giuseppe Sanmartino, Veiled Christ, completed in 1753.
I looked up the statue. It looked unnervingly like the one I dreamed about.
I have never seen this statue. I knew nothing of it until my dream. It is a statue of Jesus after he died and was taken down from the Cross. You can clearly see the pain and suffering still etched in Christ’s face and body. Beside him are the Crown of Thorns, and something else. I was not certain what, so I Googled that too. I found that these are pliers and shackles – known as The Instruments of Passion. Passion here means suffering, rather than your heart’s desires.
That resonated with me. In my dream, as I lay on that bed, as I was that statue, I felt empty and spent. Like I was at an end.
That’s close to how I feel right now, truth be told. It has only been as I have slowed down that I have come to understand how deeply exhausted I am. How ready to rest, and to embrace change.
So, having worked out Cristo Velato I turned my attention to that other phrase, assuming it may also be Italian.
File to lavoro?
I was getting nowhere with that. Until I spoke it into Google.
This is what came back.
fai il tuo lavoro
It’s also Italian. It translates as Do your work.
This brought me to my knees. Tears came. I could barely breathe.
Do your work.
Do your work, Nicole.
Once again in my mind’s eye I see the books, the quill and ink, the pineapple.
Fai il tuo lavoro. Do your work.
What does it all mean? I certainly don’t see this as me morphing into Jesus somehow. Instead I see it as a potent message. Here is Christ, just before he was buried. It looks like the end for him, but then comes the Resurrection.
Oh, this is big for me. The symbolism.
I’ll find some quiet time today, and journal this. I’ll pray on it. Meditate on it. And wait. I expect that understanding will come. In my prayers and meditations I have never asked for lotto numbers, or a great windfall, or even to be well. I have asked only that I can be of service, that I can give my life in service, and be well used as an instrument for the Universe, offering all that I am and all that I have. That I may see a way to use my gifts. That I can live out my life in devotion to that path. I have done what is in front of me, but all the while I have felt there was more, if only I could become clear about what that might be.
I have been here. Trusting. Waiting.
Fai il tuo lavoro.
Do the work.
Well, I am ready. And I feel it in my bones. It is time.
I still haven’t figured out that pineapple… But I will. There’s no hurry for me to unpack this dream. The meaning will make itself clear in right timing.
Much love, Nicole xx