I have dreams and, in a word, they’re horrible. They aren’t nightmares, they are, in fact, horrible dreams. They all begin the same way: i’m in the middle of something when i find myself in conversation with someone. I find myself living out the reality i want, with the people i want, in a heart-felt moment of reconciliation — expressing things of great value and saying the things i wish to say to, to those i wish to say them and they, of course, have the affect they would only have in dreams — poof, all is right with the world.
Sometimes, in a strange twist, i figure out i’m only dreaming and in an even stranger twist, when i realize i’m dreaming, i leave the scene, whomever i was talking to, and moments later, i die. Often, I walk out the door and find myself stepping through into nothing and i plummet to my death a la Going Postal. Sometimes, i get hit by a car or bus crossing the street, Other times i drive my car off the road, die in explosion while cooking dinner at my electric stove, drown, am shot or hung, shoot myself or hang myself, choke on my favorite meal or some of my mothers baked goods, or am eaten alive by sharks or bears, my own dogs or sometimes ferrets. Comical.
Regardless of the manner in which i die, (while i’m falling, being eaten, choking, gagging) while i’m dying, i close my eyes and feel a great sense of relief, like something is finally right with the world. When i die, i don’t wake up but, rather, i find myself in Heaven (or what i dream Heaven would be like). I don’t talk to God, or ask him questions. I need only to experience His presence, like when stepping out of the shade into the light and feeling the goose bumps grow as the sun warms your face and body, and there, in His presence, i experience what i can only describe as the confluence of knowledge, understanding, restoration and reconciliation; the peace of being made whole. It’s like the urgency, excitement and anticipation you feel as you rush out to meet, face to face, the voice of a loved one as they shuffle through the door. It’s the kind of visceral thing that brings one to tears.
It’s just then that i wake up. It’s just then that i wake up.
I started seeing a counselor about my dreams and, at his suggestions, decided to start taking anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication. The medication had several side effects, one of which was the suppression of R.E.M. sleep. I stopped dreaming, stopped sleeping deeply and was essentially power-napping for 8 hours a night. I don’t know if you power-nap much but after a while, you just start to feel like you’re constantly running on energy drinks. You’re awake, but you’re not. You’re there, but you’re not. You’re conscious, but in a drug-induced like stupor. You hear and feel everything.
I stopped taking the medication and, thus, started dreaming again. The faces are different but the dreams are pretty much the same. The dreaming, the talking, the dying, the healing, the waking up and then, the dénouement — the disappointment, it’s all there, for almost two years now. Regardless of how i wake up, whether i live or die in my dream, whether i find my happy ending or not, the inevitable disappointment is the same, just as intense. I’ve done it so many times that i almost dread going to sleep, and sometimes, while i’m dreaming, i think to myself…“here comes the part where i wake up…” It’s disappointment upon disappointment. It’s Groundhog’s Day. It’s a fate worse than death.
I had the same dream 4 times in six hours, Now, it’s 4AM and i am frustrated and all i can really think about is the idea that the truth of this life is that our dreams don’t really matter, and the truth about our dreams is that they often lie to us, they mislead us. Hollywood makes a fortune selling us second chances and the reason we love buying them is because they are, indeed, very rare. They don’t happen everyday.
Who would spend twelve dollars to go to the theater to see what is common, of the everyday variety and mundane? Who would want to pay for a happy ending when they can just go home and do it themselves and make one of their own? Why would we dream about things that are simple? What’s the point of dreaming if only to dream about that which is real?
Life would be so boring….
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.
(Song of Solomon 8:6-7 ESV)