Friday, October 29, 2010


I rarely remember my dreams.  From time to time I wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of a particularly troubling dream.  Those dreams I well remember.  During our early years of marriage, I had a recurring dream in which I was stranded on a deserted road in the middle of some barren wasteland.  In the far distance, I could see a tiny red car speeding in my direction.  As the car drew nearer, I saw that it was a little red convertible sports car.  I began to wave my arms relieved that someone had at last come to my rescue.  Jumping up and down and waving waving big X's over my head, I was shocked when the car sped past me without slowing down even the tiniest bit.  Even more shocking was the fact that it was Alan who waved back at me from the driver's seat.  Next to him in the passenger's seat was some beautiful blonde whose long shiny locks gracefully streamed behind her in the breeze.  As they zipped away into the distance, I sat in the middle of the road and cried my eyes out.  Waking from this dream generally meant that Alan would have to endure my silence and consternation for the first few hours of the day.  "Why am I always the BAD guy in your dreams?!"  "That's a good question, Alan.  Why do YOU think that you're the bad guy in my dreams?  Hmmm?"  

For years after I "retired" from school teaching to raise our boys, I had recurring school teacher nightmares.  I dreamt that I couldn't remember the names of any my students during my principal's classroom observation.  I dreamt that I got all the way to school before noticing that I wasn't wearing shoes.  Or, I was in my bathrobe.  Oh, there's the one where I couldn't remember where my classroom was, so I nonchalantly wandered the building trying to figure out which class didn't have a teacher.  It seems that most school teachers suffer from similar dreams.  I guess accountants and grocery store managers have their own special brands of night terrors.  "My calculator had only letters....NO NUMBERS!"  "We were totally out of sacks, so we had to load the customers' pockets with lemons and cans of tomato soup!"

My favorite dreams are those in which I am able to take a little running start, flap my arms, and soar up into the sky.  I fly high in the clouds.  I skim just above rooftops.  I fly away from bad guys trying to catch me.  I fly to meetings because it's faster than driving.  There are times when I barely flap my arms and simply float on the breeze.  There are times when my wild flapping makes my hands numb.  Sometimes I land nonchalantly on crowded sidewalks and fall in step with the lowly walkers.  Sometimes I land in treetops and spy on unsuspecting neighbors from my hideout in the leaves.  It never rains or snows during these dreams.  It's always sunny, springlike weather with a soft warm breeze rustling through my hair.  Apparently, my flying self does not live in West Texas. 

Alan has dreams about college.  His nightmares include forgetting to go to class until the last week of the semester and not being able to remember his class schedule at all.  He was always a diligent student who stayed on top of his reading assignments, so dreams of academic irresponsibility can cause him to toss and turn through the night.  My college dreams center around wondering how everyone knows where they are supposed to be.  My roommate goes to classes and studies.  Me?  I can't figure out how she even knows to do that.  I can't recall that in these dreams I ever feel particularly nervous about missing all my classes.  Oops!  Oh, well!

My mother has convoluted, bizarre dreams that she likes to share in excruciating detail.  "I was walking down the street and a bunch of babies came crawling from the other direction.  I tried to pick them all up at the same time, but my hat kept falling off.  It was a pretty blue hat that my daddy gave me for my 20th birthday, and it cost a lot of money!  I was worried that those babies were all going to start crying at the same time!  I just didn't know what on earth I would do with all of those crying babies!  Finally, I decided that their mothers would all figure out that their babies had wandered off and would eventually come find them.  So, I put them all down and went to get ice cream."  "That's so weird, Mom."  "Aren't you going to ask me what kind of ice cream I got?!  Well, it was chocolate!  Two scoops on a waffle cone!"   For years she poured herself a morning cup of coffee and dialed up Aunt Wanda.  "Guess what I dreamed last night?!"  Sweet, sweet Wanda would listen and respond appropriately - "Really?!"  "My goodness!"  "Is that right!?"  "What were those mothers thinking?!" - while sipping on her first few cups of coffee of the day.  

Then, there came a time when my mom would call me and say, "Guess what song I woke up singing?!"  "I don't know Mom.  What song did you wake up singing?"  Invariably, she would sing the answer to my question.  Her tiny soprano voice warbled into the phone line through the air and into my handset.  "When we allllllll get to heaven...what a day of rejoicing it will beeeeee...When we all see-ee Jeee-ZUS...We'll sing and shout the vic-to-reeeeee!"  "Mom, are you feeling OK?"  "Yes.  I don't think I'm going to see Jesus today, but, if I do [again, singing] I'll SING and SHOUT the vic-to-reeeee!"  A few days later I might answer the phone and hear the sweet strains of "I come to the gar-den a-loooooooone!  While the dew is still on the ro-o-ses!  And, the voice I hear...falling on my ear...the Son of God disclo-o-sessssss. [dramatic pause] Annnnnnnd, heeeee walks-with-me, and he talks-with-me, and he tellllllllls me I am his ooooooooown!  And the joooooooy we shaaaaaare as we tarry therrrrrrrrre [again, the pause] none otherrrrr has everrrrrr knooooooooooown!"  Followed by a lilting, "It's your mother calling!  Don't you think that it's neat that I wake up with a hymn on my lips?"  I would have probably chosen the word "unsettling," but I didn't want her to know that I was kind of freaking out by these morning choral epiphanies.  I could  hear myself saying, "That morning she called and sang three stanzas of Amazing Grace to me!  She sounded just fine!  Then..."  

I wish I could remember more of my dreams.  I wish that I woke up with hymns of praise on my lips.  Instead, I wake up with cotton mouth and wild woman hair wishing that I could stay in my cozy bed for another hour or so eating Honey Nut Cheerios while watching Lifetime movies like "Heart of a Stranger, Soul of a Fiend" or "In Her Mother's Footsteps Wearing Her Father's Shoes."  Until the good Lord sees fit to imbed the notes of songs into my early morning consciousness, I guess I'll just have to call Mom and put her on speaker phone.  "It's VIC-TOW-RY in JE-E-SUS!  My SAV-YORE FOR-E-E-VER!  He SOUGHT meeee and BOUGHT meeee with HIS re-DEEM-ING BLOOOOOOOD!"

Amen, Sista!  Amen.

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