I can’t remember what it was about. I can’t remember who was in it. All I remember is that it was a happy place.
Relaxing. Peaceful. Serene.
Everything good dreams are made of.
Each poke of her little index finger on my shoulder hit the elevator button on my slumber, bringing me up from a sub-terrainian Stage 5 sleep to the lobby of reality.
“Huh? Hey, Emma…what is it, baby?”
“I have a headache and my stomach hurts.”
So much for the happy place. I’d love to close my eyes and go back. But on this day I’ve been tapped out of my dreams.
Dreams. We are fascinated by them. So much so that they are part of our speech. “You’re dreaming”, we say to someone we think to be living in La-La Land or are hoping for something impossibly out of reach. To which they may reply, “Oh well, I can dream can’t I?”, expressing that hope really does spring eternal.
“Dream with me!” says the team leader at work when he wants to inspire thinking outside the box, or cubicle, as it were. And when the cumulative results are presented to the boss, she may say, “This is what happens when we dream big!” Or she might say, “Nice try. But it’s a pipe dream…” a poetic way of saying you’d come up with better ideas after an all-nighter in an opium den.
Guys hope for their “dream girl”. Girls hope for their “dream guy”. And in the dreaming neither stop to consider that even if and when they find them they will be creatures who squeeze the toothpaste in the middle and leave wet towels on the floor.
People speak of their “dream job” and their “dream vacation” knowing that if they can ever figure a way to combine the two they’d be “living the dream”, a phrase that suggests there’s no point in sleeping because what you see with your eyes open beats anything you’ll see with them shut.
Dreaming is the hope for something better. Something grander. Something that takes us beyond ourselves. Out of the mundane mud into the golden glory. Wherever we find ourselves, we long to live and exist on a higher plane. A tall order in this broken world, but we still try because inherent in each of us is a desire to be more than we are. We all want to live the dream.
It’s the broken world part that gets in the way.
Some 55 days ago my friend Greg was living the dream. Beautiful wife, three precocious children, and a job he enjoys. Because of a senseless, thoughtless driver, Greg’s dream was shattered when his wife Leigh Ann was killed.
My high school friend Crysti watched her Mom pass away last week after a long battle with cancer. She already lost her sister to that disease.
A few days ago one of my Facebook friends sadly posted, “Baby Jackson lost his fight to survive today. At 6:52pm today, Jackson Thomas Watt took his last breath on earth & his first breath in Heaven…he’s with his Maker now…we love you little man…”
When it comes to dreams, Greg and Crysti and Jackson’s parents are all tapped out.
Maybe you are, too.
Psalm 121:4 tells us that God never sleeps. Nor does He slumber. And in that verse the Psalmist describes God as “Israel’s protector”. There’s a degree of security in having a body guard. But even they need sleep. Imagine a protector who never tires and never needs a nap? Better, imagine that same Protector as the One protecting you?
In this broken world, some of our dreams will turn to nightmares. They are awful and terrifying. Yet even in these, God is our protector who never sleeps. When our dreams are broken, when our dreams seem impossibly far away, God is wide awake; always paying undivided attention to the details of our lives. We may toss and turn, yet God is here for us with the divine calm that comes from having everything under control.
I did manage to go back to sleep. That happy place was just around the corner. I could feel it.
“Daddy…I had a bad dream.”
“No worries, Annie. It’s all good. God’s right here.”
“I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and secure.”
– Psalm 4:8
Todd A. Thompson – April 29, 2010