I am a dreamer. Not so much of the “can’t-pay-attention-because-I’m-imaging-an-idyllic-life- herding-goats-in-the-Alps” variety. Also not the “come-up-with-big-schemes-and-never- accomplish-any-of-them” kind. It’s the nighttime kind. The crawl-under-the-covers-and-snooze kind I like best.
Here are some reasons why.
I often have a little subconscious welcoming committee. Late at night as I’m getting sleepy I frequently find myself remembering the previous night’s dreams. The mood returns, the characters, the improbable plots – as though they had been there all day waiting for my conscious mind to do its daytime busyness and get back to the real world. Once I am asleep, the mood, characters and improbable plots are completely different, but on goes the loopy narrative like one long “exquisite corpse” project. (Such an unfortunate name.)
I can do cool things in my dreams. I go up or down stairs without touching down more than once or twice. This happens so often I sometimes think this is a talent I possess in my conscious life. I often fly, swoop or hover just over the ground. A couple years ago our family tried a segway tour (like all the other tourists in DC) and the sensation of navigating that odd vehicle was a waking version of what happens a lot in my dreams. (Does this symbolically mean that I’m ungrounded or out of touch with reality?)
Cows fly in my dreams. Not just cows. Any animal could fly or sing in a chorus or prance in a kick line. In one dream a whole herd of Holstein cows arose out of their lush green field, galloping skyward over their red barn, mooing Alleluias, arcing across a blue, blue sky.
The animal I see most often in my dreams is my dog, Worthy, who died in 2005 at age 13. I am always delighted to see him, nuzzle my face in his fur, take in that doggy scent, watch him galumph through meadows. Whenever I see him on these occasions, I marvel that he is so fit and vigorous since I have no memory of filling his bowl for years. “We should go visit the vet,” I tell him. “They won’t believe this!”
Several years ago while I slept I met another loved one who had passed. I won’t call it a dream because is was qualitatively different. In this event, my mother (not a Mormon and still alive, living a couple hours away) came to me all in white and told me she wanted to introduce me to someone. My mother left and a different woman in white stepped forward.
That woman was her mother who died in 1939. She looked to be in her mid-30’s. I recognized her as a older version of the graduating nursing student from 1901 whose picture I treasured. The love between us was powerful, palpable, immediate. We embraced. We didn’t speak but we communicated. She let me know that she loved me and that she was very grateful to me. We were both crying.
I woke up abruptly, my cheeks still streaming with tears. My pillowcase was soaked. In the morning I told my roommate about this holy encounter. Four days later I received in the mail confirmation that my grandmother’s temple work was ready to be done. The envelope was postmarked with the date I’d had my “dream.”
I hadn’t been to the temple yet when I had this experience. Parts of the “dream” make more sense to me now that I have been. There are some aspects of the temple that perplex and sometimes wound me. I have learned to lean on my grandmother’s perspective. There must be something powerful going on there if she came all the way from where she is to thank me. I trust her. I trust that experience. It is one of the “realest” of my life.
My mother was never particularly keen on my having become Mormon. Once, either feeling prompted by or ignoring the Spirit (sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference) I told her about my “meeting” her mother. Mom, who was something of a food allergy fanatic, replied matter-of-factly, “I always have weird dreams after I eat beef.”
Clearly she didn’t give the event any spiritual weight. Mom, who passed away in 1994, might answer differently now. I’m still not sure why she, a living person, had a part in this encounter. Should I expect a logical framework for something like this?
Generally I don’t share this particular story. Sacred things are not to be trifled with. And I don’t really want the rest of the world to assume I’m a fruitcake, or to have others suggest I avoid beef.
But there. I have shared it. Just between you and me.
Yeah, right. With this posted on the internet?
Hey, I can dream, can’t I?