Wednesday, August 10, 2011


2 a : a visionary creation of the imagination

What do you dream of?  I don't just mean at night when you're asleep (although you're welcome to share those dreams as well).  Do you daydream?  Fantasize?  Slip away to another world in your mind?  I realized this week that I regularly dream, but that I didn't daydream at all last week when I was on vacation.  Why?  One very simple reason: I dream to escape my reality.  And who wants to escape when your reality is a Caribbean island, a beach view, a shaded pool and a complete lack of responsibility?

I found myself slipping back into one of my favorite daydreams on Monday while driving A to her ballet class.  The van was momentarily quiet, so I slipped into a favorite daydream and was aware that it fit slightly differently.  I'm used to my dreams laying casually about my shoulders, settling in around me like a soft cloak that I can shrug on or off whenever I want and as quickly as needed.  But this dream had grown a bit stiff having sat on the shelf for a week.  It scratched a little as I tried to slip into it.

I think there's a definite devaluing of dreams in our world today.  Several months ago as A and I listened to The Story of the World on CD, a story about a dream struck me.  A general/emperor/king (the details escape me) was about to lead his men into battle.  They were encamped within sight of the enemy and the battle was to begin the next day.  This leader dreamed that the flag he flew in battle was different than the flag of his family.  So he ordered a new flag made early the next morning.  The new flag flew and victory was won.  You can't tell a story like this to someone today and expect to get anything other than sheer disbelief as a reaction.  People don't trust their dreams - sleeping or waking.

We don't trust our dreams because we distrust mystery.  We don't believe we should listen to what our heart tells us when we sleep at night.  We are suspicious of our imagination and its ability to take us to places we've never physically been.  Yet I am convinced that our dreams - waking and sleeping - matter very much.

One of my favorite dreams of late has been imagining a new home for our family.  I love our current home, but houses built in the 1920s don't have enough closet space to accommodate three teenaged girls - a state that is rapidly approaching for our family.  J longs for a newer house, a house where there aren't consistently a half dozen project begging to be done.  I long to stay in our quirky, colorful neighborhood.  My dream solution? To buy a lot and build a new home in our mature neighborhood.  Depending on the day and my mood, I might dream about choosing the perfect colors for each bedroom or what layout might best serve our family's artistic, work and entertainment needs.  Would it be better to have several rooms open to allow free movement when entertaining?  Is the ideal spot for the kitchen near the middle or the back of the house?  Would I want a front porch or a wraparound?  Could an art studio double as an at-home office?  This dream can take me so many different places.  I have no idea whether any of them will ever become reality, but I believe there's value in giving myself over to my dreams.

As I've been pondering how I use dreaming in my daily life, another blog I read has been discussing living your dreams.  This seemed like too much coincidence for me to not write about it.  I'm not sure whether my dreams are meant to be lived out or just dreamed right now.  Will we build a house?  Will I start a homeschool tutorial that's different from the current offerings in our city (my other favorite dream du jour)?  I don't know and, frankly, I'm not sure I care whether these dreams ever come to fruition.

I love my life.  I love having three daughters and getting front row seats to the process of growing up.  I love teaching A and B and learning alongside them.  But my life is also filled with mundane (read: boring) tasks like laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and chauffeuring.  My dreams keep me alive.  They give me some of what I need to do the things that are necessary, if not fulfilling.  My dreams keep me going.

Dreams matter.  What are yours?

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