Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Striving for Daylight and Living the Dream

Most of us have standard autopilot greetings for each other on a day to day basis.  Most of us ignore these greetings, and give a standard autopilot reply.  There’s one that I used to hear on a pretty regular basis that I never understood. 
I would greet someone with, “How are you doing?”

Now this sounds like a standard greeting, but those who know me know when I say that I actually want to know how someone is doing!  I’m overjoyed when I get a real answer!
But sometimes someone would answer in a way that I just didn’t understand.  Frankly, it irritated me.
“How are you doing?”

“I’m  Livin’ the Dream.” (They always say it with capital letters.  I still don’t understand how they do that ‘cuz they say it in monotone, and usually with droopy eyelids.)

Huh?  Ok….

One day I reached a point where I heard that phrase uttered one too many times by a guy behind the coffee shop counter so I asked him:
“What does that mean anyway?”

He looked poleaxed.  Like me in third grade when my teacher, Miss Ludwig, had just called on me to answer a question in class when I wasn’t paying attention (which was often).  I think he was kind of afraid he might give the wrong answer, and it would go on his PERMANENT RECORD (said with a loud voice and an echo).

“Um…  I never thought about it.  It’s just my standard greeting.”
 “Ok, just thought I’d ask.  I hear it so much I figure someone has to know.”

I kept asking people.  No one had an answer.  I filed it in the back room of my brain (it’s getting pretty cluttered back there – too many unanswered questions, like: Why is there an ‘S’ in the word ‘lisp’).

Then I discovered a few years ago that I started to dream differently than I used to.

It used to be that, like most people, I would have a dream and wake up in befuddlement thinking the dream was true for a few moments.  I would usually feel a sense of relief that the dream was in fact not happening.  Most of my dreams were, at the least, confusing.

Things changed a while back though.  I developed an awareness of my dreams.  I will be in the middle of a dream and realize that I am in fact having a dream, and I become more of an observer than a participant.  I find myself often telling someone in the dream, “This is just a dream.  I’m going to wake up now.”
Sometimes if it’s a particularly bad dream I’ll yell at myself.  “NO! NO! NO!  THIS IS JUST A DREAM!  WAKE UP YOU IDIOT!”

There was a time in my life when I was unaware of all this.  My dreams were an escape, and sometimes a refuge.  Someplace to drift along without a care regardless of whether they were good or bad dreams.  They offered variety if nothing else.
When I understood the difference in my dreams I discovered something else.

I no longer need the escape. 

Now, when I realize I’m in the dream, I have found that my most fervent desire is to wake up.  Not because I don’t like the dream.  The quality of the dream is irrelevant.

With all the good and the bad that happens in the world today I still find that my life is a wonderful gift.  It is no longer necessary for me to escape reality.  When I realize I’m in the dream I claw my way to wakefulness.   I strive to reach daylight so I can live my life another day!
Want to know why?  I want to wake up because my life now is better than my dreams!  I wake up next to a wonderful, beautiful woman.  I wake up knowing that my kids and grandkids and the rest of my family are still out there, and they love me!
I am living the dream!  

I now find that I am reluctant to sleep.

It wasn’t easy to get where I am – ohh no!  I know there’s a lot of you out there who struggle through daily existence.  I get it.  I’ve been there.  Sometimes you feel like you pay a price for living.  Sometimes you realize that you still have to deal with some nightmare people.  

I discovered that Forgiveness – both given and received – is the greatest harbinger of peace that has ever been, and I have discovered that I need to pursue it daily.

Some days hope is harder to come by than others, but I want you to know that Joy is still possible.  Every day is different, and somewhere down the road daylight is still there waiting to greet you.

“- Joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5

©Dan Bode 2017