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.)
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