I’ve been dreaming of a place I’ve never been before. An endless plain covered in water, like a vast puddle with small islands of swampy ground and grass. Sometimes there are concrete buildings, like a commercial zone or strip mall. Sometimes it feels like I’m in a cave, a roof overhead that I cannot see. There are people there I don’t know, but it my dreams it always seems normal.
I also found myself dreaming in English, Spanish, and Chinese. I was trying to speak to someone and I wasn’t sure what language they spoke. In my dream I could actually speak Chinese naturally, at a level I am nowhere near in the waking world.
There are always common themes in my dreams, places and people I know, even if I don’t know them when I wake up. Faces as familiar to me as family that disappear when I wake. Sometimes they are people I know, but their faces are not the ones they wear in this world. I saw my mother the other night, but she was young and only vaguely looked like herself.
My dreams are always weird. I have trouble differentiating between dreams and reality. Sometimes I spend hours knowing I forgot something important, only to finally remember that it was a dream. Sometimes I wake up and can’t figure out where I am and how I got there, like a sudden glitch in reality moved me from the beach in San Diego to a bed in a strange room. I don’t know how I went from flying over dinosaurs to being stuck on the ground when I wake.
Most of the time it happens when I don’t sleep enough, or I sleep too much. That means almost every night, even if the dream is just a feeling that something has changed when I wake up. It has always been like that for me, but a couple things have changed recently.
The first is becoming aware that I am dreaming, but staying asleep. The other night I lost my wallet in the dream, but I somehow realized through the panic that it wasn’t real. Then I started flying, it was awesome. Some people call it lucid dreaming, but it’s not quite there. I knew it was a dream, but I still had no real control, I just decided to fly, and so I did. Trying to come back down was impossible.
The second is the demons. I have had occasional dreams of demons attacking me or trying to scare me throughout my life. Now, I find that I am controlled by the fear. I see what they are, and it frightens me, but I can control the fear. Sometimes I just get exasperated that I was even scared of them for a moment. When they get really bad I find my first reaction is to call for Jesus, not out of panic, just asking for help with something I have no ability to fight.
In this world I rarely look to God for help. I know he’s there, but I figure he gave me what I need to deal with all the problems I have in this world. When it comes to darker things, I have no problem looking to a higher power. I don’t know that any of it is real, but I have seen enough to believe.
That’s the interesting thing about faith, it’s always a choice, even if we forget that we are still making it. I’ve had discussions over the year about it, whether God is there and what He wants, but I don’t think he’s that interested in this world we have created for ourselves. Asking God for help here feels like running to my parents and complaining that my imaginary friend hit me. I realize that still comes a place of privilege, a life where I can choose what to believe and where I have access to the information to find my answers.
Some people choose violence, or have it chosen for them. Some people never learn to run, or don’t survive long enough to begin to understand. Some people choose madness, so trapped in their certainty and pride that they can never see they’re wrong. I don’t know why, but I have done it myself, spending years angry and afraid. The only goal now is to become the person I want to be, if I ever really figure out who that is.