I’m putting an enormous contact lens into my eye. I have some doubt that it will fit, and though I know I’ve done it before, I’m a little confused as to how I should go about it.
I’m joyfully moving from room-to-room and no matter how small the house, each room contains a door, a hatch, a staircase that leads to yet another room. The discovery of each new room is exhilerating.
Those are two of my most frequent reoccurring dreams.
For years, I shared them with no one and so I was certain that I was the only person who had them, but when I mentioned the contact lens dream to a colleague, she said, “Me, too. I have that dream all the time!”
Then, I told my sister about the dream in which I am discovering rooms endlessly, and she said, “That is the best dream. I love having that one.” She agreed that it is just a thrill that is impossible to describe to someone who hasn’t had it. It’s on the level of holding a newborn baby or winning the lottery. (Of course, I wouldn’t know about the latter, but it came to mind. So, I’ll use it.)
My other reoccurring dream themes are buildings wrapped in scaffolding and archaeology. I’m not sure how common those are. I suspect they have to do with both my personality type and my interests.
I can tell you what most dreams mean. Dream interpretation is one of my two parlor tricks. Handwriting analysis is the other and I’m pretty good at both.
It’s good to have a talent—or two, but they can get me in trouble. When I was about 17, a woman in her mid-thirties told me that she had a reoccurring dream that she was looking for small animals—rabbits, kittens, mice—in the forest. When she found them, they were all dead. Without thinking and perhaps without understanding the magnitude of some decisions we all eventually make, I blurted it out. “You think you want to have a baby, but you are afraid you will be a crappy mother.” She cried. Thankfully, most dream interpretation is not so dramatic—or even personal.
Last night, I dreamt I was walking along a deserted beach in the moonlight, and the waves kept sweeping me off my feet and slamming me into the sand. When this would happen, I would stand up, take a few steps, and get slammed by a wave again. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has had this dream. I’d even bet that it is a common one because the interpretation is easy, even obvious. The wave is life. We get slammed to the ground by life—repeatedly. I know that sounds incredibly gloomy and even violent. But is it? I’d say that there is good news in this dream because we pick ourselves up and we keep going. I find a lot of encouragement in that. Maybe if the waves washed me out to sea, I’d be concerned, but that has yet to happen.
Curiously, I don’t believe that the events of my own life brought on that particular dream—at least not last night. I think watching the third season of Downton Abbey did. For one thing, Highclere Castle was in the background, and I fell asleep thinking that it happens in all soap operas—just when everyone is sighing with great relief and patting themselves on the back saying, “Look how far we have come! The worst is behind us!” tragedy strikes. If that didn’t happen, they wouldn’t have much of a plot. They’d have an ending. “And they all lived happily ever after.”
As a child, I very much accepted that the characters of a story “lived happily ever after” once I closed the book or turned off the television, and that was, in my mind, a good thing. I was always eager to find my own “happily ever after.”
As an adult, however, I wonder if “living happily ever after” doesn’t really mean, “And nothing interesting ever happened to them again.” “And having learned this final lesson, they stopped learning and growing and discovering. Instead, they lived out the rest of their days smiling and yawning and napping because well, what else was there to do?” Now, see? That is a dismal ending! That’s worse than a dream of being swept out to sea, isn’t it?
I think I will meditate on this idea for a while, and just be thankful I haven’t come to a happily ever after in my own life. I’ll be thankful for every dream that tells me to keep going, pick myself up, brush off the sand and take another step forward. It’s not just a dream or an episode of Downton Abbey, but life.