Realizing the dream

11 September 2012

Sunset in Brussels August 2012

Sunset in Brussels August 2012


Repetitive dreams fascinate me; they are more easily interpreted.  Some last until the period of danger is past; some keep coming back if the frustration has not been dealt with.

It is often in September that I find myself dreaming of football.  Maybe it’s the autumnal atmosphere that does it: cooler mornings, dew on the grass, the return to school, the start of the football season; whatever it is the dream is familiar to me.  I get my kit on, I tie my boot laces tight, I run onto the field and I sense the team spirit and the thrill of not knowing what the result will be.  The game gets under way and the ball finally comes to me, I move towards it and go to make a pass, a clearance or even a shot, whatever it is that is demanded of me……and there is no longer any power, the ball trickles away from my foot, or I miss it altogether.  There is nothing I can do; I am no longer what I was.

My most recent experience of this recurring dream ended differently.  It all began as the others had and it came to my first touch.  The opposing goalkeeper took a goal kick, it went high into the air straight down the centre of the pitch and I, playing centre-half, moved towards it as it was about to bounce then much to my frustration and anger the ball went under my foot, I turned to watch its trajectory high over our goalkeeper’s outstretched arms on the edge of the six-yard box and into the net.  No difference yet then.  But then a new awareness came over me. ‘Bruce this is only a dream!  You are in a dream!  This isn’t real; get your act together and control your dream!’  I must have been at an in-between point, between sleep and waking.  So, in response to my new awareness I stirred myself to control my dream.  The ball came to me, I controlled it, dribbled past two players, there even and from the edge of the box launched the ball into the top left-hand corner of the net, wonderful, I still had it (in my dreams!).

As Christians we are at an in-between point, we are as the theologians would put it ‘in the now and not yet’.  The Kingdom is in our midst but it is not fully realized.  It is twilight, or dawn depending on the level of optimism or pessimism, the glass is half full or half empty.

I know that in the real world I will never score a goal like that again; those I played with will tell you that I never did (though I do remember one such occasion!).  There are many other things that are now beyond me.  But there are things that I am now capable of that I wasn’t in earlier years.  I may not be able to control reality as I do a repetitive dream but I still dream dreams about this waking world.  Maybe we sometimes give in all too easily to the view that dreams don’t come true.  If Martin Luther King had been watching Barack Obama accept the Democratic Party’s nomination to seek re-election I think he would be smiling.