I slammed on the brakes. The bird jumped onto the hood of my car and staggered a bit before collapsing. “It’s hurt,” I wailed as it rose onto its tall legs, spread its massive pink feathers and took flight, appearing semi-translucent, until it plopped onto the ground and hardened like a statue.
Vivid dreams like this doused my slumber ever since I can remember—ones so real I could feel the wind grazing my face, smell the smoke rolling from the fire. Dreams of hugging my long deceased grandmother, her soft cheek pressed to mine. Dreams of flying like the birds sailing smoothly across the sky. Dreams of lying in a field and moving the stars with a single swish of my finger.
These types of dreams stick with us, often throughout the day or even years. One I won’t forget involved a massive wave of water crossing the land and devouring the hillsides. I woke gasping and praying. The next day West Virginia experienced the most devastating flood of the century.
Most of us have experienced the dreams that shake us, that stir us to action or provide a solution to a problem. Dreams that provide insight into a troublesome area of our lives. We know this, yet it seems ludicrous to our left-brained “logical” minds.
How can our dream time offer solutions to our problems and glimpses into the future? How can a dream seem so real that we sit up in bed startled to find we were only dreaming? Could it be that we were actually in spirit form somewhere outside our bodies?
I just know that even scientists don’t know much more than this: we have five stages of sleep and dreaming occurs in the fifth which is REM (rapid eye movement). I’d gladly forgo the whole REM stage myself.
When I was young I’d often wake in the grip of a nightmare. Once, on a high school trip where I shared a room with a girl, I was dreaming about a lady’s mangled face, her mouth was in her forehead, and I woke screaming. My roommate was paralyzed until I hopped up and ran into the hallway. Then my roommate was on my heels because she thought a burglar was in the room with us! I got many a giggle from that, even if she didn’t.
Back then I wondered why God designed us to need sleep. He could’ve easily given us the ability to replenish our energy without this thing called sleep. I reasoned that if I didn’t need to sleep, I wouldn’t have nightmares.
The Bible is full of dream messages from Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s to Joseph’s revelation of Mary’s pregnancy.
This leads me to the conclusion that the fact that we do require sleep means dreams must be crucial too. I can’t explain how we glean insights from the altered state of our being during dream time, but I do believe the messages I receive help me learn lessons I may miss during my waking hours—even messages from a flamingo who flies through my dream and lands on my car to remind me to clear out what no longer serves me and to welcome the bright, new possibilities that will transform my wishes into the real dream I experience in the physical. Merrily, merrily, life is but a … you got this.
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. Access more at soundcloud.com\lifespeaks.