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Learning lessons from our dreams

When I was young, I had a trio of persistent dreams that were very vivid — lucid, almost.

I had the dreams so often that I usually recognized the fact that I was dreaming, and attempted to influence the outcome of the dream, or at least change the experience.

The first dream always began the same way. I was standing at the base of a hill in a field of beautiful green grass and yellow wildflowers, with the sun shining bright just over the hill’s crest.

Atop the hill stood a white wood plank farmhouse that I knew to be Abraham Lincoln’s home, no matter what the history books had said about log cabins.

I’d walk up the hill and walk around the outside of the home, peering in through the windows. I never went on the porch or attempted to enter the house, and no one was ever at home. I knew I was the only living, breathing creature in the landscape and I was quite fine with that. I knew I’d wake up before long.

Once, as I rounded the house and looked at its rough painted surface, I decided I’d touch it and prove to myself I was in a dream. I ran my hand across the boards and wondered how I could feel it so well.

I woke up rubbing my hand on the wall by my bed.

The second dream frightened me. I would “awaken” in my bed, lying on my back, my abdomen opened to reveal I was made of straw, like the scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz.” Farm animals would be gathered around me, contentedly eating the straw. All I could do was watch.

There was always a Holstein dairy cow to my left and an odd-looking horse to my right, with a bunch of other animals I never really made out or could recall later. Except for one — a giraffe next to the horse-thing. Some farm.

I couldn’t speak, and couldn’t move and it terrified me, but I knew I’d wake up.

The third dream always involved me being at a three-story wooden dormitory built onto the side of a rocky beach hill. There were always people everywhere, partying and having a great time. Except for me, and whoever it was trying to catch and kill me.

Sometimes it was Bela Lugosi’s Dracula or Lon Chaney’s Wolfman, but most times it was some unknown person with a gun. Knowing it was a dream, but that I’d just have to ride it out until the police showed up — the dream always ended just as I was trying to explain to the authorities what was going on — I’d find a weapon, or set a trap or just hide and try to wait.

I never knew why I was being hunted and rarely had an actual confrontation. The dream centered more on the dread of being caught and harmed for no good reason.

No matter what I read, watched or ate before going to bed, I never figured out a link from what I did while actually awake to the dreams themselves, their content or frequency.

I don’t know if the dreams had any real meaning. I’m not one who believes that dreams usually do, although God has spoken to his people through dreams at many times across the centuries. And I’ve had dreams that I thought were from God. Like one time I woke up from a dream where my family and I didn’t survive a nasty wreck, so we decided not to travel out of town that next day. We found out later a terrible accident had taken place along our planned route.

But we can learn lessons from just about anything. It’s OK to be in a place where you feel helpless and confused. Just don’t give up.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.