Last year, we constructed a fantasy in which we moved to the Scottish countryside for a few years of doctoral study. The cottage in which we spent most of our time was nestled in the verdant hills, just off a country lane. My friend, Joe, wanted to be sure the cottage would have "rustic hard wood floors, a small but sturdy oak dining table, and a kitchen window overlooking a quaint, organic garden blooming with tomatoes, carrots and herbs."
"Yes, yes!" I exclaimed. "And the cottage will have all sorts of large windows (and a bench seat under one window) with sweeping views of the countryside. And there must be a rose garden. And there must be a nook for tea time, and I hope we take high tea everyday."
"AH!" he responded. "How could I forget the bench seat?! I am a fool! I expect nothing less than high tea on a daily basis."
In very little time, we'd created a dream in high definition, complete with hand-painted dishes, freshly preserved marmalade, and rousing tea-time discussions with "tart philosophers, soulful poets, eccentric musicians (preferably fiddlers), colorful authors, brooding psychoanalysts, and elderly widows and widowers of gentrified birth." Our neighbors, Betsy and William, would own a cow and would have their freckled, dimpled 9-year old, Billy, bring us fresh cream every morning. To go with the marmalade and scones, of course. We would churn all leftover cream into butter, which we would sell at the local farmer's market.
Oh, and there's so much more.
Our dreams are often extravagant, but they're not too far outside the realm of realistic possibility. It's the twinge of realism that makes them so sweet. It's unlikely we'll ever realize our Scottish cottage fantasy, but we've both toyed with the idea of doing graduate studies at St. Andrews, so our dreams could have come true. Dreams that could come true are one of my favorite escapes from real life when the going gets tough. They breathe a little bit of hope into dark times.
I've been trying to escape my life into the Land of Daydreams lately. I try to dream about traveling to Spanish-speaking countries or meeting a good guy on an airplane, but these dreams feel too far-fetched after so many months in bed. It's hard to imagine that I'll ever again be able to participate in life enough to travel abroad or date. So lately, I've steered clear of these kinds of dreams. The hope they instill isn't sturdy enough.
But gosh. I need some place to which I can escape. I need a dream that feels magical but could still be realized one day. So I've started daydreaming about the escapades I want to have with Jesus in heaven. I ask myself, "If I were with Jesus right now, in the flesh, what would I want to do with him?" Often, before I enter into these daydreams, I ask God to help me dream. I'm hoping he'll reach in and drop a sparkling idea that makes my heart skip a beat.
The other day I imagined Jesus and I were jumping on a trampoline so big I couldn't see its borders. It is just the two of us at first, bouncing and laughing as you only can when you're flying and flailing. There are hundreds of colorful water balloons on the trampoline, too, bouncing high in the air alongside us but somehow never getting under foot.
After awhile, hundreds, maybe thousands, of other people appear and join us. Everywhere, there are colorful balloons and people laughing with glee, delighting in God's company and in each other, and marveling at the ways we reflect the God we're getting to know so well. Sometimes, a water balloon pops, but instead of water drenching an unsuspecting jumper, small beads of light cascade out of the balloons, each glistening with a different color. There is light confetti everywhere.
A dream that really, truly could come true. I hope it does.
Hey God, I hope this dream comes true, okay? Maybe Moses, Elisabeth Elliot, and my grandpa can help you fill all those water balloons. In the meantime, I'll be rallying as many trampoline troops as I can down here. I'll tell them about your love, and I'll pray for them, and I'll do my best love them like you do. And hey, would you use this sickness of mine to somehow draw people to you? I'd love it that trampoline were extra full because of my sickness. That would be just the greatest.
© by scj