Call me Captain anti-motivation and the King of Killed Esteem, but in a genuine sense, I hope my dreams never come true.
I hope your dreams never come true too.
CS Lewis’s wild eyed sea wanderer of “The Dawn Treader” gives a cautionary story to Caspian and his crew. They must turn back from the track they are on, the “Dark Island” awaits them beyond the fog:
“Fly! Fly! About with your ship and fly! Row, row, row for your lives away from this accursed shore.”
“Compose yourself,” said Reepicheep, “and tell us what the danger is. We are not used to flying.”
The stranger started horribly at the voice of the Mouse, which he had not noticed before. “Nevertheless you will fly from here,” he gasped. “This is the Island where Dreams come true.”
“That’s the island I’ve been looking for this long time,” said one of the sailors. “I reckoned I’d find I was married to Nancy if we landed here.”
“And I’d find Tom alive again,” said another.
“Fools!” said the man, stamping his foot with rage. “That is the sort of talk that brought me here, and I’d better have been drowned or never born. Do you hear what I say? This is where dreams -dreams, do you understand, come to life, come real. Not daydreams: dreams.”
After a short moment of thought, the crew scrambles to turn back the ship in manicked desperation. Why? Because it only took a few seconds for them to recall, “certain dreams they had had – dreams that make you afraid of going to sleep again – and to realize what it would mean to land on a country where dreams come true.”
Terror by night
As a child, I used to get night terrors. These are like nightmares on acid and steroids. I only vaguely remember them. I’d bolt upright in bed eyes wide open and crippled by an insane fear. I was inconsolable. Cold feverish sweats. Squirming. I seemed there, but wasn’t. Mom would take me outside on the front porch to look at the moon and stars and coax me out of this nocturnal horror.
I never could remember the exact plotline of those dreams, but I did know that something harrowing, unnatural and inevitable was coming after me. Running in quicksand would give way to terrified acceptance. To be “got” by such a brooding dark force was the hell of a six year old.
For my four-year old, Josiah, it’s spider nightmares. Big nasty black ones knee-high. Crawling up his leg in droves. This may be why his favorite superhero is SpiderMan. His greatest fear has become a force for good, a character he can adorn himself with without worry of poisonous bites. SpiderMan helps take the fangs out of spiders.
But Spiderman still needs to sleep in daddy and momma’s bed from time to time.
Studies show a healthy majority of dreams are nightmares. We romanticize good dreams, where we fly like an eagle over a disco beach party, or reunite with old family and friends over Merlot and T-Bone. But those are few and far between. Most dreams promote a tinge of foreboding and uneasiness. They aren’t just comedies, they are comedy-tragedies, where the other shoe drops on us and jars us awake.
The Deadly Daydream
Nevertheless, to “dream” holds a positive connotation in modern culture. Walt Disney World is a delightful kingdom where “All Your Dreams Come True.” “If you can dream it, you can achieve it,” says the motivational movers and shakers of Self Help fame. From a young age kids are indoctrinated to fearlessly follow their hearts and pursue their dreams into the great future abyss.
Selling the “American Dream” has become a multi billion dollar industry. Coats and boats, vacation homes and 2.3 kids, all have become synonymous with self actualization. Our dreams are filled with stuff and affirmation from people we don’t even like. We live vicariously through the beer commercial, like hot tubbing on a mountaintop or playing volleyball on a beachhead will cure our soul ills. This utopic nationalistic fantasy is just that: fantasy.
When used in Hallmark Card terms these are daydreams, not dreams in the nocturnal sense. Even these fantasy daydreams have some unspoken darker themes. We dream up a land where we’re the King, where all manner of pleasures bow before our whims, where our closest family and friends would be marginalized and forgotten. If we’re honest, there are certain aspects to our daydreams we would never dream of sharing with our most intimate confidants.
If such recesses of our imagination came to flesh it would shipwreck our life.
We should hope and pray all of our dreams never come true.
That’s why Christ appeals to a Kingdom outside of us as a King over us. All while gently placing His Kingdom reign within us through the Holy Spirit (Luke 17:21). No man can know his own heart fully (Jeremiah 17:9). That sickly hollow muscle must be remade. A world where individual fallen man’s dreams all came true would be a literal hell indeed.
So we chase not after our dreams.
But after a King and a Kingdom.
Where all HIS dreams will come true for us. And nothing but His ultimate glory and our ultimate good will be the standard for our future. Our fantasies. Our sleep.