Dear friend, I know you may question why I would want to make so much of a dream. But may I put a balance to this. I do make so much out of dreams and at the same time, I don’t. There are some dreams that I disqualify as soon as I wake up. There are some that I neither believe nor disbelieve and lastly, there are those that I do believe.
For the 50 plus one years that I have lived on this planet, I have come to experience that sometimes reality is crueler than a nightmare. You live with reality—there is no escapism to life. As long as you live, you can’t escape from living. If you try escapism—like through drug addiction, alcoholism, etc—life only piles more baggage of cruelty on your back; you consequently lose hope and orientation.
A nightmare on the other hand is as temporary as it is extraordinary. It is temporary because it only lasts as long as you are asleep. The moment you wake up, it is over. Nightmare is extraordinary because it is a ‘reality’ outside the reality. In your dream, things look so real, when you wake up, you wonder why you didn’t realize in your dream that you were just dreaming. How many times have I flown (without a flying vessel) in a dream? When Christ finally comes and as the Bible says: “We .... shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thes. 4:17), I guess it will not be strange for me because I have had an ‘experience’ through the many dreams that I have had to that effect.
How many times have I come to a completely new environment only to realize that it looks so familiar? There are occasions where I can tell what is going to happen next. I have never been to Gambia, Zimbabwe and Germany but these are three places that I have a strange connection to. I feel like I have been in those places. If I wasn’t a believer, I would have been tempted to theorize that there could have been a ‘former life’ and I must have lived in those places.
I grew up in poverty—I came to realize this in retrospect. When I was growing up, I, like everybody else, never perceived that we were poor. It was normal not to have money to buy a pen, leave alone luxuries like shoes, etc. Except for a brief period in 1980, we always had enough food. Lake Victoria (Kenya) was there to get fish from, the soil was fertile enough and as long as there were rains, there was always food.
So, one day I lost a pen—this was in early primary. This was serious! One could be caned both at school and at home for losing a pen. Why? Any loss of a pen, or anything else for that matter, was perceived as an act of carelessness. At home, the parents would be frustrated because more often, they wouldn’t have money to buy a new pen—actually, from age 6, I used to buy my own things; if I couldn’t afford it, too bad (that is a story told elsewhere). At school, it was unthinkable, almost criminal that one could sit there not writing when the teacher gave notes or an assignment.
I had lost that pen after we were done for the school day. At home, I didn’t say I had lost a pen—I would risk some strokes of the cane. At bedtime (bed? No! No bed, we used to sleep on par, a mat), I agonized. I feared what was going to happen the following day in school. That is when I turned to God and prayed, asking Him to let me have my pen back. In a child’s faith—yes, you can as well call it “childish faith”, I made that prayer and slept off. Did I even believe in my prayer? I don’t know. I was desperate. But I knew God was there and He knew who had my pen.
That night I dreamt. I saw the boy who had my pen. When we went to school that morning, before entering classes, I went straight to Ogony, the boy I saw in the dream. I asked him to let me have my pen back. He started being jittery. I had not even seen the pen he was having yet, but he started protesting: “the pen is not yours!” I asked him to let me have a look at it because if it wasn’t mine, I wouldn’t seize it—at least I wasn’t a robber. He refused to even show me the pen.
It was forbidden to fight, but occasionally we used to break this rule. And I was the fighting type. I was just about to start a fight with Ogony when somebody must have informed the teacher that Owino and Ogony are about to fight.
The teacher intervened just in time. He asked Ogony to let him have the pen. He obliged!
Now came the test! The moment of truth.
The teacher turned to me and asked, “Why do you say the pen is yours?”
You see, I did have a dream but it could have been “just a dream”. Was I going to tell the teacher that I lost my pen; I prayed to God to help me get it back; God sent a dream and showed me that Ogony has my pen and now I am here, about to fight because I know he has my pen? I was a young lad but I knew that I couldn’t go that way—I wish I did.
Scared that the pen could as well not be mine, I told the teacher that I know my pen. All I was asking was for Ogony to let me inspect the pen if it had my mark.
Using a needle, I used to inscribe my initials plus a unique ‘logo’ near the nib of our then famous and favourite fountain pen: Youth 208. The mark was a bit hidden and even Ogony hadn’t realized that there was a mark on the pen.
I told the teacher what to check and where to check it. He checked, and lo and behold, both the initials and the mark were there. I had many friends who knew my ‘trademark’. The teacher would call them for a witness. The pen was mine.
I will spare the reader about the dreams I have had about exams; about dangers; about turbulent marriages, etc.
I have had dreams touching on the spiritual side of things. Sometimes, I just know when I dream right and when I dream wrong. And sometimes I don’t know what to make of a dream.
I have dreamt some things about my unsaved friends. I have managed to tell some of them the dreams. They would disqualify them as just dreams. I have also dreamt about some terrible things happening to some friends. They are the kinds of things that if I were to tell them, they would probably accuse me of attempting to scare them so that they may believe and be saved.
Recently, I dreamt about a Facebook friend who was imprisoned in a ball of fire. The ball looked like the soap bubble. As it flew past me, the only thing the friend was able to get out of the bubble was the hand. She was sticking it out for me to grab and pull her out of the fire. She was in great agony shouting and screaming asking me to help her. Was that just a dream?
One of the most devastating things on this side of life is to be destined for heaven while you know some of your loved ones and friends would not be there. After having been shown hell in a dream three times, (yes, in a dream. Just a dream!), I would do what I can do to help my sworn enemy avoid that place. That tells you how much I agonize for my friends and people around me.