underneath the dreams

what is it that makes us dream what we dream? why do we remember some dreams and not others? why do certain themes run through dreams chronologically and situationally far apart? why do some dreams wake us up in terror, while we wish we could go on dreaming others forever?

where is the line in dreamland between truth and falsehood? what effect do the dreams of night have on waking reality?

my mom says that dreaming is the way our subconscious mind sorts through and processes everything that happened during the day, whether actual events or just the conscious stream of our thoughts and emotions.

this realization often helps me to make sense of wacky dreams — “oh, i saw that person today; someone mentioned that topic in conversation; i ate a 12-ounce steak right before bed and the meat is speaking to me” (okay, that one is facetious).

but how do you explain reoccurring dreams?

some people have reoccurring dreams that they’re flying. or falling, maybe — my dad has those. i have two basic types of reoccurring dreams:

  • i’m late for class and have no idea where any of my classrooms are/i’ve skipped class the entire semester, am going to fail, am late to class and have forgotten where my classrooms are; and
  • my teeth are falling out.

pretty exciting, huh?

i’ve been out of college for three years now. why do i dream about being late to class or failing all my classes because i skipped? i was almost never late to class, and, even though i did occasionally skip, here and there, i attended all my classes regularly and never came anywhere near failing (i got two c’s, though, just for the record).

and then my teeth. yes, i’ve had braces. yes, i’ve had some interesting oral surgery. but i’ve never actually had a cavity. i’ve never had any teeth knocked out. where’s the logic there? i don’t see it.

we used to watch touched by an angel sometimes, back in the day, and i remember the man angel saying in one episode, “they say dreams are the only time humans are really honest with themselves.”


but it’s true, in a way. all the creepy crawlies in our minds that we hide away during the day come out at night once our consciousness goes to sleep. and they play. sometimes they create beautiful dreams, and sometimes they create nightmares.

other times they just make you restless and uneasy — nothing’s scary or wrong enough to wake you up, but you don’t enjoy what’s happening, either. everything’s all wrong, for some reason. maybe you don’t want to admit that what happened in your dream could happen in reality and you don’t want it to. maybe in dreams you have to face thoughts and hopes and fears and anger you wouldn’t tell God about because they’re silly and embarrassing … even though He knows all about them anyway.

that makes me wonder what role, if any, satan plays in the content of our dreams. is he there in the fog of dream cobwebs, twisting and turning half-truths into whole lies? some dreams are so vivid they influence our behavior or relation to people after we wake up. that’s happened to me far more often than i can remember. does he have a hand in that with evil in mind?

there are situations in which “to sleep, perchance to dream” is not a comforting thought at all.