Thursday, November 17, 2011


Had an unusual dream last night. Actually, it was early this morning because i woke up from the middle of the dream and immediately wanted to go back to sleep to finish it. I can't remember the last time i had a dream that made me want to go back to sleep to reenter it.

I should have typed this up as soon as i got up instead of eating breakfast and reading the news because i've already started to forget large chunks of what happened, but what made it interesting is still there so i'll recount that.

My two sisters and I were apparently all applying for a job at an inner city school. I say 'apparently' because i don't ever remember talking or reading anything about the job itself, but everything about the experience speaks to this being about becoming teachers.

The three of us walked to the building (school?) where the interviews were going to be held, a typical old red-brick multi-story inner city building. When we went in, the elevators were small (and crowded with other candidates) with well worn wood paneling on all the walls.

We went up to the 57th floor and were greeted by two guys sitting behind a receptionist-like counter. It was a big open room, painted white and desperately in need of a repaint. The wood work was intricate and had probably been considered a marvel "back in the days." Just a few small windows let in enough sunlight that if felt warm and cozy. When we told the two guys what we were there for, one of them went into a side room to get the information we needed.

The next thing i remember is that the three of us were seated in large over-sized chairs in the open area in front of the reception counter and the guy who had gone to get us our information was with us and explaining the procedure to us.

As he explained it, the written test we had to take was long and would take a substantial amount of time. Therefore, they gave it out to candidates before hand so that they could study it and get prepared. As he said this, he pointed to an adjacent room, empty except for rows and rows of long wooden desks spanning the width of the room. That room had windows the entire length of the two outside walls so was flooded in sunlight.

After explaining the test (which took awhile, but i don't remember it), he pulled out a small video camera and told us that he was loaning it to us because we would each be required to make a short video of "something," i don't remember what anymore. It seemed odd, but even though i don't remember the specifics, i remember wondering what the purpose of it was as it seemed to be making a video of something very mundane, very ordinary. Something about people.

A lot more is gone, but the next thing i remember is walking down a hallway (on our way out?) when someone asked me to tell a story to the students. The students had been gathered in the auditorium and they wanted me to go up on stage and "make something up, tell them a story of make believe," or something like that.

I would love to see that actual auditorium because it was an amazing place. Like the rest of the building it was old, but not worn out. Well, and lovingly, used might be the best description. Everything was wood, well worn wood, polished to a deep brown color by the sweat and oily hands and elbows of the hundreds of thousands of kids that had passed through it over the many years.

The room was narrow, maybe 20-30 seats wide, but deep enough to hold all the students, the furthest back of which faded into shadows. The lighting wasn't dark, but it was old incandescent lights which left the room a warm golden color, mainly up near the stage. The small stage was just as old and had a hollow sound to it as i walked across it to the sole chair in the middle.

I only remember fragments of what i said, but it went along these lines:


I'm supposed to tell you a story of make believe, but that's not my forte, so instead, let me tell you about a friend of mine who's whole life revolved around made up stories.

Richard looked like an average guy, seemingly no different from any one of you. He dressed just like everyone else, acted just like everyone else, and in no way stood out in a crowd.

Over the years, Richard had convinced himself that he was nothing special. He walked to the same job, in the same office, at the same desk, day after day and year after year. He always wore the same style suit, never changing even the colors or the button patterns. Same hobbies, same interests. Year after year. Nothing in his life varied except the date on the calender.

He walked to the same deli every afternoon for lunch and talked to the same people. Told the same jokes and laughed at the same stories.

Richard had convinced himself that this was all he was; an average guy, lucky to have a respectable job, content to be alive. It didn't even occur to him that all of this was make believe, that he had invented all of it and that he was actually more.

I remember painting a picture of his life, but all of that is gone now.

Until one bright sunny day at the park. Why he went to the park would always be a mystery to him but one clear, bright day, he went, and as he walked up the small incline leading into the park, he.....

Man!, why didn't i write this when i woke up... that's were the memories stop. I remember talking more, but now can't remember what i said. While it doesn't seem all that great of a story in memory, in the dream i remember the hall being completely silent with the kids leaning forward to catch every word of the story. Now i wonder what was said, but the next memory jumps to this short piece of the ending...

Now let me be clear, Richard isn't any different than any of you here in this room. None of you are ordinary. None of you are limited. None of you should be "content" to be alive.

Like Richard, you all, no, we all, myself included, live in a make believe world. A world limited by our own thoughts. A small world, walled in by our own misbeliefs, our own unwillingness to question what we have been told about who we are.

Like Richard before going to the park, we are locked into these small lives only by our unwillingness to test the door, our blind belief that this is all there is.

It's not. You don't need a key to open the door and escape — all you need to do is walk over and push it open; it's not even locked. You can walk out to freedom anytime you work up the courage to be more than you can imagine.

You're students, that's your job at this stage of your life. You have a lot to learn. Do it, and do it well. But don't let yourself live in Richard's make believe world of mediocrity.

There will be a day in the near future when you leave this place. When you do, don't settle for just good enough. Do settle for what everybody else is, has, does, thinks, believes. Don't settle for make believe. Demand reality. Find someone who can point you towards that door and dare to open it. Dare to walk out free. Dare to be more than anyone can ever believe you can be.

Be brave. Have the courage to Live!

While i don't remember more, i do know that this wasn't a story of Richard waking up to miraculous powers, becoming a super hero, or anything like that. It was a story of a person's spiritual awakening. I'd love to go back and hear the whole talk. Did the students yawn and complain after the talk? Did they buy into it? I don't remember. I'd also love to see the school again. It was so incredibly vivid, so comfortable, almost like i had been there before.

Wish i could go back to sleep and relive it.

No comments: