Have you ever had a dream which seemed so genuine that as you woke you didn’t know if it was real or not? Something deep within your sub-conscious came alive and while the dream only lasted moments you woke feeling a lifetime had passed.
Years ago, during an unpleasant time in my life, I experienced a recurring dream. As a young man I made some poor life choices, developed an addiction and crashed my life as hard as one might think they could and still walk away. As a result, I was sent away to the place they send young adult men who need a timeout, prison.
There is a premise that after so long inside the prison walls people stop dreaming about the outside. Only the world which you live in dares to share your time, even your dream time. At large that theory holds true most of the time. However, loneliness is a powerful emotion that can forge an irrational pattern of behavior both while awake and asleep. It is at our very core that we crave human interaction, to feel and be felt, to love and be loved, for someone to care that we exist. Maybe that’s what evoked my recurring dreams so many years ago. Or maybe it was something else, something stronger. I like to believe it was something more along the lines of a divine nature. Call it a prophecy or a vision if you will.
My vision, my prophecy, my dream, was about a woman. I didn’t know her name, although I often speculated it was something beautiful. I never met this woman before, yet I knew her well. I can’t tell you what she looked like, but I could feel her deep within my soul. She was warm and gentle, love and kindness radiate from her being. She made me feel safe, she made me feel loved. Her soft presence would light up a room. This woman took away my loneliness and restored my broken heart. As long as we were together I felt at peace. She made me feel better about myself and made me want to be a better person. In my dreams it felt like I was smiling bigger than ever before and I didn’t want to miss a moment of her visit.
Each time as I began to wake I would realize she was leaving me and I would try desperately to stay with her. As consciousness returned, my heart beat faster as did my breathing and sadness overtook me. I longed for this woman who I felt so deeply. I knew it was only a dream but my connection to her felt real, as if she was part of me.
Many years have passed since I desperately clung to that woman’s image. Those dreams took place while I was at a correctional center in the mountain region of Virginia. After each visit I would go out to the exercise yard where I would sit and try and remember every detail of the dream. As I did, I would stare off into the mountain and wonder if she was real and if so, where was she?
Over the last 25 years as a free man I have traveled and lived all over the United States with my wife Barbara. We have settled down and own a home in the beautiful mountains of Virginia. In fact, that same mountain I use to stare off to after one of my dreams is within sight of my front porch.
Like many people who experience a rocky start in life, I have dedicated my life to helping others. My faith in God has developed into a solid foundation of who I have become and the reason thereof. So whether I’m spending one on one time with a person, working on a new program to help people overcome life’s challenges or speaking to a group of people, I always draw from my past, my faith and the journey I took to get here.
One evening I was a guest speaker for a group of men struggling to overcome addictions. I was sharing some insight into intimate relationships and the path we take to find that special person to share our life. In the middle of a sentence, like a rush of flooding water it hit me, I know her name! I know the woman who visited me in my dreams! I can’t imagine what I must have looked like or what the men sitting before me thought when I stopped speaking in mid sentence. A look of shock certainly must have covered my face. However, it didn’t take me long to recover and forge a new path of truth to share with these men, truth that I myself had just learned too. God didn’t just give me Barbara to share my life with; in her He gave me the desire of my heart. The woman I share my life with today is the women of my dreams.
I spent some time being the philosopher thinking about the double entendre of that last sentence. Is she the same women who visited me in my dreams or is she the personification of what that woman represents to me? As a man of faith I truly believe God gave me a vision of my future. In a time when I needed hope, peace and purpose, God provided through a visitor who I would one day share my life. For those who might see that as a hard pill to swallow there is always this undeniable simple truth, I have been blessed with the woman of my dreams and her name is Barbara.