I always read Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant to my fourth graders every year. It is a fun, complicated and terribly disgusting book. Kids love it.
One fun part of the book has to do with the giant who “catches” dreams. He runs off to a far away place, catches dreams with a net, puts them in jars, and labels the dreams. Later, he gallops off to London or other parts of the world in the middle of the night and blows the dreams through the bedroom windows of children so that they can have great dreams. This is in contrast to the other giants in the books. I won’t tell you what they do. It isn’t pleasant.
This always begins a good discussion about dreams themselves. We talk about how weird our dreams are. We talk about how nice dreams can be and how horrible they can be. We talk about how real they seem.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to have the same dreams from time to time. I dream that I am going back to college, moving back into my tiny college apartment and resuming my life as an undergrad. In the dream, I’m dealing with the is- sue of being away from my family for the week; it seems I am still in the present with wife and kids yet going back in time all the same. I think about going back to work, visiting the financial aid office, going to see my advisor, etc. It all seems very real.
I also have a dream that many of us in theater have. I dream that a show is opening and I have not studied my lines. I have no idea what I am going to do on stage and end up “winging it.” Many actors will say they regularly wing it, but none will tell you they have not studied their lines at all. It’s a stressful dream.
I’ve had plenty of dreams where I am flying. I’ve also had a dream where I am in the gym at my old junior high building. I am running effortlessly up and down the basketball court, making shot after shot. Swish. Everyone on the bleachers is either watching me and approving of my athletic prowess or completely ignoring me. I suppose it depends on what is going on in my life or what I ate for supper.
One of my favorite dreams is when I am alone in this big house. I walk around admiring the large place. Sometimes I think it’s my own home. Sometimes, I know it is someone else’s home.
In one of the rooms is a large piano. I sit down at the piano and begin to play. Much like the basketball dream, I effortlessly begin to play song after song. I have no idea how to play much of anything on the piano in real life. Yet in this dream, I seem to play by ear and play anything. It’s awesome.
I like to think the piano dream is a little glimpse of heaven. I have always wished I could play the piano, as I’m sure other folks have. I know the Bible talks about heaven and the rooms Jesus has prepared there for us. Perhaps there’s a piano in one of the rooms, and perhaps I will have the ability to play in heaven. Who knows? It’s fun to think about.
One of my former teachers, Mrs. Bishop, was a sweet lady. I remember sitting in my desk listening to all kinds of normal, everyday stories she told.
She often spoke of dreams and how she looked forward to dreaming at night. She’d tell us about the reoccurring dream she often had.
In the dream, she would be in this big shiny car, driving around the streets of our hometown. She said that’s all there was to the dream. Her, in this pretty car, enjoying the drive around town.
I used to think “Wow, how boring is that?” when she’d tell us about that particular dream.
But as I have grown older and realized that driving around my hometown streets is something I enjoy doing (I have to do it every time I go home), I think that Mrs. Bishop’s dream was a good one. Not boring at all. No stress. No problems to solve. Just taking a joy ride.
And heck, I don’t even need the shiny car.