The Gift of Dreams

The late comedian Mitch Hedberg used to joke that he hates dreaming. “Dreaming is hard work,” he said, “One minute I’m in my comfortable bed, the next thing you know I have to build a go-kart with my ex-landlord.”

It’s a great line.

Why do we dream? Scientists disagree. Some say that dreams have no function, while others maintain we need dreams for our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although vivid dreams can make us feel real emotions, so often dreams seem pointless, and at times, even embarrassing.

Then there are dreams that change the world. Recording artists have told stories of dreaming the lyrics to future classic songs, writers have turned dreams into great stories, and dreams have inspired inventors to create products we buy every day.

I wonder…Are we sometimes given dreams as gifts?

My eyes opened just before six o’clock Sunday morning and I immediately smiled. I had a dream about my oldest friend’s mother who passed away many years ago. John and I met when we were six years old and my family moved in next door. His mother, Pat treated me like another one of her boys (she had four). The old neighborhood was a wonderful place to grow up. The small homes were built just a few feet apart. Everybody knew their neighbors. We played kickball in the street and yelled. “CAR!” before scattering to the curb like bugs. I swam in John’s pool, and we shared snacks our moms gave us during endless summer days.

Pat was my second mom. The wife of a cop, she had a quiet strength about her. She died young of a brain tumor.

In my dream, it was just Pat and me in the basement of their old house. It was empty and the walls and ceiling were freshly painted bright white. I was pointing out to her where the laundry shoot used to be, how clothes would endlessly fall from the ceiling onto the floor near the washer. She laughed when I told her the pile was probably taller than me. I showed her where she kept the laundry baskets and where she ironed. She never stopped smiling, astounded by my memory. She said John and I were funny boys and she can’t wait to see us both again.

My eyes opened, and I felt grateful. How good it was to see her healthy, happy and young.

Somehow, I know she’s okay.

I’m not sure why we dream, but sometimes it feels like a gift.

What dreams are you grateful for?