Monday, October 6, 2014
Depending on your beliefs, dreams can be interpreted in many different ways. Some claim that dreams can predict the future or depict a warning of some sort. Others claim that dreams are merely random electrical discharges in your brain while you rest.
In reality, I don’t know what they really are. But I do know that I have them and some dreams tend to echo on into my life when I least expect it. Often times, these dreams provided me with some sort of inner-awareness that I didn't possess before, helping me…and yes, possibly warning me, of things to come.
Once such dream still haunts me to this day and seeing that it’s nearly Halloween, I find it fitting to share it with everyone today.
As most know, all my disability challenges began with my accident in November of 2008. I was hardly a child, but yet a childhood dream played a major role into what unfolded that day.
In 1988, 20 years before my accident, I woke up suddenly from a horrible nightmare. I remember it well as I was startled awake, trying to figure out what just happened and if, in fact, I was finally awake. Even while I made my rounds on my paper route, I questioned whether or not I was still lying in bed, sound asleep.
Even after breakfast and walking to school on that cold winter morning, I could shake what happened in my dream. I even tried to blame the stale candy bar I ate the night before and playing video games too long. (Yes, we DID have video games back in 1988. You just know it as “retro-gaming” now.)
Rationalizing did not help as I ended up having the same dream the next night, despite a whole new nightly routine.
Just like the night before, I found myself standing in darkness, searching for a path to take. In one direction, I saw the faint view of figures, all walking toward something unseen. Yet, in another direction, I heard the distinct sound of music being played, but no one traveling down that path. The music sounded comforting, almost inspiring. I just stood there in confusion, wondering why nobody was traveling toward the sound, yet they followed everyone else into further darkness.
As I began to step toward the music, I felt lighter, almost like floating. It was more like a worry-free weightlessness, not like falling uncontrollably. I began to look around to see if anybody else would follow me, but others appeared out of the darkness and took the same course as everybody else. At that moment, I became insecure about heading toward the music. I began to think that everyone else must be traveling down that path for a good reason.
So, stepped away from the music and instantly felt grounded with my feet firmly on the floor. I could still hear the music, however it grew fainter as I continued to follow the other path. After a few slow steps, more figures appeared behind me and seemed to push me forward as if I was not traveling fast enough, yet they did not pass me. Feeling that something bigger was in the works, I increased my pace as if I was late to something. Suddenly, with every new step taken, I felt weighed down. Every step seemed to be a struggle as it became difficult to move, all while the unknown figures behind me kept pushing me forward.
Still, I could hear the faint music dwindling in the distance. At that point, I tried to adjust my direction so that I could still walk in the direction of everyone else, yet travel toward the music as well.
As I did that, I began to feel overwhelming pain from those figures that were behind me as they tried to pull me back on the path. They would pull at my arms, with nails like razors, often yanking, causing me to stumble.
I knew immediately that I did not want to be on this path anymore and feared that I may be too late. I pushed the others away and as I did, I realized that they were faceless, yet wore all sorts of uniforms and suits. Faceless businessmen, construction workers, waitresses, all staring back at me without faces. Panicking, I had to get away.
When I turned to run back toward the music, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in the middle of my back, as if someone had stabbed me. It was the type of pain I would not experience again until my accident in 2008.
I turned to see what happened and realized that in fact, I had been stabbed with a spike, padlocked to a long chain that was connected to something in the darkness, leading back to the path. I could not pull it out and the pain was unbearable. I needed to get away, yet every time I would travel toward the music, I would be yanked back in the other direction.
I would desperately run away with the same result every time. During the last attempt to run, I suddenly stopped, having realized that I had the key to the lock tied to my wrist the entire time. As I stood there, staring at the key, I was suddenly yanked back again, but this time it was with more force than I’ve ever felt before. The pain was unbearable and before I could land, I woke up, nearly jumping out of my bed and still feeling the residual pain.
It was 5 minutes before my alarm clock was due to go off, meaning, I wasn't started awake. There were no other factors that could have startled me awake other than the dream.
The pain quickly vanished, but the memory of the dream stayed etched into some dark corner of my memory until 2008.
I woke up the morning of the accident with a really bad feeling about going into work. It wasn't a great job to go to, but it paid the bills. It definitely wasn't the career path I had intended and I had planned on leaving as soon as I had enough money and find further education in something better. In fact, I was involved in a lengthy hiring process for another job and was looking forward to giving my 2 week notice.
On the way into work, that same dream popped into my head. I began to wonder what would happened if I used that key or even if I could use it after that last effort to pull back onto that path. I wondered what was in the direction of the music and why no one else traveled that way. I also wondered why the other figures had no faces…no personalities. Despite the different uniforms, they all were the same.
I finally arrived to work and clocked in all the while that bad feeling kept growing in me. I even considered telling my boss that I was sick and needed to go home. But seeing everyone else getting ready for work, I felt like I didn’t want to let them down. It was winter and everyone else had some sort of ailment, yet they were still there, making me feel like I needed to be there. …..walking that same path as everyone else.
4 hours later, I was in the hospital with a spinal cord injury and dislocated shoulder from a serious fall. It felt like someone had yanked my arm out of place and stabbed me in the back, the type of pain I could only relate to in a dream.
Yet, this story isn’t finished and won’t be for a very long time. In my recovery, I rediscovered my musical ability and passion in which I learned how to play violin as part of my physical therapy. My music provides me with a means of recovery and even a new direction in life. I still have the damage to my back, that’s never going away. But maybe…just maybe, I finally used that key. But that, my friends, is another blog.
On my playlist: “Heart of Courage” by 2 Steps from Hell