Monday, August 03, 2009

The Dreamer

by Andy Hanson

I dreamed that I was marching with a group of travelers under a leaden sky, through a desolate land full of mountains and hard places. We were on a narrow difficult trail leading toward the Promised Land. I didn't know where it was or how to get there, and neither did anyone else in our group except perhaps our leader. He told us that we could find the roadmap in our books, and he tried to tell us that our books were no different from his, and that he could use any of our books to find the way to the Promised Land. Again and again, he offered to teach us how to use our books to keep going in the right direction. He worried that we might get separated during bad weather, and we wouldn’t know where we were. He kept asking us, “What would you do if we got separated?” He was distressed that we weren’t interested in putting in the effort to make sure we wouldn’t get lost.

Although our leader sometimes made mistakes, he never led us very far off the right path, and he always claimed that the fault was his, not the book’s.

Our leader didn’t take very good care of his book. Because he almost always had it in his hand, rain or shine, and because he opened it every time we stopped for a rest period, the pages were curled and the book’s beautiful leather cover was ruined. Because it was rumored that our books were passports, we were doubly anxious to keep them in good condition. So we kept our books in plastic bags under our coats, and we didn't take them out for fear of damaging them.

After many trials by the elements and narrow escapes from wild animals, we arrived at the Promised Land. As we lined up to present our passports to the customs official at the gate, we rejoiced that our trip was almost over. We took our books from under our coats and removed them from their plastic bags. (I looked at my companions' books out of the corner of my eye and took a secret pride in that my cover seem to be the best preserved of a lot.) Our leader was the first to approach the customs official, and frankly, I was a little worried about him. His passport was so battered and torn that I wondered whether the official would let him through. I was happy to note that he had no trouble.

And then there was panic at the gate. I couldn't believe my eyes. The customs official was refusing the rest of us one by one. When it was my turn, I pushed my passport under the official’s nose. But he didn't even look at it. He just asked me if I got there on my own. Remembering the many crossroads and unmarked trails, I told him that I hadn’t, but I could do it if I had our leader’s guidebook. He looked through my book and told me there was no difference. When I insisted there was, he didn’t argue. He just said he couldn't admit me until I could use the book to find my way in any weather, and I had to be prepared to “go it alone” if that was required.

And one by one the rest of us were refused entry; and when the last of us was turned away, the gate and the gatekeeper vanished, and the Promised Land was only a memory.

As evening came on and the cold ate through our clothing, most of us tore the pages out of our books to start a fire while we cursed the gatekeeper. But a small group began trying to understand what our leader had discovered in the book. And in the morning, they set out, books in hand, along a trail through a swamp! We, on the other hand, took a much better road and began our search for a more qualified leader and a happier destination.

1 comment:

  1. One group saw me flounder and called me to study the book more closely and as we studied and discussed we discovered the secret. That the true leader to follow was not in human form and we could only contact Him by keeping the Word of the book in our minds and hearts. The more Words we kept the brighter the path became and we no longer stumbled along but walked with ease. The path became so bright others started to see and followed. Occasionally we had to slow down and fill the newcomers with The Word to keep the path bright but we soon came to a point where we could see the gate and it was obvious that the welcome was filled with Love for our whole group.
    (I like happy endings)