A Word to the Wise: We're still dreaming after all these years

By: Tom Rupp
-A +A
Last week my mind was on daydreams — the flights of fancy our mind takes while we are awake. These flights take us into the recalled past or into an imagined future. This week I would like to consider the other type of dreams — the involuntary ones we experience while we are asleep. As a child we learned to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” ending with the assertion that “Life is but a dream.” I am not a huge “Star Trek” fan, but I did see “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.” In one scene the actors are singing this song around a campfire and Spock does not join in. When asked why he is silent, he replies, “Life … is not a dream.” The Harptones from the ‘50s would disagree with their doo-wop tune, “Life is But a Dream.” Speaking of doo-wop, the Crew Cuts also sang that “life could be a dream.” These songs were before my time but enjoyable just the same. Freud posited that our dreams were a “disguised fulfillment of a repressed wish.” This may especially be true with our recurring dreams. In one of my recurring dreams I am flying like a bird. What does it mean? Does it mean anything? I also find all sorts of money in my dreams. Dreams figure in several Bible stories — in the lives of Joseph and Daniel in the first testament and during the birth of Jesus in the second. These dreams had meaning. Many of our dreams could be the product of spicy food or any other myriad list of random causes. However, they could have more viable sources and purposes. One of my favorite poems by Edgar Allen Poe ends with the haunting question, “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?” Maybe this quote is on my mind because I just read “Sophie’s World,” a brief philosophy-type overview about just such a dream within a dream. In “The Tempest,” Shakespeare writes, “We are such stuff as dreams are made of.” Am I, are we, just a part of God’s dream? It might be an interesting exercise to keep a dream journal. At the least it would show where we are in life at various stages. At the most, it might offer us deeper insights. Either way, let’s be alert and awake to all that is around us, even when we are asleep. Tom Rupp is a Bible teacher at Capital Bible College. He can be reached at