Steve A. Stone
Dear Friends and Patriots,
I’ve been told almost everyone has dreams, and those who don’t dream will become psychotic. I’ve read that dreams are our way of working out problems that occupy our subconscious minds, problems we either don’t acknowledge or don’t quite understand. Not being an expert in the science regarding sleep and how the mind deals with it, I can’t say if any of that is true. What I do know is since I’ve been a little kid I have rarely remembered a dream for more than a few minutes. I might be aware that I dreamed, but once I start waking up the dream just evaporates and by the time my feet hit the floor I have no memory of it whatsoever. In my adult life, I think there are three or four exceptions – times when the dream stuck with me and became part of my conscious thought. I’ll only tell you of one. It was the one I had this week.
I had to go to Ohio. The trip itself isn’t material to the dream, so I find no reason to discuss it, other than to tell you it was a 1,700 mile round trip that I did over the span of three days. I drove for almost 12 hours that first day. Maybe I was over-tired. I checked into a motel about an hour south of Cincinnati, in the small town of Carrolton, Kentucky. I didn’t waste much time getting to bed. I was exhausted, but knew I only had about 6 hours to rest before I needed to be up and gone. I didn’t want to get caught in the morning rush hour traffic in Cincinnati. It probably took me all of ten minutes to go to sleep. Sometimes I don’t mind having narcolepsy. That night was definitely one of those times.
Somewhere in the wee hours of the morning I had my dream. This was it, to the best of my ability to remember.
I was in a forest of very tall, straight trees. The sunlight didn’t quite penetrate the forest canopy. The light wasn’t dim, but not bright, either. I walked just a short distance before I saw a man who seemed hard at work. He was walking through the woods in my general direction, carrying something. I looked at the object in his hands. It appeared to be a bench, maybe 4 feet long. It resembled a thick plank of wood with rocks or bricks somehow attached at either end. It looked heavy, but the man seemed to carry it with ease. He walked to the path I was on, just a bit ahead, and sat the object in his hands down. I could see he was joining it with another just like it. When I stopped and looked, I could see he was constructing some kind of boardwalk. He seemed to fix the section in his hands with a downward snap, then stood up and walked back into the woods to my left. I stood and watched. What was he doing? I thought if I waited, maybe I’d figure it out.
The man seemed to be searching. He was walking around under the trees for a bit, looking at the ground. He finally reached down into a pile of leaves and branches to pull out another section of the walkway. He brushed everything off it and carried it back toward where I was standing. I looked at him to see if I could tell who he was. He appeared average in height, had long, thick, reddish brown hair and a thick, bushy beard to match. He was dressed sort of like a lumberjack, with a heavy plaid shirt, jeans, and boots. He didn’t wear a hat or gloves. He seemed to be around 30 years of age. I watched as he walked to the end of the boardwalk and fixed the new section in. He seemed familiar, but I couldn’t say who he was.
I couldn’t figure out what was going on, so I spoke up. “Sir, may I ask you a question?” He stopped and looked at me. This was our conversation:
“What do you want to know?”
“What are you building here? Is it some kind of walkway?”
“No, not really. It’s a bridge.”
“A bridge? There’s no stream or gully here. Where does your bridge go?”
“It goes to the place I’m from.”
“Where is that?”
“The Perfect Place.”
“I don’t see anything ahead but more forest. How will you know when you get there?”
“I’ll know. So will you.”
“What do you mean by that? How will I know?”
“You’ll build your own bridge, and when you get done, you’ll know.”
“What will I do that for? What will I do with a bridge?”
“You can come back and forth over it, from The Perfect Place to here?”
“Why would I do that? “
“You’ll want to. And, you can come back and forth as many times as you want, for as long as you want. One day you’ll stop. One day you won’t have a reason. Then, you won’t need your bridge.”
“Why would I keep coming and going. I don’t understand.”
“Once you build your bridge you’ll have to teach others to build theirs. That’s what this is about.”
I nodded at the man and said, “I think I understand.” Almost instantly, I was transported to a different place. The man and his bridge were gone. I was still in the deep forest. No one was around. I stood at the end of a hard path. There seemed to be some kind of short, abrupt drop-off just ahead of my feet. I looked around and thought, “This must be where I’m supposed to build my bridge.” I looked off into the woods to my left and could see a break in the terrain. I went to it and felt around under the leaves until I could grasp the object. I pulled on it. It was almost like the ones I saw the man carrying; a plank-like object with some kind of rocks or bricks affixed on either end. I thought, “This must be how it’s done.” I took the object over to the end of the path and set it down. It seemed as if it was made just for that purpose. It seemed to somehow snap into place. I returned to the woods and began searching for the next section.
After a while, I had quite a length of my bridge completed. I had no idea how long it might end up being, but I had a sense that I needed to keep doing what I was until I reached the end. It didn’t strike me as hard work. The bridge sections looked heavy, but they seemed to have almost no weight at all. I kept at it for a long time before I noticed it was getting much harder to find new sections. Then, I held what turned out to be the last one. I snapped it in place and a “wall” instantly appeared at the end of the bridge. It wasn’t a solid wall. It seemed like it was a grey mist or fog, sort of swirling a bit. I didn’t touch it, but I looked at it closely to see if I could tell what exactly it was. It appeared to be perfectly flat, like a sheet of glass. It was as tall as I could see and extended to my right and left until it disappeared into the trees. After examining it for a bit, I thought I understood it was something of an entrance, a portal, and that The Perfect Place was just on the other side.
I didn’t go farther. I stood there for a bit, but decided I wasn’t ready. I thought, “Okay, I have my bridge, but it’s not time for me to use it yet. I think I need to go back to where I came from and learn how to teach others about the bridges they need to build. One day I’ll come back. Just not today.”
That’s when I came awake. I had the sense that I’d been at least half awake for a while, but I was definitely awake then. I looked at the clock on the night table. It read “4:50.” I thought about the time for a full minute before deciding it was the right time to get up and be on my way. The dream hadn’t left me, though. I thought that was unusual, but I had things to do, so I put it out of my mind.
I was on the road toward Cincinnati by 5:30. After I settled into the traffic pattern, my mind began to wander off on its own. There’s nothing unusual in that; my mind is always off on its own unless I’m purposefully concentrating on something. After a bit I realized I was reviewing “scenes” from my dream. “That’s odd,” I thought. “I remember that dream. That’s really strange.” Instead of leaving me, the dream kept replaying in my head. In a way, it seemed to be evolving. That didn’t worry me, though. Strange things happen, and I’ve learned to just let them be. If there’s something to be concerned about, it’ll be apparent soon enough.
Being a person who likes to ask questions, I came up with quite a few as I drove along. Who was the man I met? If he came from The Perfect Place, like he said, then his bridge must have already been built; he must have already gone through his “wall.” Why was he in the forest with me, building another? Was he there just to teach me? What was the significance of individual “planks” for the bridge? They seemed to be made of wood, but not really. What were they? What was attached to the ends? I never could decide. They seemed like rocks. They seemed like bricks. What were they? How were they attached to the planks? What determined the length of the bridge; how many “planks” had to be fitted before it was completed? Was it the length of a life, or was it certain life understandings or tasks that had to be acquired before the bridge could be completed? Were the “planks” representative of years, knowledge, experiences, wisdom, or something else entirely? What was that “wall” at the end? What would have happened if I’d decided to step into it and see what was on the other side? What was I expected to do now?
If you’ve been paying attention, you noticed I never questioned the importance or reality of the dream. The fact that I remembered it at all made it something highly unusual. Remembering it in great detail; that made it something I needed to consider very carefully.
I was on the north side of Cincinnati when my cell phone rang. I reached for it a bit late, but saw it was from my friend, Gloria Stewart. Gloria is a Holiness Church Bishop and someone I respect and admire. I thought it was a bit strange that she’d be calling me so early in the day. I rang her back immediately. She said something told her she needed to talk to me. We conversed about quite a few things before I told her of my dream. I recounted most of what I wrote above. When I got to the part where the man told me I could come and go as many times as I wanted once my bridge was built, I heard Gloria say, “Yeah, that’s just how those things work.” We discussed the “planks” of the bridge and their symbolic meaning. We didn’t go into any real details; it was obvious she understood my experience the same way I did. She made one other great comment. She said, “That’s how we find out what we’re supposed to be doing here. We’re supposed to be teaching everyone how to build those bridges. That’s exactly what I do.” And, it is.
Some people are carpenters. Some are ministers. I am neither. I don’t think I could construct a real bridge like I experienced in my dream. I don’t have the ability to sway people with powerful words that teach them what their bridge is and how to go about building it. I understood from the moment I heard the direction to teach others what it was I should do. Carpenters have their way, with saws and hammers. Ministers have their own way with words, Biblical citations, and spiritual inspiration. I have my way, too. This is it.
I hope this means something to each of you who take the time to read it. You better be building your bridges. If you don’t quite understand what that is, or any element of it, I’ll try to help. It’s what my real job is before I can cross my bridge and go through my “wall.”
Steve© Steve A. Stone
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