Friday, April 18, 2014

Any dream will do

I have been reading Brueggemann's commentary on Genesis (nearly finished - I promise!!) and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.


The story of Joseph (the chappy with the coat) and that of Harold's journey invite us to believe in the dream we are given. They are about people who walk in the way of the dream, however unlikely its 'truth' may seem and whatever contrary evidence the world throws at them. They are both well-crafted tales of courage, suffering and unexpected beauty.

Harold decides to walk from one end of the country to the other to keep from dying an old friend stricken with cancer. Joseph (or should I say, those listening to the story about Joseph) is asked to hold onto a dream about a God-given future against all the odds and in the face of hatred, enslavement, false witness etc etc.

I am no advocate for 'blind faith' in things contrary to empirical evidence. But I think most of us, if we're honest, make decisions about our lives based on some kind of dream and after the fact look for the evidence to justify those decisions. It is embarrassing to admit that we act because we have dreamt: it invites mockery and misunderstanding. A dream is experienced by one mind and any power it holds will translate into silliness once it enters conversation.

I also think that it's impossible to know for sure why we end up in the places we do. Have I arrived here at this time of my life because I took that fork in the road? Ignored that route? Walked with that companion? Was hit by that storm? Rested a while there? Whether you follow a dream or follow more prosaic methods, the future will not be mapped.

A dream can never be justified, explained or proven to hold any power. But these compelling stories suggest that following one is better than choosing the route that worldly wisdom or propriety suggest will work out well. That is, better than the path that makes for an easy conversation with our friends and neighbours.

I think I probably spend more time making sure my behaviour makes sense to those around me than I do listening to my dreams.

So from now on I intend to be more of a fruit loop.