The Dream


The man woke up… sat on the edge of his bed… and scratched his head.

“Wow!” he said, to no one in particular. “That was a strange dream. Wonder what it means?”

The man then went through the motions of his morning preparations – shower, shave, clothes, and breakfast – but could not shake the images that visited him during his waking dream.

“Better go ask the wise man about this,” he thought. “He’ll know what it means. He always knows. Guess that’s why we call him ‘the wise man.’”

The Wise Man – known to most of his friends as Fred – could almost always be found at his corner table at the Starbucks down the street. As the man walked in, he saw that sure enough, there was Fred. Sitting in his usual spot, sipping a Café Americano and doing the New York Times crossword puzzle. Because that is what wise people do…

The man sat down. Fred the Wise Man looked up from the paper and smiled. “Good morning, my friend.” He then asked, “What brings you here today?”

“Fred, I had a dream just before I woke up that is really bugging me. I wonder if you can help me understand it.”

“Let’s give it a try,” the wise man said. Of course one of the things that makes wise men wise – and wise women, too – is their ability to recognize that their wisdom has limits.

“In my dream I was just standing there, minding my own business, observing the scene before me. God was there too, a little bit off to the right. Then, a little off to the left a field mouse scampered across the grass. Suddenly a red-tailed hawk swooped down from the sky, talons flashing, ready to grab the mouse and devour it.”

“With you so far,” Fred said, taking another sip from his cup and smiling.

“That’s not the weird part,” said the man. “The weird part is what happened next. They each said something… they each said just one word. I am still trying to figure out what they each meant. That’s what I need your help with. That’s why I’m here.”

“So what did they say?” Fred asked.

“Well, just before it grabbed the mouse, the hawk said, ‘Dinner!’ The mouse looked up with a terrified look on its face and said, ‘DEATH!’ But God just looked on serenely at the whole thing and said, ‘Design.’ And then I woke up!”

“What does it all mean, Fred? And more importantly, does this dream mean I’m crazy?”

The Wise Man took another sip of coffee and chuckled. “No… it doesn’t mean you’re crazy. But your dream is a message to you from deep inside you. And as I read it, it is very important message.”

He continued, “This very intriguing dream you have just described to me is actually an invitation to you from your soul. It is an invitation to stand in a new and different place and to see the world with new and different eyes.”

“Hmmmm,” the man said, thoughtfully. Then after a long pause he shook his head and said, “Sorry, Fred. I’m not tracking with you. Can you say a little more? I mean, I’m sure you are right, but I guess I’m just not smart enough to know what you mean.”

The wise man smiled again and said, “OK. Here’s what I mean; when events take place in our lives, we all rush to label those events as quickly as we can. We have a deep-seated need to call the event “Good” or “Bad”… “Lucky” or “Unlucky” or some variation of words like that.”

“In your dream, the event you witnessed was very good for the hawk. He was about to enjoy a tasty morsel of field mouse. And yet, the exact same event was a total disaster for the mouse. Nothing could possibly have been worse.”

“But you had a third point of view in there, didn’t you? You also had God’s point of view. And from God’s perspective, this scene was neither good nor bad… neither delight nor doom. It was simply God’s script for the world – or God’s design, to use your word – playing itself out exactly as God intended.”

Wise Man Fred continued, “And when I said that your dream was an invitation, what I meant by that was that through your dream, your soul was inviting you to stand in a similar place when it comes to the events of your life.”

The man had been nodding knowingly as Fred spoke… right up until that last sentence. Then his eyebrows knitted together and his head cocked slightly to the side. Again he said, “OK, Fred… you lost me there. What do you mean, ‘stand in a similar place.’ What do you mean? How do I do that?”

Fred said, “Remember Proverbs 3:5-6? If I recall correctly it was always one of your favorite scripture passages, isn’t it? What does it say?”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths,” the man replied quickly. He knew the passage by heart.

“Exactly!” Fred exclaimed. “Bull’s-eye! Give that man a kewpie doll!”


And at that moment, the light bulb clicked on in the man’s head. In that moment he saw that in his haste to put a label on the events of his life and instantly judge them as Good or Bad, he was – in fact – elevating himself to the place of God. He was making judgments about the events he was not equipped to make… judgments even God himself did not make. And then, as a natural consequence of those judgments, he went on to live with anger, resentment, or pride.

And then he thought back on some of the events of his own life he had called BAD when they happened… that job he lost… the cancer diagnosis from five years ago… the run-in with his next-door neighbor over something silly. Hadn’t each of those actually turned out to be something much less than the utter disaster he anticipated? In fact, hadn’t each of those events actually opened new doors that might not have been opened otherwise?

Hmmmm. Something to ponder, for sure, the man thought.

“Thanks, Fred,” he said. “That helps. I’ll have to go chew on that a bit.” And then he got up, turned, and headed out the door.


When Jesus addressed the topic of judgment in Luke 6:37-38, he was talking about the practice of one person judging another. (“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.”) Luke 6:37-38, NRSV).

Is it possible, do you think, that he could just as easily have also been talking to us about making hasty judgments about the nature of the events of our lives?

Blessings to you today. Just for fun, let’s see what happens if each of us tries to make this day as much of a “judgment free zone” as we can… toward all of the people and all of the events we might encounter.


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