I have this strange recurring dream. It was a dream about how I tried to befriend life. I dreamt that life was a person, a childhood friend. I dreamt that life was real and tangible, he was not beyond comprehension. I could see life as he stood before me. His features were blurry but not imaginary.
Life was friendly at first. There were no surprises. He was an open book. You could read him from cover to cover. There was no hidden agenda. Life was not indecipherable. Those days together were filled with joy. We had lots of fun. We ran with time. We were free and easy. We enjoyed each other’s company. Life was a great friend. He was a great friend to play with.
It remained that way until we grew older, life and I that is. That was when life became a little less predictable. He became a little more self-conscious and self-minded. Somehow, things started to change. I grow up. I mature. I have ideals. I change. I can accept all that. But I always thought that life would be different. I always thought that life would be consistent, that is, dependable and reliable.
I needed life to be unchanging as I changed. I needed life to stay as he was so that I could always return to a refuge-like tree house when things got bad outside. But I guess that was the part of my dream that turned a little darker than I’d like. Not really a nightmare though but still the disappointment was real.
As I aged, life also aged with me. They say familiarity is the enemy of awe and life was not immune from it. In my dream, I felt a little queasy as I got this feeling that life was becoming tired of my company. I felt that way because the signs were showing and the seams were fraying. Sadly, I saw less and less of life. Our friendship thawed away.
You see, before things changed, life would visit me everyday. There were no exceptions. I could count on his friendship. Then, as time went by, life’s visits dwindled. He skipped a day at first. Then, he skipped a few days. Sometimes, I did not see him for one whole week. And one day, just like that, life stopped visiting altogether. There was no forewarning, no notice, no RSVP.
I was lost. I started to experience biting loneliness. I felt abandoned. At first, I thought life was playing a game of hide and seek with me. It was a game we used to play during fonder days. But the difference now is that there’s more hiding than seeking. More missing than finding. More disappearing than discovering.
This was the part of the dream that I fought hard to keep it all together. This was the part of the dream that I shed silent tears for life, for myself. I refused to let go of life. I refused to accept this end of our friendship. I huddled in one dark corner wallowing in a state of despair, fear and even outrage. I was an entangled hairball of mixed emotions. My disappointments soon turned to frustration. I was angry with life. Truly pissed. Some would even call it a hissy fit.
What kind of friend was he. He left me out to dry. He left me without saying goodbye. This much life owes me. He should have set the rules of our engagement. He should have made things clear. He should have told me that it was only for a time. It was only for a season. And it was never a friendship that is based on reason. In short, life shouldn’t have given me false hope.
I hate to admit this here but I was fuming and I sworn that even if life were ever to return, even for a passing visit, I would ignore him. I would give him the cold shoulder. I would not acknowledge his presence. My vow was to forget this friendship forever. To erase it out of memory.
Just at this time, this strange moment, I felt the earth underneath my feet shook. I thought it was an earthquake. Then, my whole body convulsed. It was real and I felt it in my bones. The next thing I knew was that I went into a free fall. I was falling as if gravity was swallowing me up. I struggled for a while and I opened my eyes. I found myself beside my bed, on the floor. I had awakened. I went over to my window and peered out. It was just past the morning dawn and I could see the beautiful cloudless horizon. Then, it hit me like comet showers.
Life had not gone anywhere. He was always beside me. He was waiting for me to wake up. As much as he wanted me to wander in a dreamworld of make-believe, he desired even more for me to wake up to a world waiting for me. No doubt this world will disappoint. No doubt it will leave me stranded, cold and even lost. The pain may even be more pronounced in the real world than in dreamworld. But life is telling me that in dreamworld, I will always be a fugitive from reality. I will always be escaping but never experiencing. In short, I will never really live since dreaming is anything but living, experiencing and learning.
Then, just at this time, life handed me an epiphany. I realized that I had been playing hide and seek with life all along. The main difference here is that in dreamworld, I was the one hiding. I was hiding away from life in the bubbled security of my treehouse, never stepping out to explore, to dare to fail, to learn from it, and to move forward with courage. And the tragedy is that as long as I am in my dreamworld, I will never be found by life. The contrast is jarring. Life is to death what living is to dreaming.
But in the world that I had awakened to, I was found. And it was the only way life could find me. Now the role is reversed. The rule of the game has changed. In the real world, I am the seeker and life has mischievously gone to hide. I am therefore set free to explore, to seek and to discover. To experience failures, to learn from them, and to recover.
And seek I shall because as long as I know I still have a friend in life, I will play my part to find him. I will spare no effort in this game life has set for me. And being a true friend, I know life can't wait to be found. So, herein lies my new adventure with life in the real world; which will not only be fun, it will also be highly rewarding in the end. Cheerz.