Richard woke up scared, panting as though he had just finished a hundred metres dash. His shirt was soaked wet. The part of the bed where he laid was also soaked. For a moment, he wasn’t quite sure where he was. The dream, if he could call it that, was both scary and confusing, at the same time. Many would call it a nightmare, but he knew this was more than just a bad dream. It was a message, a vision of some sorts but he wasn’t quite sure how he should deal with it.
He looked around and saw he was in his room at school, thankfully. He could still make out the furniture in the room, even in the darkness. It was easy. The room was sparsely furnished. The reading table and chair, the wardrobe and the bed, from which he just woke, were all the furniture he needed. Unlike the other students in his dorm who had furniture and electronic gadgets that could be considered respectable in many middle and upper income circles, Richard’s room paled in comparison, although many of them knew he came from a home that could afford to provide him with all the gadgets he needed. Why he picked this Spartan existence baffled a lot of them.
But Richard was pleased with his lifestyle. It was a way of life he chose out of knowledge & out of deep need. Not the type of need that drives people these days, accursed with a fast food mentality, moving from one crusade ground to another, looking for the next spiritual celebrity and hoping for a microwaved breakthrough, but discontinuing their pursuit when the breakthrough is seemingly deferred. His was a need borne out of the poverty of the soul.
Before he became born again, his life had been about the next shag. He was such an impassioned ‘player’. All he thought about was where the next shag was going to come from. And he shagged everything. Fat, thin, short, tall…any available shag would do. But after a while he began to feel as though his life’s essence was being drained away as he shagged. Ecstasy soon gave way to guilt and bliss was replaced with emptiness. It was at that point he concluded he needed something deeper. He realized sex couldn’t feel the void he felt in his heart. It was at that point in his life that he met God and started his own spiritual odyssey.
And now, alone in his room, confused and afraid at the same time, he wondered what link, if any, his antecedents had with the dream he just had. He was still trying to make sense of the dream when it occurred to him that he needed to quickly write it down so as not to lose any of the vital details although he doubted if he could ever forget any part of that dream- it seemed so real!
He was in a dark wet and dingy tunnel, filled with all kinds of despicable things, both living and dead. He wondered how he had gotten into the tunnel in the first place. He felt dirty and grimaced at the level of decadence in the tunnel. He groped for the wall, hoping to steady himself against the tide of ‘death’ flowing at his feet, pushing him far back into the tunnel, against his will and away from the light he could see at the other end of the tunnel. But he quickly removed his hand from the wall when his fingers touched something cold and slimy. He knew he had to get out fast. The smell oozing from the walls was threatening to choke him to death and he knew if he didn’t run out quickly enough he could be swept away far into the tunnel by the rampaging waters below.
As he tried to run towards the light, he felt ‘hands’ pulling at him and drawing him down towards the waters. These were not human hands. They felt more like snakes and an octopus’ appendages. They came at him from all directions, pulling him down with a strength that was inhuman. Just as he was about to give up and succumb to them, he felt a surge of strength from within himself and he broke free from their shackles in a manner not dissimilar from what he had seen Clark Kent do on so many occasions when fettered with the strongest of all restraints.
He began to run towards the light again. He was free. He could almost see the end of the tunnel now. The light looked wonderful and beckoned to him to keep running. But just as he was about to reach the light he began to feel a different kind of sensation. This was not as cold and aggressive as the appendages that threatened to pull him down just a few moments ago. This sensation was soft, warm and sensual. It felt like a woman’s bosom and he could feel it all around him. He was still running but he began to slow down. Before long, his run dawdled into a walk until he stopped altogether. He didn’t feel a need to run towards the light anymore. What he was feeling wasn’t bad at all. In fact he liked it. All of a sudden, the filth and dinginess of the tunnel didn’t matter anymore. Before he knew what was happening, he was back at the point where he started from and now the sensual feelings had stopped, replaced by the more aggressive and dangerous appendages. They dragged him down and just as the tide of death was about to wash him into oblivion, he woke up.
The only interpretation that made sense to him was that the dream represented the struggles he would face in his spiritual passage. The tunnel represented life; the snake- like appendages are the battles the devil will throw at him to keep him down enough for the other worries of the world, represented by the tide of death, to wash him far away from his chosen path. But it was the sensual sensation that bothered him. He had a feeling it meant that he was going to have struggles with the opposite sex and fail. But how could this be?
His last shag had been 3 years ago, just before he surrendered his life to Jesus. And since then he had stayed on the strait and narrow path. He had not even thought about having sex all this while. This dream would have made sense if he was still having struggles with sex. But he wasn’t. He remembered some sister in his fellowship saying she respected the fact that he could be amongst so many ladies in his department [the choreography department] in the fellowship and not feel tempted. To him it was not a big deal.
He then concluded that the dream must be a clever machination of the devil designed to distract him and sow some fear and doubts in his mind. The Lord had kept him thus far and he was confident that He who had begun a good work in him would perfect it.
He knelt down beside his bed and said a short prayer before going back to bed unbeknownst to him that the dream would come to haunt him again, two years later.