Pleasant dreams

Yesterday I had a nightmare where my wife and I lost our handicapped son at the Baltimore Convention Center. It brought to mind the chapter entitled “The Dark Island” in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, where the wild-looking Lord Rhoop tells the crew that the island is a place “Where dreams come true”. When the crew reacts favorably to this, Rhoop says Fools!..This is where dreams – dreams, do you understand – come to life, come real. Not daydreams: dreams." At this, the whole crew starts frantically trying to turn the Dawn Treader back, to get away from the Dark Island. And Lewis himself, in his letters, sometimes described nightmares which he had. But the dreams that Lewis had about lions, which inspired the Narnia Chronicles, must not have been unpleasant. And it also brings to mind a dream I once had, where I went to heaven, which was, in this case, a large library room, where I was surrounded by people who were sending warm rays of love into me, which I could not reciprocate. But the main impression from the dream was not that I couldn’t reciprocate, but the warmth of the rays. And isn’t this what heaven could be like – being surrounded by people showing their love for us? And, even now, on earth, don’t we create a piece of heaven by showing love for each other – a love which Lewis describes so well in his fictional dream, “The Great Divorce”:

"Some kind of procession was approaching us and the light came from the persons who composed it.

"First came bright Spirits, not the Spirits of men, who danced and scattered flowers – soundlessly falling, lightly drifting flowers, though by the standards of the ghost-world each petal would have weighed a hundred-weight and their fall would have been like the crashing of boulders. Then, on the left and right, at each side of the forest avenue came youthful shapes, boys upon one hand, and girls upon the other. If I could remember their singing and write down the notes, no man who read that score would ever grow sick or old. Between them went musicians: and after these a lady in whose honour all this was being done.

“Is it?.. Is it?” I whispered to my guide.

“Not at all,” said he. “It’s someone ye’ll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.”

“She seems to be… well, a person of particular importance?”

“Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things.”

“And who are these gigantic people … look! They’re like emeralds… who are dancing and throwing flowers before her?”

“Haven’t ye read your Milton? A thousand liveried Angels lackey her .”

“And who are all these young men and women on each side? “

“They are her sons and daughters.”

“She must have had a very large family, Sir.”

“Every young man or boy that met her became her son – even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.”

“Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents? “

“No. There are those that steal other people’s children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives. “