When They Come True…

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Everyone’s a creative. Some folks latch onto the natural ability and run with it, while others tend to use it infrequently enough to miss its existence altogether. Whatever side of the spectrum you fall on, we all have the natural ability and the potential to create. Looking back, I recognize it in my entire life.

When I was a kid, I collected comic books and swiftly took to freehand drawing. I loved to sketch out superheroes in battle poses at first. Later, I took to drawing and coloring posters and murals for friends. But the “drawing phase” fizzled in my early to mid 20s; replaced by the need to story-tell.

I started writing in my first journal when I was 12 years old, and never looked back. Story-telling wouldn’t really take hold of my imagination for another 20 years, but by the time I was ready to do it, the effort came naturally because I’d basically been telling my own story since 12. I had always dreamed of someday writing a book and seeing it published. There was just something alluring about the prospect of holding something tangible you’d created, in between your own fingers.

Writing “Paraclete’s Promise: The Fantastic Fantasies of Timothy” and seeing it published was nothing short of a dream come true for me. The success, or lack there of, didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. What really mattered was that I had set out to create something and seen it through. I had essentially built something that would last longer than me. Dreams–when they come true–are simultaneously awe-inspiring and terrifying at the same time.

Marianne Williamson wrote, in her book, “A Return To Love: Reflections On The Principles Of ‘A Course In Miracles’” a timeless passage. She said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

When the dream becomes a reality, sometimes the excitement of watching that dream blossom is quickly overshadowed by the unknown of what might happen next; what it could mean for our lives; how it might affect others; or even if it will affect others. It’s the fear of the unknown, and sometimes that very fear keeps us from moving forward as the dream becomes reality.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve created art in one form or another, with little to no regard for the idea of it ever becoming even remotely successful. I think the goal was never the end result, so much as it was the journey toward the end-result. I love the process of seeing something come together. Sometimes, I toss a project out. Sometimes, I hold it in stasis for…ever. And then, there are the times when the journey goes straight through to completion. The art is finished, and is stored away until I pull it out of my little closet to enjoy it for myself.

For many years, that’s how I rolled. I created; I socked the creation away, never sharing it with the world. In my 30s, I learned to let go, and share. For the true creative, the art is extremely personal. The thought of some stranger grabbing hold of it and mishandling it is a real fear for us. But Marianne’s quote reminds us (creatives) that our God-given purpose is to shine for His glory through our created works. In order for that to happen, we’ve gotta share. We have to put the created work out there into the world, for all to see, touch, taste, hear, feel, etc.

In my mid-40s, my artistic pendulum swung again. This time, it swung wide in the direction of something that has been a part of me forever. My wife recently said something pretty profound to me. She said,

“Dear, you’re good at writing. But, music is what you were born to do. Writing is your hobby. Music has always been you’re passion. It’s who you are.”

I really can’t argue with that. Music’s always been my air. No matter what I’m doing, at even given moment, it has to be around me. It has to be my ambience. I live it and breathe it. When I learned to create it, the dreams began flowing like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The dreams feed the imagination, and the imagination manifests into the created work.

Like the book, a lot of times, I like to see the finished work and know that I’ve made something that will outlast me. After the book, my writing stalled. It was as if I’d lost the desire to keep writing. Maybe it’s just long term writer’s block. But with the music, every finished song only strengthens my resolve to keep moving the music forward; to keep sharing my sound with the world in hopes that it touches someone right when they need it.

The dreams–when they come true–put me in a position to think about what comes next. In 2021, a record label signed one of my songs. That song, quickly began gaining traction on the charts of the Soulful House Music genre. And that’s when the doubts simultaneously began rolling in. I’m afraid of what it could mean; afraid that the song’s steady climb is some sort of fluke; afraid of it all somehow backfiring; afraid of the lyrics losing their encouragement power. Afraid, of my light shining for others to see.

Then I remember Marianne’s quote, and I am reminded of God’s intent for us all. We are meant to shine, to inspire and encourage others. Our dreams-made-reality are supposed to tell others, it’s okay to go after what they really want; to put forth their best effort; to inspire others.

Dreams–when they come true–give us the “okay” to keep dreaming bigger and brighter. In doing so, we have no idea of where God might take us. But it’s not about the end of the road, is it? It’s about the journey and how that journey reaches others, while in motion.

Thoughts at Twilight

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When I was a kid, my dreams were often filled with visions of cartoon characters of my favorite shows, make-believe adventures with my closest friends and my brother, fantasies of strange creatures and the ever familiar flying experience. I looked forward to sleep in my youth. Sure I had to contend with nightmares every once in awhile but, by and large, my dreams were a place of happiness.

As I grew up, life became complicated by my life-choices. Along the way, I think I lost that childhood innocence of dreaming. Oh I still dreamed, but the visions took on a materialistic turn. Where fantastic creatures and unbelievable companions once reigned, now desires for fancy houses, beautiful cars, stacks of money piles and 24/7 parties took over. The world’s influences rearranged then corrupted my fantasies.

Lately, I miss the innocence of those fantastic dreams. Part of the beauty of writing Paraclete’s Promise, was the return to that make-believe world; bringing outlandish adventures to life through Timothy’s dreams was like revisiting an old friend. The cares of adulting, the pressures of professional performance; the worries of debt all seemed to melt away while journeying with Timothy. The dreams were once again whimsical and fun; frightening but wonderful at the same time. And I always seemed to awaken refreshed. Ready to take on a new day.

I think it’s time to revisit those dreams again. Set aside the worries and cares of the world for just a few hours of reality, in exchange for the timeless journeys of the fantastic. I want to remember what it’s like to dream amazing stories, and wake ready to share them with the world.

I think a story’s coming…

Look at the Time

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Covering my ears, with my palms, I squeezed until my head ached. My eyes were shut so tight, I thought they might actually burst through the back of my skull. Then I screamed until the sound of my own voice drowned out the cacophony around me. I screamed until my voice went hoarse. Then I fell unconscious.

When I came to, distance explosions, falling debris, and scraping metal brought me back to a reality I wished desperately to escape from. My eyes opened to a red sky littered with dark clouds and thick concrete ash. The total carnage was endless. Buildings, once stoic and majestic structures that defined the downtown skyline, now lay in utter ruin. The Ambassador Bridge spanning the Canadian to Detroit borders had been severed. Its suspension cables dangled from the remains of the two support pillars on either bank. And everywhere I looked, there were bodies; lifeless and charred.

“I’m dead. I have to be dead. This is a dream.”

“Neither,” a deep voice boomed behind me.

I jerked ‘round, and saw him staring at me with eyes blazing like white fire.

“Gabriel?”

“Yes.”

He was massive! Standing at least twelve-feet tall, his proportions were larger than those of an ordinary man. Gabriel’s square chin leveled as he looked out beyond the devastation. His muscled bare chest expanded as he sighed. Then, his gaze fell back on me.

“You did this, son of Adam. This destruction came by the hands of man.”

“What…I don’t understand? What happened? Am I home? And how is it that I know who you are?” My thoughts were incoherent. I couldn’t catch a breath of fresh air. “What is happening to me?”

Gabriel shook his tree-trunk sized muscular arms. Brilliant white light exploded behind him, fanning out and transforming into vibrant yellow and red fringed wings. He reached down toward me. Instinctively, I rested both hands inside his huge left palm. In an instant, we were soaring above the Detroit River, looking down on the ruins of a once pristine downtown landscape.

“Gabriel, what-”

He pointed south. “There.”

A flash of blinding light far off into the distance. An orange mushroom shaped cloud rising from below.

“God no,” I whimpered.

“The light of atom,” he said, cradling me in the crook of his arm as we flew toward the cloud.

“World War III?”

“Yes.”

“I have to be dreaming. This can’t be.”

“You are not, son of Adam. The visions are not dreams.”

“You’re saying this will happen, Gabriel?”

“As it is written by the one He loved.”

“This…is a glimpse into the future?”

“As it is written, ‘your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.’ Look at the time, son of Adam. The hour is near.”

Gabriel cocked his huge arm backward, then hurled me toward the earth. I streaked through clouds, headed toward the base of the mushroom cloud. Below, I could see a rippling ring of concussive fire spreading out, destroying everything in its path. There was nothing I could do to stop my descent, except tuck and brace.

“Look at the time, son of Adam,” Gabriel’s voice boomed again.

I shut my eyes and prayed that the afterlife would be pleasant. God knows I don’t deserve it.


“Then what happened,” doctor Spilner asked.

“I opened my eyes, here; in your office.” Daniel said.

Doctor Spilner and Grace exchanged a puzzled look.

“This is a regular occurrence, Mrs. King?”

“Lately, his dreams have been a bit more…extravagant,” Grace said. “Of course, he’s been prone to have a full night’s sleep also.”

“How long was I out?” Daniel asked.

Doctor Spilner and Grace exchanged another glance.

“C’mon, talk to me! How long was I under?”

Doctor Spliner cleared his throat. “Seven minutes, Daniel. You were officially in REM sleep for seven minutes.”

An awkward silence settled over the tiny office. It was suddenly shattered by the screech of the doctor’s wrist watch alarm.

“Oh my, look at the time. I would suggest we reschedule for another session, Mr. and Mrs. King. Something fascinating is happening with you Daniel.”

Doctor Spilner saw them out, to the parking lot. The ride home was an especially quiet one.

“Honey, what’s wrong? You’re in your own little world.”

“He said, ‘Look at the time.’”

“I’m sure he had other appointments.”

“No. Not the doctor. The archangel, Gabriel. He warned me to look at the time.”

The Dream Remembered

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I saw you last night, someplace other than our separate lives now. In that place, we were young, together, and we loved each other. There were no obstacles binding our true feelings. For a time beyond the confines of our different realities, we were free to talk, laugh, and share companionship with one another. Nothing taboo occurred. Nothing forbidden was allowed. We simply enjoyed each other’s company.

 

Though your face was as young as I last remembered, your eyes reflected a deep soul bathed in the wisdom of age. Likewise, you saw not the youthful and vibrant glow of my 17 year-old skin, but the 40 years of stored knowledge within my soul. I gently touched your cheek, simultaneously timid and anxious to prove your existence, in that place. Your fingers softly lit across my arm, sending a chill up my spine.

 

How could this be? What was God’s plan in allowing this to happen? Was this your deep desire, or mine? Did we ask for this impromptu encounter, in our hearts? Did you pray for me recently, or is this the result of my prayers for you, years past?

 

 Remembering, I looked into your eyes and knew that this was real and right, for the moment. Our embrace was not that of secret lovers. No; it was the envelope of timeless, genuine, and true friendship. I held you close, and you squeezed me in kind. I could smell the familiar scent of your hair. You delicately fit into the fold of my arms and I suddenly realized…you’ve been with me all the days of my life. It was as if no time had ever passed between us. Our friendship was as fresh in this place, as it was the day we met so many years ago. We’ve never separated.

 

 The moment in that place existed as a split second, but lasted for a lifetime between us. Our laughter was unabashed; free. Our conversation was honest and heartfelt, as we walked along clouds side by side. We spoke of the Lord and what He’s accomplished in our separate lives. Together, we praised Him for the fantastic enigma He is. We thanked Him for this impossible moment; this ridiculously unexplainable, and fascinatingly wonderful meeting. We thanked Him for blessing our separate families; our spouses and our children.

 

 That’s when the atmosphere changed. I noticed the dim fading of your eyes and the translucency of your skin. Reality beckoned; it was time to return home to where we each belonged. Just before parting ways, we shared a final warm embrace bound by the love of untainted selfish desires. No more words were spoken, but our hearts exchanged an unspoken message all their own.

 

‘No matter where I go in life, I’m with you and you are with me. I’ll always find you and you’ll always see me, even when I’m far away. I’ll always remember you friend.’

 

 Your heart responds to mine, as we step back and wave to one another. As you smile goodbye, you fade away, into reality. I wake, aware of my surroundings; aware of my life. But I remember that split second of impossible joy. I remember the dream, and smile before it fades into oblivion.