77: Dancing into the Future

77: Dancing into the Future

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

Dancing into the Future

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

~Eleanor Roosevelt

So many questions filled my mind. Why was I in so much pain? Did it have to do with my recent cancer surgery? Did it mean the cancer was worse than they thought or was it from some other cause? Even at best, I would be followed for years and not fully know if my cancer was eradicated for a very long time. And now I lay on a hospital table with a fever and excruciating abdominal pain. Soon I would have a scan to see what was causing the pain, but for now I was hooked up to an IV and had pain meds pouring into my arm. I was beginning to get some relief . . . and I was beginning to get sleepy.

The next thing I knew, I was on an old hospital bed in Nigeria, the country of my birth and childhood. As a missionary kid whose father worked as a pharmacist in the city of Ogbomoso, my surroundings were familiar. I was outside of a medical clinic of some sort waiting to be admitted.

The clinic was of the typical Nigerian sort: mud walls, thatched roof, open windows, dirt floor. It must have been during the dry season as things were dry and dusty. I was lying on an old, rusty metal bed and could see down a little embankment where a street was busy with people, motorcycles, and vehicles. The noise of the motorcycles and vehicles was loud and constant, along with the smoke from outdoor kitchen fires, burning trash and vehicles. Flies were a nuisance, as were the sweat and heat.

Then I woke up. I was relieved to see that I was actually lying in a clean hospital bed in a large hospital in my hometown near Dallas, Texas, with my wife sitting in a chair beside me. I told her about my dream and soon dozed off again.

I was back at the old Nigerian clinic, but this time I was inside. The room was large and dusty and only lit with natural light, so it wasn’t very bright. Around the room were old, worn, wooden benches. I don’t recall seeing anyone sitting in them. In the center of the room, a long aisle led to two different places. One was down an even darker, eerie looking area, and the other seemed to lead back out to a brighter area outside. As I came into this large room, someone was leading me by the arm. It wasn’t clear to me if the person was male or female, but he or she seemed to be a dark, foreboding presence. The person started to lead me down the aisle toward the dark area.

Then, out of nowhere, someone intervened and took me by the other arm. Though it was also unclear if this person was male or female, he or she was lighter and brighter. The bright person kept telling the other person that I was not meant to go down that dark hall. There was a little tugging back and forth, and I was pulled in both directions. The dark figure eventually let go and gave in to the light figure, who led me back outside.

I woke up. I was back in my hometown hospital, with my wife still by my side and an IV still in my arm. I looked at the clock and saw that only a few minutes had passed since I had last checked the time. I told my wife about this dream, too. My eyes were still heavy, and I must have dozed back to sleep.

Suddenly, I was back outside the old, dusty clinic, waiting to be admitted, or perhaps I was being discharged. Someone was standing beside me, but I don’t know who. All the familiar scenes from the first dream were there.

Then I woke up and described the scene to my wife. And once again, as quickly as I had woken, I seemed to be transported back to Nigeria.

This time (the fourth), it was a more pleasant experience. I was with a Nigerian hospital driver shopping for handcrafted sandals in downtown Ogbomoso. We entered the small shop that had sandals, handbags, and other leather goods hanging for display on the walls. Two Nigerian men were sitting behind a wooden desk and greeted us in their usual friendly way.

After exchanging greetings, the driver explained what I was looking for. He must have mentioned that I used to live in Nigeria years ago because they asked me to speak in their tongue. So, in my best Yoruba accent, I introduced myself and said I was OmoOgbomoso, which translated means “a child of Ogbomoso.” That drew a huge response as they began to smile and laugh. Then I continued with my demonstration that I was from Ogbomoso by singing some native songs and dancing Nigerian style!

The two men literally fell out of their chairs with laughter and joined in dancing, as did the driver. We were all having a joyous time singing and dancing! I’m not sure if they were laughing more at my singing or the fact that I was dancing with them.

Then I woke up. I don’t know if I ever bought those sandals or not.

This time when I told my wife, she teased me, telling me not to go back to sleep again. I didn’t because the scan was about to begin.

I do not recall having any other dreams like that, before or since. In fact, I seldom have dreams that I remember. But those four short dreams will stay in my memory the rest of my life. I was diagnosed with an abscess at the surgery site and sent home with a PICC line through which I administered antibiotics for the next six weeks. But I no longer doubted my healing or my future. My dreams had assured me it was not my time. I had been led out of the dark, and my fears had turned to dancing.

~Ron Wasson

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