Updated: Aug 2, 2022
Dreams enchant me. I love them and how they affect me, almost always in a positive way providing insights about God, the world or myself. They also bring about inspiration to improve my life or that of others.
What follows is a story I wrote. Granted, it is not particularly religious, but I believe that not everything Catholic or Christ-like is about dogma, faith or morals*. Also, I am soliciting here a request for someone who can draw lovely pictures and would be willing to paint or sketch imagery such that this or another of my stories can be published into "our" children's book. I grew up reading children's books and have long dreamed of writing at least one myself.
A Daydream Storybook
by Fr. Jonathan Atchley
Books have stories.
People have dreams.
However, once, I found a book that had both stories and its own dreams.
And this is how it happened:
Reading a book, I was about to turn the page, when I noticed how thick the page was.
At first I thought I was turning two pages rather than one. Then I looked more carefully at the numbers as I turned the page.
One side of the page said "119."
The other side of the page said "120."
I examined the page more carefully. It was only one page, though much thicker than the other pages of my book.
This is very odd, I thought.
I looked carefully again, wanting to make sure I had not skipped a page.
Then I felt the page carefully...
And turned it over slowly...
And held my breath...
Because here, where there should only have been one page with nothing in between...
Played delightful pictures of exquisite texture and color and beauty!
Peering deeply within, I encountered marvels I had not yet imagined. Everything possible took on a fanciful reality. While reading, even time seemed to slow, as though cooperating with my story book to help me get the most out of this marvelously rich and mysterious tome.
The book's images were sometimes strange but always engaging, and so real that I wondered whether I was dreaming.
Or perhaps--the idea slowly dawned on me--perhaps the book was sharing its dreams with me!
The more I thought, the more certain I became that this was true. And with each passing moment the visions grew in their power to enchant and mystify and fill my mind and heart with a beautiful world I never knew existed. It felt like I was sharing secrets…with a very best friend.
I closed the book, and the wonders grew still and quiet between these mysterious pages. Opening it again, there they were parading about in festive joy, as though nothing had changed. For them, perhaps, this was in fact the case.
And so, whenever I felt weary or sad, I would turn to my daydream book, and lose myself with dreams that became endearing friends.
Each time I turned to them, the pictures became more real, more vibrant, taking me to ever new places and introducing me to singularly distinct and curious characters I sensed could be the best of friends.
I even felt these characters wanted a *relationship* me: sharing secrets about themselves, prodding me for insights about myself...and further, I understood that they would be there for me whenever I needed them.
One day someone borrowed my daydream book without my knowing it.
Frantically, I searched for it, and when eventually I got it back, I noticed a tear on the page marked 119-120.
How could this happen? I groaned aloud, grief-stricken. The person who borrowed it said that one page was thicker than the other, and that trying to force it open with a pair of scissors accidentally tore the page.
"Oh!" I cried, pointing to the book. "Look what has happened! Now I can never again open to the beautiful pages of my daydream book!"
Sadly, I turned away. Without the special magic of this book, I felt I had lost a best friend. Perhaps I should have done more to protect my book. But that did not restore the magically alive pictures, nor did it repair the tear in my heart over their loss.
Sadly, I closed the daydream book, thinking I would never again peer into its fantastic world, or laugh and cry with its very real and caring cast of characters. I would never again experience its vibrant visions, nor share its daring dreams.
But then, something wonderfully unexpected happened.
I pinched my eyes closed with the painful sense of loss, when exquisite colors and beautiful pictures beyond description danced and played before me.
The images had not left! They lived on! Yes, my book's daydreams were still with me.
Only now--they lived within me. My book had chosen to share its images with me and now they were mine as well.
Then I began to understand: the dreams had never really left. They just moved safely, deeply into my mind and heart.
I sighed aloud with relief. Now I knew that the dreams of my book would always be there, whenever I chose to find them.
All I had to do, in my mind’s eye, was open my daydream book...
*as sources of truth, I mean. Lest one perceive me to be a heretic, I would add Catholic culture, personal experience and private revelation are also ways to encounter truth, though these are less well defined as formal topics of study. Scriptures is replete with instances of God guiding His subjects through the influence of dreams.