In a dream on Wednesday night, I saw my dad for the first time since he died. We didn’t speak or interact. Hell, we didn’t even make eye contact. The bastard must have better things to do with his time now since I’m pretty sure he chose to ignore me.
I woke up the next morning energized, reminded by my dream that every day we have a choice to bring a smile or a laugh or a brief moment of joy into the lives of the people we encounter. And this jolt of perspective arrived for me at just the right time.
Recently, I’ve felt tired, frustrated by the progress I don’t think I’m making on the too many projects I willfully undertook. Patience can be someone else’s virtue, because it isn’t one of mine. I need more time to get more done, and it’s pissing me off that that time isn’t coming.
I’ve felt my energy wane and my focus drift each morning as I wrestle through another 10-minute snooze session that I wake from more lethargic than if I just rose at the alarm’s first buzz. Inspiration is fickle and when you’re strapped into the sidecar of a motorcycle being driven to nowhere by writer’s block, sometimes doing nothing sounds like a better proposition than doing something and finishing with only a pile of written poop.
My motivation is hiding somewhere along with my excitement for work. I can’t seem to find either. Worse, as they’ve slipped further away, my normally upbeat attitude and approach to personal interactions has suffered. Rather than letting life inspire as it unfolds around me, I’ve wanted to put on my blinders and focus instead on fixing my own shortcomings.
Then, Thursday morning smacked me in the face like a pissed-off girlfriend demanding me to wake up. I don’t remember my dreams much, usually the chalkboard of memories is erased completely by the time my eyes open, but I’m grateful that this one stuck.
In the dream, I sat on the back bench of a standard courtroom as some unknown case unfolded before me. The court soon broke for recess, but nobody moved. Through a side entrance, I then saw my dad saunter into the room with another man I didn’t recognize (apparently Dad is making new friends wherever he is these days).
On his walk through the room, Dad stopped at the defense table and chatted with the attorney and his client for a few seconds. An instant later, laughter burst from their mouths. Dad moved on, high-fiving the bemused judge before plopping onto the prosecution team’s waist high desk presently cluttered by their yellow legal pads and white binders. A huddle with the lawyers ensued, followed by more laughs. Dad left through the same door entered earlier—a rascal stirring up trouble where he didn’t belong.
This short dream reminded me that every morning we have the choice for how our day will progress—whether we’re happy or sad, jolly or mad. Anger, frustration, irritability can define us. Or enthusiasm, energy, and fun can propel our actions and conversations.
Yes, I had felt tired and frustrated lately, but that’s no excuse for allowing these feelings to interfere with how I approach my interactions with others or my motivations to work to the goals I might never reach.
As my dream made clear, every moment is a chance to make a difference, and sometimes bringing the gift of laughter really is the best medicine.
A day of excitement, motivation, and positive interactions—the choice is ours to make. And I know the one I’ll be making.