I recently had a literal dream about America. It was incredibly vivid and moving. It inspired but challenged me, too. It was about what America used to be, and yet what it could be again. It’s about what we once highly cherished, and I believe need to cherish again.
I even knew the date of the event in the dream. It was set on July 4, 2021, which is still four months away. Independence Day falls on a Sunday this year.
I dreamed I was riding a horse by myself on a rural stretch of rolling green hills on a Texas prairie. It was mid-morning, and mist hovered over the pasture. I was on my way to church, much like I remember reading that Thomas Jefferson used to ride his horse down to church in the Capitol building during his presidency.
In my dream, I saw this small old wooden church in the distance. It had a steeple with a cross at the top. I didn’t feel like I had been there before, but it was Independence Day and Sunday, so I knew they were having church services. The closer I got, however, I noticed no one around, at least on the outside. Maybe that was because church was in session.
I dismounted my horse when I got near the front door of the church. As I opened the large wooden doors, expecting to see people inside, there were none. Not a single person occupied the long wooden pews. It was dark inside except for the fact that the sun’s rays were beaming in from a few small windows on the left side of the church. Dust particles filled the air as I looked at the sun’s rays jetting over the old pews onto the right wall, illuminating a few things that appeared to be hanging there.
I took a quick glance to the left as I walked into the church, and then proceeded to walk down the far-right aisle, gazing at the wall and trying to figure out what hung there.
The first article I could make out was an old plaque that said, “What We Cherish.” Below it was an encased tri-fold American flag as it would be presented to someone at a funeral. Next to Old Glory was an old oak frame with a dated military photo in it. It was a U.S. soldier from the Vietnam era, who apparently attended the church or maybe grew up in it where his family attended.
I was still slowly walking down the aisle staring at the wall. I could hear the creaking of the wooden floor as my cowboy boots trod on it.
Next I noticed on the wall an old framed copy of the U.S. Constitution. The bolded and enlarged words readily stood out at the top, “We the People …” I paused to ponder that amazing document and those epic words.
Next to the copy of the U.S. Constitution was a framed copy (shaped like a stone tablet but paper) of the Ten Commandments. I thought, “How fitting for an old rural country church.” Once upon a time most churches posted a copy the Ten Commandments, like even most courthouses across the U.S.
I momentarily stopped and looked back at the wall containing the Ten Commandments, U.S. Constitution and the military tribute to a fallen warrior with the sign above it all that said, “What We Cherish.” I thought about our broken country and how our freedoms are under attack and even been taken away on so many fronts. I murmured and retorted a past tense of the sign, saying it with some disgust and even grief: “What We CHERISHED.”
I turned around and headed back to the front of the church. As I lapped left around the front pew, I saw the preacher’s lectern with an old large Bible on it. It was not only incredibly dusty like it hadn’t been opened in ages, but there was an item on it. It looked like a coin. I bent down and blew the dust off, which created a small cloud filling the air. But as the dust settled, the sun shimmered down on the lectern, partially showing the words on its cover, “Holy Bible,” and also the shine of an old gold coin.
I put my hand on the Bible and the gold coin. I then looked back on the wall that held the Ten Commandments, U.S. Constitution and military tribute, and I again spoke out loud, but this time with determination and grit. I again said the saying on the sign but this time in a future tense: “We WILL CHERISH you again.” I knew I was speaking for all of us patriots when I pledged that promise.
What did the dream mean? Was it just for me or others, too? I’m still pondering that. It was obvious it was about the things America used to cherish far more, and desperately needs to cherish again. Despite the fact we’ve started to make America great again, I know it will never be until we all cherish those things together the way our founders did.
And what was the gold coin about? Was it representing the fact that our economy is going to tank again and to invest in gold? Or was its placement on the Holy Bible saying something like, “God is the gold,” or both? (By the way, see Steve Forbes’ comments on gold increases in 2021 here.)
But what haunted me most was that the little old church, which represents hundreds of thousands of others just like it across the land, was empty and seemed even deserted on Independence Day Sunday of this year, 2021. Why was that?
When I awoke, I couldn’t help but think of how COVID chaos and government lockdowns emptied churches and promoted people to abandon church buildings for the comfort of online “couch churches.” It made me wonder: Was the dream also about the dying influence of too many American churches? (During this pre-Easter season of Lent, it should be noteworthy to consider that over 4,000 churches close every year, while only 1,000 start, according to Lifeway Research. And those statistics don’t include what must be a massive amount of church closures under the fallout of COVID.)
Bottom line, was my dream of America simply about the dissolution of our republic and disconnection of what we used to cherish most? Or was it a call to action about what I or we needed to do to help revive it all? The specific values we must now recommit to cherish if we are truly to make America great again?
Maybe I shouldn’t over complicate it, but simply take my next cue from Walt Disney, who said, “All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
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