First thing in the morning, as my family shuffles about in search of bathrooms and coffee, one or the other of us will tell our dreams from the night before. Usually it’s something like “I had another stress dream … worked all night trying to send emails, but my computer was really a wood stove, so it wasn’t working.”
But recently, my son had a real doozy. He dreamt he met — to use his words — a bunch of small gods. Although he met quite a few, he could only remember three of them.
In his dream, the election was over, the Republicans won, and Bible study replaced all the subjects in school. Son became a fugitive; on the lam from authorities who meant to catch him and make him Christian.
It was in his flight that he met the small gods.
In Colorado he met the Surfer God, who looks Hawaiian, and was wearing Hawaiian shorts and shirt. The Surfer God told him it would be better for Son to hide in plain sight, being noisey and boisterous in public because “people do that.” He himself often appeared drunk in public, in an effort to blend in. The Surfer God was also very worried about how stressed Son was, and gave him lots of advice on that, none of which Son can remember. The Surfer God was always slipping away to surf, even though Colorado is nowhere near the ocean.
Then Son met the God of Locks. He is a bouncer in Los Angeles. The God of Locks doesn’t say much.
The one Son remembers best is the God of Keys. He lives in a big city. “Perhaps New York?” says Son, as if trying it on for size.
The God of Keys is a thief.
But the God of Keys doesn’t steal from just anyone. For instance, he’ll steal from someone who has just gotten a bonus and thus has some money to let slip. And the God of Keys has a high opinion of stockbrokers; he won’t steal from them because they keep money moving about.
Fascinated, I asked if the God of Keys was stealing from the rich to give to the poor. At first Son said “no, he keeps it,” but after thinking a moment, said “that’s not right, it becomes like loose change on the ground. That feels right.” The God of Keys also told Son to stay away from the God of Locks. When Son pressed him for details, all he would say was that the God of Locks is “hard to talk to.”
This dream vividly reminds me of my own brushes with other small gods. Especially the surprising details, which blow through preconceived notions of Who is God of what, and just how the whole God Thing works.
It makes perfect sense, though, that the God of Locks could be a bouncer, tossing out those who didn’t behave well, or belong. That he would be miserly with his words.
Just as a God of Keys could best unlock money and liberate it into circulation by being a thief.
Shakespeare said “the play’s the thing.” Personally, I’d have to say that these otherworldly experiences are the thing. Pleasant or unpleasant, short exchanges or long relationships — we’re changed and enriched by each one.
The next time I get a little extra money, I’ll spend some right away. Because that God of Keys sounds like a fine fellow, and he was nice to my son.
After all … how better to start up an acquaintance with a god than by doing the things he likes, in his name?