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The Wolf of Tebron ~ Dreaming

Now that the first book in The Gates of Heaven series has been released, I've been asked many questions about the themes, quotations, and allegory contained within The Wolf of Tebron. As with all my novels, I start with theme, and this book lent itself in plot and storyline to the theme of dreaming. Why dreaming? I drifted into this idea on many levels. Mostly, I needed a vehicle by which Joran would have to tackle his quest--the rescue of his wife. I'm not sure exactly how the concept of dreaming filtered into my subconscious, but I have often thought of how our lives resemble a dream. How we sleepwalk through this life unaware of our true life in Christ, the real life God has planned for us from the beginning of time. We have been dreamed up, as Ruyah the wolf tells Joran in the book, by the One who creates all things by way of his dreaming. God imagines--and things come into existence.

Joran's wife, Charris, is trapped in a dream that is manifested and upheld by Joran's anger. Joran is unaware that he is responsible for his wife's captivity, and the only way he can save her is by entering his dream to rescue her from the clutches of the Moon, who has her trapped in a sand castle overhanging the sea. Joran, though, cannot enter this place of rescue--his dream--until he has mastered his anger. He has to accomplish other things as well, but I don't want to spoil the story here. As I researched famous quotes by poets and thinkers, I came across one stark and powerful line from the psychologist Carl Jung: "Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." This tied in nicely with the key phrase of Chesterton's that spurred me on: "The center of man's existence is a dream."

We are not only dreamed up by our Creator, but we are also filled with dreams. Not just the dreams we randomly experience at night but the big dreams of our soul--the dreams God puts in us--or as our pastor so aptly put--God doesn't give us a dream; he puts us inside HIS dream. He calls us in to share and fulfill the dream he already has for us. We are part of his larger dream for all mankind. In this way, Chesterton's words ring out to me. As Joran reflected--not just the center of his existence felt a dream--every bit of his life did as well. It was only, in the end, when he stopped looking outside for direction, answers, and clarity did he finally "awaken." He looked "inside" and faced the truth of who he was in relation to the truth of his existence. We, too, "wake up" when God opens our eyes to truth and shows us who we are in him.

It is like being shaken awake. And often it is more like having a bucket of cold water dumped on our heads. We learn through Joran's journey that we can be both the dreamer and the dreamed. And that is our true path in life--to recognize this fact and embrace it. Joran does, and he finds the true happiness he sought--happiness that can only come when one is awakened on the inside.

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