The Story of Two and a Half Dreams
As a child my father told me a story which was the start of my spiritual journey. It was the story of two dreams.
My grandfather, Anthony Farah had a strange relationship with the number 5. Everything significant happened in my grandfather’s life on the 5th year. He was born in South Africa in 1905, shortly thereafter returning to his family’s village in Lebanon called Sib’il, he was a Sib’ilenie (man from Sib’il).
In 1925 my grandfather married my grandmother Nora. My grandfather, a stone mason by trade, buried members of my grandmother’s family who died in the plague that swept Lebanon at the time. He did this when others, scared of contracting the plague from the dead bodies, had failed to bury them.
As a gesture of gratitude he was given Nora’s hand in marriage. Shortly after getting married my grandfather had a dream. He dreamt that he was carving his own gravestone. He had his date of birth in 1905 and his date of death in 1945. An angel who was standing behind him, as he did this, told him that the patron saint of the headstone was to be Saint Joseph and he was to carve this into the gravestone.
When he woke from the dream he told his wife and mother-in-law. They were peasants and as such took dreams seriously. In 1935 my grandfather and his young family immigrated to South Africa. In 1945 my grandfather’s youngest son was killed in an accident whilst riding his bicycle, his name was Joseph and he was ten years old at the time of the accident.
So this meant that my grandfather had this dream, which was clearly a premonition of Joseph’s premature death, prior to Joseph even being born!
A Second Dream
The story didn’t end there. Years later my father’s brother Francis travelled to America for an arranged marriage. The marriage did not work out and my Uncle Francis ended up stranded in America and unable to raise the fare for the return journey to South Africa. He contacted my father in desperation asking him to try and raise the money for his air fare back.
My father had a dream in which Joseph appeared and spoke to him. Joseph told my father he should place a bet on a horse, running at the race meeting that Saturday, called Prince Bertrand. My father checked the race card the following day and found that sure enough there was a horse by that name, owned by the Oppenheimers, running at the meeting. The only fly in the ointment though was that the horse was fifty to one outsider, in other words a no-hoper.
Still trusting his dream my father stole 3 pounds out of the family shop till and placed it on Prince Bertrand to win. The horse won and my father used the winnings to pay for his brother Francis’ return air fare to South Africa.
When Francis landed at Jan Smuts International airport and disembarked from the plane, he kissed the ground and vowed never to return to America as long as he lived. He kept that promise.
I would frequently question my father about his take on these dreams and my father who was a great rationalist had no explanation, only quoting Hamlet, ‘there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’
Half a Dream
Many, many years later when my father was an old man I visited him one day. As was my habit I asked him on this occasion if he had recently had any dreams he could recall. He said not, only that every time he closed his eyes he could see Joseph’s face. He told me that he felt this was a premonition of sorts and he decided to buy a lottery ticket. He said that if he won the lottery he would finally concede that miracles do exist. He didn’t win the lottery but died quite unexpectedly, and suddenly, three days later.
Joseph had in effect come to accompany my father across the threshhold.
So thanks for taking the time to read this story. It is one which has become a personal legend for me, a kind of family dream mythology. I believe it suggests quite clearly that we access a realm of knowledge in the dream state which cannot be explained in current, rational, scientific terms. I think that paying careful attention to this dream life imbues our lives with a meaning and a sense of the divine which enriches and expands our lives.
Please share your comments or even better a dream experience which was particularly meaningful for you.