I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a Rolls tumbled into my driveway
By Brian Knowles
MONROVIA, Calif.--This morning I woke up in the middle of a dream. In my dream an anonymous person had given my wife and me a cream-colored Rolls-Royce.
There it was, sitting in our driveway in all of its glory. Some of the outer parts were still covered with masking tape and paper. It hadn't yet been detailed.
I looked closely at the model name: Corniche. I'm reasonably sure there is a model of Rolls-Royce by that name, and that's what I read on my dream car. The name was just above the back left bumper.
As I looked around me, I realized the house where the Rolls had been parked was not the one I'm living in now. It was a much larger, much older house.
As I tried to determine where the Rolls had come from and why I had it, the neighbors started to drift over, driven by curiosity. What was a nice car like that doing in a neighborhood like this?
They walked around it, touched it, felt its textures, made little approving sounds.
I was baffled. When my wife arose I told her about the dream. She'd had a bunch of her own that night, none of them involving Rolls-Royces. We compared dreams, and then we started talking about Rolls-Royces.
I told her that when I was young I had had the thought that it might be a good idea to buy one good hand-made car and keep it a lifetime, rather than spend money on regular assembly-line cars that would last only a few years.
Turned out she'd had the same thought earlier in life. At the time I had that thought a Rolls was selling for around $10,000, and I was earning just over $3,000 a year before taxes. For most of us, Rolls Royces are simply well beyond reach, as are BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes and Ferraris.
By way of comparison, in 1972 Life magazine ran a full-page ad for a Volkswagen Beetle that sold for about $1,750.
The Rolls embarrassment
Some years ago I suffered an embarrassment involving a Rolls-Royce. I was working as a freelance business writer. I had rented a studio in a grungy part of Duarte, Calif. Next door was a florist.
I needed the studio because my small apartment provided no work space. The studio was really simply a large room with a painted over-store front window. It was a quiet place to work: to paint and write. It had no phone but lots of room.
At that time, I did a lot of work for Atlantic Richfield Co. My client there also did some freelance work. At one point he was unable to do a project for that client, so he gave me the job.
Whenever I visited a client I made sure I was dressed to the nines, and that no one ever saw the car I drove. For all they knew I might've had an office in the Wilshire district.
In any event, I finished the job I was doing for my client's client, and I was going to deliver it to downtown Los Angeles the next day.
The client, however, was impatient. He wanted it now. He sent his driver out to my studio address to pick it up.
I wasn't expecting him. A knock came on my studio door. I wondered, Who could that be?
Dressed in my shorts and tank shirt, my beard untrimmed, I opened the door and was confronted with a uniformed chauffeur. Behind him, parked in front of the studio storefront, was a shiny black Rolls-Royce Limo.
The chauffeur gave me a look of regal disdain and asked for the work I had done.
I said, "Wait there!" and rushed in to get it.
I didn't want him coming into my workspace, which was typically in chaos. I put the documents in a manila envelope, along with a bill and some business cards, and sent the chauffeur on his way. I believe he was glad to leave. I speculated on what he might report to his boss when he arrived at the L.A. skyscraper and its penthouse suite.
What's in a dream?
Come to think of it, my dream of the cream-colored Rolls might have been a reformatting of that old experience. I'm sure the dream was not prophetic. It was just a garden-variety dream in which I reprocessed some old images and experiences to form a new picture.
Dreams are the product of mind, and mind emanates from the meat of the brain. All of the data we have ever taken in throughout our lives are in there, in the meat. The subconscious mind restlessly works with those data, regurgitating them in the form of ideas and sometimes dreams that bubble up from the subconscious.
Some of the most brilliant and helpful ideas in human experience have been born of these processes. So too have some of the most evil ones.
So what did I learn from my Rolls-Royce dream? A few things:
First, we must be prepared for unexpected blessings. God loves His children. We never know when God will pour out a blessing on us.
Didn't James write, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow turning"? (James 1:17).
God loves to bless and give gifts to His children. The gifts God gives may be spiritual, or they may be material. The question is, are we ready to receive them once they come?
If God blessed us in some unexpected way, could we handle it? And do we expect to be blessed? Would we be appropriately grateful if we were so blessed?
Second, it might be wise to adopt the old Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared." We never know who will show up on our doorstep. Sometimes representatives of the upper crust condescend to men of low estate.
Third, the greatest material and spiritual gifts require vigilant maintenance.
In my dream I wondered how I would ever be able to protect and maintain the cream-colored Rolls in my driveway. How would I afford the servicing of such a car? Where would I park it when I went to the post office or the 7-11? A car like that comes with a lot of baggage.
These thoughts gave rise to another lesson that is expressed in the words of Jesus: "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things . . ." (Matthew 25:23).
Whatever we have we must take care of it to the best of our ability. In the material sense we may not have much, but what we have requires a sense of responsibility and stewardship on our part.
I must take care of my 1999 minivan with the same painstaking zeal with which I would maintain a Rolls-Royce if I owned one.
The dream, in other words, has given me an impetus for repentance. I realize that I need to be a much better steward over the supposedly little that God has blessed us with. I use the term comparatively. In reality, God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve.
Unlike millions of people in the rest of the world, Lorraine and I have a solid roof over our heads, heating and air conditioning, food on the table, a 1999 minivan that works and a nice big yard to plant a garden in. We are able to pay our bills, and my wife has medical coverage. We are blessed!
But blessings are like muscles. If you don't maintain them, you lose them.
I don't expect to be driving a Rolls-Royce anytime soon. Besides, I'd prefer a Lexus or an Infiniti.
But in dreaming about that Rolls I did get a wake-up call about the quality of my own stewardship over the blessings I have.
Rolls-Royces are a symbol of quality, dignity and class. Typically they are part of a larger universe of wealth and excellence.
A Rolls in my driveway would be incongruous. A well-maintained minivan would not.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God