Right after my stroke, I stopped dreaming, with one exception. As it turns out, I am not the only stroke survivor to experience this no-dream state. It even has a name: the Charcot-Wilbrand Syndrome.
The one exception I experienced occurred the night I finished reading The Da Vinci Code at the end of my stay in the rehab hospital. At that time, I could not stand or even walk on a walker.
In the dream, I joined many of the characters in the book as they walked down a starlit lane. All at once, I realized that I was walking next to the Virgin Mary. The minute I had this realization, she took my left elbow and said, "Come. Let's walk."
And, in the dream, we did.
Did I wake up able to walk? No. But at the time I was due to hit another plateau. After this dream, I skipped the plateau -- where my improvement through therapy might falter or stop -- a miracle to me for sure.
Then, last night I fell to sleep with an audiobook droning in the background: The New Testament, narrated by Buck Ford.
In the narration, Christ told his disciples over and over, "Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me."
The audiobook lulled me to sleep and dropped me into a dream -- I was a little child, and there was Jesus up on the side of a grassy slope. He seemed to see me at the same time I saw him. He stretched his arms out wide. I began to run toward him on little three-year-old legs that felt the joy of movement as they churned up the hill.
I woke up before I reached those out-stretched arms. The physical joy of the run still lingered in the muscle memory of my legs.
Did I jump out of bed and start running?
No. The dream itself was the gift of a miracle. I will cling fast to that muscle memory and carry it with me in the upcoming days.
Then . . . we will see what comes.