A week ago I woke to incoming texts from a friend, “Are you up?” I responded, “Yes”, and in a moment she called.
She had had a dream in the night. In it, she heard a speeding car and then a crash. She believed it had really happened, so she took note of the time (2:42), fought the urge to fall back to sleep, and made herself get out of bed.
Because, in her words, “I had to go find it. You can’t call 911 and say, ‘I had a dream there was a crash’.
Her husband woke to my friend getting dressed to go out. “What’s up?” he asked, and after hearing her dream, said, “You’re going”, not to question her judgment, but as a statement of fact. He too, got out of the warm bed in the dead of night, dressed, and grabbed his high-powered flashlight.
To help her search. For a crash. That happened in a dream.
Their progress was slow. My friend scanned from the passenger side of their car with her phone flashlight, her husband scanned his side with his powerful light. They continued through their town into the country, searching ditches and fields. They passed home after home where people slept, not letting the fact that no one else had heard anything deter them.
Just after 3 a.m., they rounded a curve and found it: scattered car parts. And finally, deep in a ditch, a mangled car.
My friend’s husband called 911 (because now they could), and they approached the car, expecting the worse. They found all the airbags deployed, and … no body. While he stayed on the phone with 911, my friend walked to a nearby field as if she expected to find someone there. She called out to the darkness, “We’re here to help you.”
“We’re here to help you.”
Out of the darkness, slowly, a young man emerged. Bleeding from his head, holding an injured shoulder. Saying, from a distance, “I have to go. I gotta go”, and he poised to flee again.
“Think of me as your mom,” she called, and he stopped. “Is there anyone else with you?”
No. He’d dropped his girlfriend off at her home before it happened. “I’m going to be in so much trouble. I’m going to lose my job.” Again, “I’ve gotta go.”
My friend persisted. “Your mom will be so glad that you are alive. Your girlfriend wasn’t hurt, nobody else was hurt. It will be hard ahead, it will suck. But you can do it. It will be hard but you will get past it, you will be fine.” As she relived the details, I could hear the love in her voice for the young man.
He obviously heard it, too. He ended up in her arms, and she held him. He reeked of alcohol. It didn’t change anything for her.
He went with her to the crash site, and put up no resistance when the police took him into custody.
I wonder if he remembers the night at all — maybe he was too drunk and blacked out. Maybe he thinks he dreamed about a wonderful, loving, woman who found him in a field in the middle of the night. Maybe he realizes he could have died if he’d passed out in that frozen remote field, so many hours from daylight and visibility. Maybe he thinks an angel arrived to help him. I don’t know, but I believe he remembers the important things my friend imbued: that he matters; that he can take the high road and face the consequences of his actions; that he can get past it; that there is plenty of hope for a good future.
I believe this too: That something extraordinary happened that night.
Because she had a dream and believed it was real.
And because her husband believed her.