Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Red Luxury Sedan

This morning a coworker entered my office, surrounded by an aura of mild excitement and confusion. She informed me that I played a character in her dream last night. In the dream, I married someone and was gifted a brand new, red, luxury sedan. Whom I wed and the provider of the gift were unknown. Contradicting an expected response to such a gift, I became upset with the gift as I realized that it was glamorized with several amenities and options. I deemed the options unnecessary and wasteful, and therefore did not appreciate them. I believed that the simpler, less luxurious options would suffice for my purposes, and I would appreciate them much more. I rejected the amenities by immediately returning the car to the dealership and demanding that the options be removed. I did not need them. The dealership employees were a bit confused by my demeanor and lack of appreciation, baffled that I wouldn’t accept the original vehicle design. Through their perception, I was insane. Though in awe of my behavior, the employees adhered to my request, changing the electric locks and windows to manual locks and windows, removing the remote starter, and modifying anything else they could to minimize the vehicle’s lavish attributes. The outcome of these modifications was disastrous. Many problems resulted from these changes, and the car no longer functioned the way it was intended to function. Here ends the dream.

Following the explanation of her dream, my coworker again expressed bewilderment about its content. I was also plagued with confusion: I have been married for 8 years, I don’t have a red car, and we had not previously discussed the topics presented in her dream.

As I pondered for a moment and expanded my awareness of the dream’s content, I began to identify deeper meaning. I shared with her that I consider myself a rather simple person, and I believe that this world is congested with an abundance of material amenities that are not required for our well being. I continued by suggesting that her sharing of the dream may be a message to me that I must accept what "is" and not dwell on the unnecessary material luxuries that surround us every day. If they are given to me, I must accept them and use them for their intended purposes. Although they are not necessary, if I reject the material amenities that are given to me, I may cause more harm than good. This, I believed to be a valuable lesson in the acceptance of what "is", even if I think what "is" is more than what I want.

Following this interpretation, my awareness of the dream’s content deepened even further. I began to see even more meaning in the message, a meaning that extends far beyond the realm of tangible amenities. Though the material interpretation yielded an acceptable explanation, the following intangible interpretation speaks to a greater truth.

I was unable to identify the marriage component in the material interpretation, but now recognize the marriage as a symbol of the strengthened relationship between God and me. I feel closer to God than I have in the past. As a consequence of the strengthened relationship, I have become more aware of the gifts, the intangible amenities, that God has given to me. My awareness of personal talents and purposes for those talents has recently improved.

Though I believe that I am more aware of these gifts, the conveyance of this dream might be a message to me that I am rejecting these gifts by not using them to their full potential or for their intended purpose. I have identified some of these newfound gifts (options) and, just as with the car, know that many more exist. However, I may be expressing a lack of appreciation by not fully accepting them and using them as God has planned. Not using them is comparable to demanding that the auto dealership strip the amenities from the car so it can return to a perceived simpler condition.

By not using the gifts that God has given to us, we are demanding that he change us into another being. Just as with the car example, detriment to our being will result: We will substantially limit our physical, mental, and most importantly, spiritual potential. The addition of more amenities increases levels of responsibility, such as requirements for more knowledge of amenity functionality and more accountability for amenity preservation. With material things, we may determine that we don’t want an abundance of amenities because we don’t want the responsibilities that accompany them. The same truth can exist with our intangible amenities, our personalized gifts and talents from God. By becoming aware of our gifts, our talents, our strengths, we are granted increased levels of responsibility relative to knowledge of how to use our gifts and accountability to ourselves and God for preserving and developing our gifts.

When we want fewer responsibilities, we sometimes reject the gifts that are available for us, inaccurately perceiving that life will be easier. We must accept the gifts we are given and use them for their intended purposes. You can appreciate the red luxury sedan when it is given to you. Accept the options and use them. They were given to you for a reason. Simple living results not from a reduction in the quantity of amenities, but through acceptance and intended utilization of the amenities that we are given. Simply stated, the simple life can be had even if we have it all.