A few weeks ago I was talking about dreams with my cousin, telling her I wasn’t sure what was worse—waking up from a really good dream to realize it’s not real, or waking up from a really bad dream and fearing it might come true.
Last week when she texted me asking “how’s Vancouver?” I messaged her back saying:
Vancouver is like when you go to sleep and see a really great dream and then wake up and realize reality is well beyond better than your dream was.
I had always imagined British Columbia as a dream of sorts. It was my mental happy place without actually having visited. That sort of expectation usually means a disastrous fall nearby.
But there was no falling of that sort—Vancouver was so much better than I imagined, and everything I imagined, but more. It was a place where all dreams seemed to meet and celebrate together. Every day reality became prettier, in big and small things, and it was all true.
I came back from the trip and a day later when a friend mentioned a difficulty she’s been facing for some time now, I reassured her feeling even more hopeful than usual.
We’re programmed to expect the worse—except that we’re not. No one programmed us that way. We think it will help us to keep low expectations but that really only makes us feel worse in the present. I’ve never expected any place to be as good as I’ve expected British Columbia to be. Yet it was better. I even tried to dull it down for myself, but it wouldn’t work.
Seeing Vancouver taught me how wonderful something—anything—can be, so much so that it meets and exceeds even our best expectations. We may have fears, and low expectations, and a perception of what we think reality is or how good it can be, but Allah says: I am as my servant thinks of me.
Allah is greater, Vancouver taught me.