Lion

This lion’s name is Alfonso. Is he friendly or fearsome?

In the dream my husband, Burt, lies trapped on his back in a ditch and a lion pats his face and fits its jaw over his head. Burt thrashes awake, yelling about a lion.

I ask, “Did you think he’d hurt you?”

“Yes! He wouldn’t leave me alone!”

“Maybe like he’s gentle, like Aslan. You should name him.”

“OK — Alfonso. But that was scary!”

The dream made no sense to Burt until later. Meanwhile, a few friends heard about the lion and sent emails.

• • •

• “Just happy that that cat didn’t devour Burt before he awoke :)…”

• “Well, I missed altogether your naming Aslan … not understanding why you would reference ‘Asian’ — as my out-of-date prescription/early morning eyes saw it. It wasn’t until (wife) recognized it for what it was and where the name was from that I was set straight!”

• “Lions in dreams pawing at your face is much safer than being at Okavango Delta in a tent and having a lion pawing at you…. The Okavango Delta reference was a fiction, as I’ve never been there, or haven’t yet, but here is a Tanzania motif. We had the Moss Tent flagship tent, made to order, for our family in Tanzania days. It was an Arabian Nights design with peaks and curves and low stretched white canvas. We lived in its spaciousness when we were out in the nowhere of animal world. The dark nights under the stars always carried the sonorous, impossibly deep, roars of hunting lions, sometimes uncomfortably close to our tent. Lion roar’s timbre and pitch, deep and sonorous, effectively disarming prey with fear and submission. The effect kicked in; my thoughts invariably ran to: those claws that can easily tear this tent, and here lies sleeping a bountiful meal of delicious human flesh…. I heard the answering roars as a conversation planning the raid on the white tent and could only escape the fear that was building upon itself by willing myself to sleep. The last thought being: well, if we get attacked by lions, that will be the way it all ends…. We always woke up the next morning, sometimes finding lion prints right outside the tent, or very close. One year (husband) picked up the advice that circling the tent area with pee around the perimeter would mark a no go area, lions would respect the alpha male smell … and often we would keep a bonfire going all night as well….”

• “Wow!!! I can relate to a lion roaming the hallways of the hospital looking for me! Sooooo scary!!! After being in the hospital for two and a half months, having undergone brain surgery, I returned home paralyzed down my right side. Only two days at home, my fever spiked to 103 … had to return to the hospital. Unlike the first time when the doctors and nurses became like family with loving care and daily encouragement, I was placed on a unit where I was treated like no one cared and seemed angry if I rang the bed bell to ask for water. The warm and protective covering was not there as on my previous stay. The spirit of the room was cold and dark. Drifting off to a sleep yet not sleeping, I saw in the spirit a large hungry wild lion patting down the halls of the hospital looking for me to destroy me. It was as if he was looking in each room getting angrier as he failed to smell my scent. The fear I felt was paralyzing. When I rang my bed bell, the nurse would shout into the microphone that I had to wait because she was busy. The fear mounted to the point I wet myself. I felt the lion’s heat and breath, knowing he was close. I cried out, ‘Lord, come to me as you did before!' Suddenly the room filled up with a supernatural peace as if a warm blanket was placed over me. The roaring lion passed by the door yet could not see me! … (I got chills as I recalled that vision.) Tell Burt that lion has no teeth and arthritis in all its legs and sucks its paw to go to sleep! Ha-ha-ha-ha! That picture in his mind will make the lion powerless!”

• “Your mention of Burt’s lion dream made me remember a dream I had years ago of being in a narrow walkway/hallway with a stairwell leading upward. I was on the steps when a large lion brushed against my back, and I still remember the warmth I felt (not fear) as it he brushed by. I had forgotten all about that one! Thanks for the memory!”

• • •

At my request, Burt wrote about the lion dream:

“Lion paws patting my head — pit pat, back and forth, the lion’s mouth open, ready … and then yelling, me yelling loud enough to wake me and Ruthie. What was that about? Not a clue for a week. Then the jolt to a previous dream, not mine, but one I interrupted. I was accompanying a WV (World Vision) doctor to Akosombo, in Ghana, the largest land dam in Africa. After stops at several medical and feeding stations, my host asked if I would accompany him to a local hospital to visit his brother, dying of cancer. When we entered his brother’s hospital room, his brother was sleeping. Then suddenly he sat straight up, looked at me directly, called my name, ‘Mr. Burton,’ and shouted, ‘I’ve been waiting for you! I dreamed about you! You’re not doing what God told you to do! Do it!’ He flopped down on his back, looked at me, and slept.”

• • •

“You’d never met him?”

“No!”

“Did you know what he meant?”

Burt nodded and stayed quiet. Even now, the topic was private.

“Um, how does the lion fit in?”

“He was reminding me what the man screamed at me.”

“The lion gave you the same message?”

“More or less.”

“Which was… ?”

His secret secure with a stranger who knew his name and a dream lion who patted his head, Burt quoted the lion: “‘Pay attention! Wake up!’”

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