No Ordinary Dream | Sojourners

No Ordinary Dream


BEHIND THE MOVIE Testament, there is a tale that hasn't yet been told. As the author of the short story on which the film was based, I've been interviewed for newspapers, magazines, on television, and radio. Until now there's one aspect of the experience I haven't voiced in public: the role I think God played in the whole sequence.

One morning in January 1969, at 4:00 a.m., I woke from a deep sleep. As my husband, Bob, slept beside me, I had a strange waking dream. For two hours I was at once a participant and an observer. I saw myself, my family, and neighbors in the aftermath immediately following nuclear explosions. Our little town had been spared direct hits. After the first days, we rallied to distribute canned food and bottled water. In time, though, such tactics proved futile. People—many people—began to die.

I've had vivid dreams before and, as a writer, dream-triggered ideas often find their way into my stories. But this was different. For one thing, I was awake. I also felt the conviction that I'd been given this story for a purpose. This was not some convenient plot I might spin out for my own advantage. I felt strongly that the story was intended for communication to a larger audience.

About 6:00 a.m. I wrote a few notes on a pad by the bed. Bob and I got up, and as we dressed, I told him a little about the dream. Then I got breakfast for him and our three children—at the time ranging from 7 to 11 years of age. When all of them were out the door for the day, I sat down at the typewriter.

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