The man who didn’t want to be king

Last night I had a very strange dream. I dreamt about John Paul II. I know that often a dream can be explained, but I didn’t even want to know what this meant. In my dream, the Pope was just sitting in my apartment smoking cigarettes. Just sitting there silently. I was doing my normal stuff. Everything was quite normal (believe me, I’m not mad, I just want to write about my dream). I woke up the next morning and again, I started thinking. Karol Wojtyla became Pope on October 16th 1978. That year, my parents were delighted. Firstly, I was born and then a Polish man moved to the Vatican. All of Poland was singing with happiness. The 70s was a really hard time in our history and because of that, the people were even happier when this event occurred. John Paul II, for a lot of Polish people, was a symbol of hope and freedom. That freedom later came about.  The 80s brought with it peace and prosperity. But what happened to our love of the Polish Pope? What can I say? A few of us watched the weekly Sunday morning transmissions from the Vatican, a programme in Polish called ‘God’s Angel’. I almost forgot, we were also afraid in 1986 when the attempted assassination occurred. It’s a fact. We were with him, watching every news and supporting him in his recovery. Later, things returned to reality and he faded from our minds. But it wasn’t so bad with us. I remember, from my own experience, the Solidarity movement, when the Pope visited our country. In the mid 80s, I was in Sosnowcu for the Papal visit. I am not really a religious person. I even remember a time when I was fighting with God, but what happened with me during this visit really surprised me. I was singing along with all these religious songs which I didn’t know before. I was smiling to strange people and when the Pope just crossed the road a few metres from me, I even started crying and screaming ‘I love you so much’. I remember when I was back home, I was like a different person. I just decided to be really good and helpful to everybody and just see beautiful things. Unfortunately, this magic went away after a few days and everything returned to normal, fighting with my parents etc. His death resulted in a new chapter in Christian life in Poland. People decided to change. I think that everyone of us remember what happened during these days in Poland, crowds on the streets with candles, people crying in the arms of strangers and I remember that even the delinquents took a candle and created a cross with candles in the local football field. People, in public and deep in their souls, promised to be better people. Something happened, I don’t know what, but I know that then, just for a few days, we were some kind of better people. Next year, April 2nd will mark another anniversary of the Pope’s death. On that day I will light a candle in my window, not because his death has made me a super Catholic, just because good people deserve to be remembered and I am ashamed that John Paul II had to come to my dream and remind me of this. PS John Paul II was a person with a big sense of humour. One day some journalist asked him how he was feeling. He said, ‘I don’t know, I didn’t read the papers yet!’