The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.
Dream Eater Merry takes place in the real world and the dream world. The dream world is inhabited by dream demons who come over to the real world by using humans as vessels while they visit the world during their sleep or by opening up a daydream.
Once a dream demon takes a vessel, they cannot return to the dream world and the human cannot be separated from them without dire consequences. This is because dream demons don’t just enter the dreams that humans experience each night but into the dreams they have about their lives, their jobs, their relationships, their future, etc. The dream demon connects to this part of the human and rests in that power.
The strength to move forward, the courage to weave feelings, the hope to connect feelings, the passion to move feelings and the power to accomplish. It is the strongest and the brightest place in the heart but it’s also a place you can easily get lost. Dream demons love to live there.
Once the dream demon is killed, the part that they resided in is taken too, leaving the human alive but dead at the same time. The human lives on but they kind of just go through the motions of their life, drifting aimlessly without the motivation to accomplish anything.
Merry, as a dream demon herself, and Yumeji, with his special ability related to dreams, can enter into the daydreams a dream demon opens up. Throughout much of the anime, they and their allies chase a particular dream creature named Mistltein, a special dream demon born “between nightmares” where humans dump their negativity while in the dream world. She takes great pleasure in finding dream demons connected to humans and killing them.
While battling Mistltein, Chizuru and her dream demon Leon try to kill her with a special gun. The bullet of the gun could only be formed from the agony and pain collected from defeated dream demons and the pieces of broken dreams. Even though Leon sacrifice himself to form the final part of the bullet and Chizuru sacrifices her whole heart to fire the gun, the bullet had little effect.
There’s no way stuff like that could have any effect on me! You thought you could kill me with that right? You’re so stupid!
Mistltein could not be conquered with a bullet made from the agony and despair of broken dreams because she was born from negativity and hopelessness.
Despite containing the power of many broken dreams and breaking Chizuru’s heart completely, the attack was ineffective.
It was not until Yumeji began to believe in his discovered dream that he was able to drive back Mistltein. It took not only the power of a dream and a vision but the belief that the dream could be realized. Pieces of a broken dream were not enough. What was needed was also a faith that those dreams could be accomplished which could withstand resistance.
To be powerful in the dream world you need something to be passionate about and a strong belief that you could accomplish the goals connected to what you are passionate about. Just like so often in the real world, much of the power of an individual comes from the strength of their vision and their belief in their vision.
Yumeji’s dream happened to be not giving up on whatever he set his mind to, which helped him considerably. If your passion is to persevere no matter what in a place where power comes from a passion and relentless faith in that passion, you become nearly invincible.
I won’t procrastinate any more, I won’t doubt anymore. Your strength in the dream world is the strength of your feelings.
Kind of similar to what is needed in the faith world. No matter what we want to do, without faith we can’t stand against what wants to destroy us. The difference is the power of our faith rests not in believing in ourselves but having faith in what God can do.
Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, be taken up and cast into the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Mark 5:22-24
But, if we don’t have this faith, we become almost powerless.
During the battle with Mistltein, the most powerful attack she uses is called the “Bud of Despair”. Inside the bud, you are attacked by your own doubts until you lose hope and fall into despair. It is particularly effective in the dream world where if you feel hopeless and believe you have no power you become hopeless without any power.
I’ve let myself retract into my own Bud of Despair more times than I can count. I have so many things that I want to do in my faith walk. I want people to know what Christ has done in my life, I want to offer them a place where their souls can heal and rest, I want the good that I see in my small group and in the people at my church to be shown to other people. I want these things, I have these desires, but often when I try to accomplish these goals, my doubts and fears fail me before I begin.
So often I look at my own finite skills and glaring flaws and I am overtaken enough to disbelieve that the God who made all of creation can do a work though me. I either go at something with half a heart or desire not to do it at all. If I don’t act like Yumeji and stand up in he face of that nagging doubt and ever looming despair, I am doomed to live like those humans with defeated dream demons. Going through the motions, never reaching out, defeated before I begin. Yumeji understood the importance of perseverance and the power that comes from a strong faith. He uses that faith to form a weapon that can defeat Misteltein.
No weapon can break this sword as long as I believe so from the bottom of my heart.
Thankfully, even though despair has defeated me again and again, I still have a chance. In the anime, even Chizuru still had hope.
Merry: I wonder what’s going to happen to Chizuru. Will she be that way forever?
Yumeji: Both her dreams and her heart were destroyed, but I’m sure she can try again. Because humans are capable of having dreams over and over again.
Fortunately it is never too late and past failures don’t determine the future. Mercies are new every morning, and each day I have the chance to try again and put my faith steadfastly in God this time.