Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I've never been much of a man of faith. You can call me cynical or possibly pessimistic. I've never believed in the pot at the end of the rainbow. Some of my earliest recollections involve me thinking that the idea of God would be a great thing, but the logistics of it prevented me from buying it. I've gone from outright atheist to possibly agnostic to I-don't-know-what-to-think.
The older you get, the more you tend to question your convictions, I think. Especially if those convictions are fatalistic.
I put a lot of stock in dreams. I am a person that dreams a lot and often they have a lot of personal meaning to me. My brother died a couple of years ago and a week doesn't go by without me having a dream with him in it. Often the dreams are painful, but sometimes they are joyous. Once I dreamed of Heaven.
This was a number of years ago. Maybe three, but possibly four. I didn't keep track of the actual date, but I've never forgotten this vivid dream.
In it, I found myself walking in an enormous mansion. It was huge and it had inner walls, but no outside walls that I could see. So I could see for a long, long way. In the dream I was younger than I was at the time I had it. I was lighter and my knees didn't hurt.
Everywhere I looked I saw knots of people. In crowds and seated at tables. There were so many things going on--plays, films, musical acts. More than I could take in. On and on, up to and past the horizon of the beautiful day that was outside.
I walked along this mansion, seeing wonders. I remember stopping in front of a puppet show that a half a dozen or so people were watching. In was funny, but not my particular thing. Walking on, I came to an area where there were displays of food behind glass. It was the best-looking food I had ever seen and there was an immaculately dressed man there serving it. As always I was worried about whether I could afford anything and I asked the man about prices. The well-dressed man smiled and said, "There's no charge sir. There's never a charge". I didn't feel hungry, but I knew that I would enjoy some of that food. But I chose to wait. There was too much to see and time later to sample things.
Walking on, I turned a corner and went outside the building and on the side of it I saw my wife, Tanya. She looked more beautiful than ever; young, fit, healthy and beaming. We didn't speak, but joined arms and she walked with me. There were people everywhere, most of whom I didn't know. Even though, in a strange way, I felt like I did know them. Everyone smiled and I could feel an overwhelming warmth coming from everywhere.
We came to an area where there were picnic tables and I saw all my old friends at one. They were all laughing and very happy. I felt that all of the things that drove most of us apart were silly and petty. Ridiculous that we had let such small matters ruin the close bond that so many of us had had. I almost joined them, but I thought, Not yet.
At another large table not so far away was a group of people I know from the horror fiction community. Again, everyone seemed happy and warm. Some saw me and waved us over, but I only smiled and waved, giving a gesture that I would be there with them soon. I felt no urgency. Time. Plenty of it. There was so much to see. New friends to make and wonders to marvel at.
One thing that was certain to me, and this seemed very important in the dream. This large gathering had started at exactly the same time for everyone. No one had to wait to see anyone. We were all there together, almost as if we had always been together.
The main feeling I felt from within and from everyone else was enormous relief. It was all over: the worry, the pain, the suffering, the uncertainty. We had made it and everything that had happened to us before was important to the people that were now were. The experiences, the good and the bad, made us what we were.
This is 100% true. I'm not making up or exaggerating a bit of it.
I've thought about this dream a lot over the past few years and I've been thinking about it a lot more lately. I have a birthday this month and I've reached an age where birthdays are no longer a joy, but a reminder of my dwindling mortality. Was this dream a nocturnal form of wishful thinking? Was it a message from my soul? Do we even have souls? Was it a memory of the consciousness from before my birth and a premonition of after my death?
When I visited my brother, dying of cancer, the last thing he said to me was, "I'll see you".