A CURIOUS DREAM
All Original Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
This letter to my friend in Florida, Cyndy Stevens, was written a few days later, ten years ago.
I had a curious dream, the other night that I will relate to you in writing. Of course, it is a given, that, after 3 gins, the night before, at 6 AM the following morning, I had to "go Toilet" [as my friend Dewey's sister-in-law calls it].
Most likely, because of that, I dreamt that I was in the spacious hallway of a big commercial building, with thousands of people milling around. I guess it was Toy Fair, and I was looking for some place to wee-wee. The bathrooms were ridiculously crowded, and the possibility of urinating in a public drinking fountain that I spied, nearby, occurred to me. But I thought better of it, and resigned myself to waiting in line to use the men's room. With so many people ahead of me, I couldn't judge how far away the urinals might be. Meanwhile, I was reading a brochure that was accordion folded out of a single piece of glossy paper. It was like an insurance company hand-out, or the kind of semi-technical ad one can pick up in a doctors office. The subject was “The Dangers of a Ruptured Bladder”.
It was rather interesting, full of information that I did not know, and found rather surprising. "It is a curious fact that the reason most men have a feeling that they need to urinate so often, is due to the fact that they actually urinate so seldom.” - “A partially full Bladder can never rupture, while a full one can.”- "When ones bladder is full, even something as simple as a slap on the back can cause a rupture." And so it went; I read on and on, and while I was reading it, I woke up. Yet I continued to read. The words, quite technical, at times, continued, to appear, until they became more difficult to see, and slowly faded away. This is so like writing; where do the words flow from?
I got up and staggered to the bathroom; then got back into bed. Then, Eunice woke up, and I told her that as it would be light soon, I thought I would get dressed. While I continued to mull this over, and was trying to make up my mind, Eunice got up and went to the bathroom, and then, returned to bed again. She was cold. Her hands were like ice; so she snuggled up and rested her head on my shoulder, and we both began to doze.
Soon, I could tell from her breathing that Eunice had fallen asleep. And I might soon have followed, if not for a strange occurrence. Gradually, even through my closed eyelids, I could see, a bright light, growing ever brighter in the corner of the room below. It was as if sunlight were streaming through the tall window, although, it was still pitch black outdoors. Brighter than mere sunlight, it was as bright, as if, the sun itself, or a small piece of it, were right there in the room. At first, with my eyes closed, it appeared reddish, but became brighter and more the color of bright yellow sunlight, compelling me to open my eyes. I opened them quite slowly, squinting to allow them to become accustom to the blinding light. The full intensity, of which, was shielded by the waist high wall that surrounds the raised area on which we sleep. The light poured over the edge of this wall, like the sun, rising from behind a range of mountains.
Once my eyes were fully open, the light began to move slowly up the stairs. As it floated closer, I could make out the vague outlines of a figure, and see that this elusive vision, which continued to grow clearer, was made up of a multitude of glowing crystals, swirling slivers of illumination, suspended in midair, like glittering particles in a newly shaken snow globe. The points of light gathered together to form the essence of a human being, clothed in flowing robes of radiance. This awe-inspiring apparition continued to advance towards me, until it stood above me at the foot of the bed, filling my entire field of vision with glorious white light. I knew, intuitively, that it was Jesus! A feeling of great peace and happiness swept over me. Then, I calmly closed my eyes and fell asleep.
I awoke two hours later, in exactly the same position, with the thought and memory of the apparition still foremost in my mind. For some reason, I felt too embarrassed to tell Eunice.
I was still thinking about what I saw, as I was getting dressed and putting on my shoes and socks, while Spooky tried, as usual, to engage me in a game with them. I looked up to see where the sunlight I saw first would have been, and realized it was, essentially, in the same place as the Christmas tree, which I had forgotten was still standing in the corner of the room.
What does it mean? Sapphire Gin, I guess.
In the days that followed, I have often thought about my "dream" of Jesus. There are some subtle, but unusual, aspects to it. And the more I think about the "dream," the more differences I detect, between it and any other dream I can recall. One being, that I am accustomed to a dream ending by my waking up, not by peacefully closing my eyes and sleeping. In this case, sleep ended the dream. I was awake in the beginning.
Secondly, and this is subtle, but unusual; the most intriguing thing about my dreams is the other world that has been built there, whole towns, in which I know the shops, and roads I often travel, houses, apartments, where I live, and, to which, I sometimes, return. It is a world where things exist and change, as they do in the real world. Shops that had great stuff, years ago, no longer, get the great things that they used to, but they still get stuff that’s good enough, and I still visit them, when I dream I’m in that town again. But no place in my Dream World is like the real world. When I was a kid, I dreamt about the house I lived in, but never as an adult.
If this was, indeed, a dream, the transition from the waking world to the world of dreams was undetectable and seamless. Nothing changed! I was in the same room, the same bed, my head was in the same position, and Eunice was still resting hers on my shoulder. I had been wide awake and discussing getting up, a minute before. Then, aware that Eunice had fallen asleep again, I changed my mind, scooted down, and closed my eyes. And, no more than 30 seconds, later, I became aware of the bright light in the room below, opened my eyes again, and saw the glowing figure ascend the stairs and approach the bed.
And rather than being startled or surprised, I just felt peaceful, and saying to myself, “That is Jesus!” closed my eyes and went to sleep. I woke up nearly two hours later, still in the identical position. Once again, nothing had changed, except that it was morning.
Throughout the day, I never spoke of this to Eunice, I am not sure why. I believe I felt embarrassed about it, as she had often expressed her conviction that religion might be BS. And to some degree I secretly feared the same, but would never allow myself to fully embrace that thought, as to do so would amount to a commitment, and thus, all other options would be closed.
That night, I found myself in bed, earlier than usual, early enough for Eunice to still be awake. Once again, she was snuggled up, her head on my shoulder. I thought about telling her of my dream. I could not let the words escape my lips, for fear of something, perhaps, that I would laugh or cry. But I knew that I wanted to tell her. I also knew that with every minute I delayed, she would be more inclined to fall asleep, and so the moment of temptation to speak would be gone forever. Weeks after the fact, the telling would ring false, and lose the immediacy and credibility that events that took place, earlier the same day, would convey.
So, I tried again, and began the sentence, at least, twenty times unable to say it, time and time again. Finally, I did: "Honey, I had a very strange dream, this morning, at least I thought it was a dream. Remember when we were lying here at 6 AM or so and you fell back to sleep again? etc." And I told it in as matter of fact way, as I could. I wanted to know what she might think, and I didn't want to convey the impression that I was selling any point of view, for, in truth, I did not have one.
To my surprise, Eunice listened to what I said with great interest, and not the slightest hint of incredulity or ridicule. She said that I had “Seen the Light". And she wished that she had seen it, too. We talked about it, a long time. And then, we talked about the ghost cat, which had made a believer of her. The incident had occurred to me twice, there on that same staircase, leading up to the bed. She viewed it with sarcasm, disbelief and ridicule, until, much to my delight; she met the ghost cat for herself, one night, and changed her mind. Suddenly, she became a believer. And now, perhaps, because of that, she viewed my vision with respect. I said I thought it must have been a dream, induced by Bombay Gin. Eunice amazed me by indicating that she could believe otherwise.
Last night I spoke of this to Dewey, and he amazed me, too, as he can really get into a rant about how ridiculous religion is. But he treated my little tale with uncharacteristic interest and respect. I said to him, "I think that I shall tell Cyndy about this. She is very wise in such matters. She walks a fine line between belief and reason, and lives in a world, in which neither seems out of place. And so, dear Cyndy, I am telling you. For the most part, I believe it was a dream. But, then again, I am aware that Cold Reality reappears, each day, to cloak our minor miracles in ridicule and disbelief. It tries to snuff out the little sparks of Magic in our lives, until we feel ourselves ridiculous to believe.
That was the letter; and, now, it is more than ten years later. Cyndy, of course, believed that what I saw was more than just a dream, and expressed a touch of envy, wishing she, too, could have seen Jesus. But, as she is convinced that she will, eventually, meet him face to face, for her, it’s just a matter of having the faith and patience to wait. She also believes the World is approaching the End of Days. Therefore, her wait may not be a long one. I, also, don’t have long to wait, until the end of my days, anyway. I trust that will take place, without the whole World going with me.
Cyndy and I still correspond, and she continues to remind me, in a gentle way that my dream vision of Christ should have been enough to change my life. Alas, it did not. I am still the same old semi-Jewish sinner I have always been. And, to my lifelong collection of guilt inducing transgressions, I can now add one more, the fact that I didn’t take the hint, and instantly become a Christian, overnight. Nonetheless, I am aware that whole religions have been formed on dreams, no more powerful than mine.
Meanwhile, I have never forgotten the image of a million swirling particles of light. It has burned itself into my mind. I have only to close my eyes to conjure it up again, and marvel at its originality. The vision was so unlike anything I had ever seen, or imagined, before, or since. Over the years, I have seen thousands of images of Christ, dating from antiquity to the present time, and none has been even remotely like this. I don’t know why I felt so certain it was him.