I never listen to audio books, but today I was, and this trusted and beloved storybook character was relaying to me what had been, for them, a very profound experience. A true revelation.
“And then this mysterious Jesus character revealed himself to me,” his voice concluded in a whisper that sounded like it was carrying a secret, “and I was able to see him because I was expecting to see him.”
“Huh. Wouldn’t that be nice,” I murmured to myself, closing my eyes when the familiar voice drew silent. I knew that the chapter had ended, but it didn’t feel like the whole book had.
I would have remained like this – eyes closed, leaning back, contemplating things – but I was moved to open my eyes. I did so and, intuitively looking up, realized that stars were falling from the sky. It was daytime. Two things about this event were strange:
- Stars were plainly visible in the sunlight
- Said stars – which usually remain in fixed places – were falling
Startled, I jumped out of my chair and ran inside the house. Chris was at home, and so was his girlfriend. Were they visiting this home, or was I? I couldn’t tell because I couldn’t remember whose home it was.
“Have a muffin and some coffee; relax,” his girlfriend instructed me immediately when she saw me. Does she know what’s happening outside? Or is she just commenting on my constant state of being in “GO” mode?
Chris followed me upstairs. As I climbed the top step, I looked over and noticed that he had removed my writing desk from my bedroom and placed it back into the sunny nook (the desk had been, in recent months, left unused, and the nook was entirely unoccupied).
Watching dust swirl on laminate hardwood, I told him about what had happened when I was outside; in the story, and to the sky. Always the type to not discredit supernatural happenings, his eyes lit up. “Really??? Man.. want me to tell you about mine?” he asked. I understood this to mean that he had also had a “spiritual” encounter.
I wanted to hear all about it, but time elapsed without me feeling it or watching it happen. The next thing I knew, I was walking back down the stairs, glancing out the window as I did so and discovering – in magical horror – that the sky was cracking and rearranging itself. What appeared to be a flock of birds had formed itself into the trembling shape of a man. I honed in on its face; completely nondescript. Its head turned to the left (what an interesting silhouette!) and I followed the general direction of its gaze. Right there in the clouds, a fuzzy, digital image of a young man (with strikingly beautiful eyes and who was visibly fashioned for war) was beaming down from the sky. It was like a projector was stationed here on earth and the white screen was the sky.
“Is that JESUS?” I breathed.
That dream happened last night, and I’ve been mulling on it all morning. This isn’t the only interesting dream I’ve had recently; last week, I dreamt about a disruptive, trouble-making deer.
It started out in a familiar setting: my living room. You should know that the room has vaulted ceilings that reach about 20 feet in height. I was sitting on the floor in this living room, tilting my head backwards and gazing up at the windows that spanned across the top of the room, when I noticed that, in front of one particular window, a deer was looking in at me. I knew, in my dream, that the earth sort of grows upwards and circles around my home and that the deer was obviously standing on the ground (it wasn’t magically suspended in the air), so while this wasn’t impossible, it was still very unusual and a little shocking, seeing it there.
The deer began pushing itself – its full body weight – against the window. The window didn’t break, but it bowed out, and suddenly, the deer was inside of the house.
That deer needs to get the fuck OUT of here, I decided instantly, pushing myself off of the floor. I love animals (#vegetarian #armtheanimals #allthatjazz), but deer are A. dirty and B. are notorious for carrying Lyme Disease, and I have a fat and clueless German Shepherd to look after and worry about.
As I began running — past doorways, through corridors — I noticed that the house had transformed itself into an intricately-mazed palace. “Fantastic,” I breathed, entering room after room and keeping my eyes open for the misplaced deer. As I flew about, searching the palace, I warned every single person who I came into contact with:
“There’s a deer in here. Don’t let it touch you. We need to get it back outside.”
For some reason, I decided to call my dad. After I finished dialing his number, I blinked, and I was magically inside of a Publix, staring down at a display of blueberry-, apple bran-, and banana nut-flavored muffins. My father had worked as a Publix bakery manager for 20+ years, so this kind of made sense.
“Dad,” I began as soon as his voice appeared on the other end of the line, “there is a deer in the house.”
“I’m busy right now, Rose,” he replied quickly but kindly, sounding unbelievably unbothered by the fact that a wild animal was randomly causing a ruckus in the home, “but my shift will be over in a few hours.” Click.
So I called my mom. Relayed the same breaking news.
“It sounds like you’re worrying about something that doesn’t concern you,” she remarked quietly.
And that’s where the dream abruptly ended. It sounds like you’re worrying about something that doesn’t concern you; how interesting.
And right after the tragic shooting in Orlando, I had this dream — the last one I’ll be relaying today.
I was walking in a marshy area; it looked like Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida (where I once lived). As I struggled through tall grass and muddy trenches, I looked up (to the right) and saw interesting-looking homes spaced reasonably apart from each other and perched on steep inclines. Each home had a lot of character, and all of them seemed to be sort of falling apart. I recognized one of the houses to be the home I was supposed to be heading towards, so I followed my intuition: up the hill, up the driveway, and then onto the front porch.
A long-haired man opened the door shortly after I knocked on it; he looked 37.
“Well.. come in.”
Not the kind for small talk, I noted.
I followed him into the living room. He sat down onto a couch and lit a cigarette. I sat down in a chair that was a few feet away and watched him.
So this is the guy who’s going to fix me; a quiet, relaxed and completely detached hippie doctor.
Seconds later, he was leading me to a dark hallway, saying that he’d be able to cure me.
He loaded a gun. A startling “locking” sound echoed through the room and thundered in my ears. I obligingly lowered my jaw and opened my mouth without realizing I was doing so.. I don’t think he even asked me to. I was vaguely scared in a dull, watery, and muted kind of way; remember — this has to happen, I reminded myself bravely. He aimed the gun and, with no hesitation, fired straight into my mouth, hitting the back of my throat with a pronounced thud. I closed my mouth and felt something strange fall onto the back of my tongue, so I instinctively spit it out into the palm of my right hand and then peered down to examine it; a seed. A seed had fallen out of the back of my throat. It was the HIV; he’d literally shot it right out of me.
I looked up, but having finished the job of “curing” me, the hippie doctor had already left the hallway.
“I’m getting closer to the truth,” I thought to myself.
Dreams are interesting, aren’t they? Apparently, on a subconscious level, my mind is working through some deep shit right now:
- Who is god? Why do we all want a god to worship and revere so badly, and why do we feel so incomplete and helpless without one? While we’re on the subject, why do religions have to be so irrationally divisive? How does identifying as an (insert religion of choice/denomination here) make you so different from the next person and make them so automatically inferior and unrelatable? How can anyone honestly believe that they’ve (quite remarkably) stumbled upon that ONE truth when there are so many different spins on truth out there, with all of them vying for a person’s buy-in and with zero tangible proof for even a single ONE of them?
- Am I overextending myself? My mother said that I was worrying about things that didn’t concern me. In the dream, I was worried about the German Shepherd getting attacked, or attacking the deer, or the deer possibly giving the many residents of the home Lyme Disease. I hadn’t stopped to worry about myself for a single second.. about my safety in pursuing the deer.. and yet, in real life, these blog posts seem to revolve around nothing but my #firstworldproblems, my gender identity crisis, my overwhelming sadness for lost loves and friends (who hasn’t lost somebody?), and my commonplace insecurities. While I absolutely care about and love other people, it seems like I’m too concerned with myself right now to be excessively worrying about others (as dream-mother implied). But maybe it – the dream – isn’t about overextending myself in relation to others; maybe the message is about chasing after something that’s impossible to find. The deer could be the truth that’s slowly sneaking and then sinking in, and in running after that truth, maybe I’m actually (and accidentally) running away from it. It’s like this: Medicine is sometimes staged; time-released. In thirty minutes, this happens; in an hour, it’ll do this to you. When you swallow the pill, the whole thing starts and the process, which happens in blurry, overlapping pieces and segments, is suspenseful. It is, again, time-elapsed. And truth is like that, too. If I had woken up one morning when I was 17 and prophetically realized that, in 7 years, I was going to be a divorced and gay agnostic person, I probably would have had a heart attack. No joke. That truth would have been far too radical — too opposite from my then reality — to handle. Instead of taking in the full picture all at once, I caught glimpses of it. Revelations came slowly, one at a time, and it was perfectly.. I’ll say it: orchestrated. Quick summary: You should be open to the truth, ready to embrace it whenever it reveals itself to you, but you should also know that you can’t and won’t experience or know everything all at once. And it’s better that way.
- Because of my conservative upbringing, there’s still this deeply rooted idea in my mind that being gay is unnatural. Unhealthy. Immoral. That, because I’m gay, there’s something inherently wrong with me; that there must be some dark reason why I deviated from the norm and am drawn to living this alternative lifestyle. Now — at the forefront of my mind, I absolutely disown this toxic idea along with its troop of false notions, because I believe that love is love and that while, admittedly (for reproductive reasons), male + female combos just biologically make sense, there’s no way in hell that it’s wrong to deeply and romantically love somebody of the same gender, or that it’s wrong to want THAT person to be your life companion. There’s nothing unhealthy or immoral about that. Now, I’m still not ready to commit myself to a life companion (preferring deep friendships and generous bouts of alone time at this stage in my life), but I believe that, someday, I would like to settle down with somebody, and not just for the sake of having somebody; if I settle down, it will be because I know I’ve found the perfect partner. Sidebar: No person is going to be perfect (without faults and flaws and struggles that are uniquely their own), but they can still be the perfect partner. Anyways, I’m speculating that, on a subconscious level, this dream was me processing the idea that society, even when it sympathizes with us, views the LGBTQ community as a collection of sick (mentally or physically) people who need protection and sympathy and fixing (like the weak and crying runt in a litter of otherwise healthy and vivacious German Shepherd puppies). But guess what? We’re just as sane, normal, strong, competent and moral as everybody else in the world, and we don’t need to be fixed; empathize with us as fellow human beings who aren’t at all separate from you, and continue to fight for equality on all levels, but don’t pity us.
Three final thoughts (1/dream):
- Religion doesn’t make you moral. You decide whether or not you’re going to be a moral human being. And the absence of religion shouldn’t make you lonely and doesn’t mean you’re lazy; it’s honestly, without belittling the sacred and profound nature of religion, a simple matter of preference. If it – adopting a religion or recognizing a god – makes sense, go for it, but don’t let the foundation for your commitment lie on the convictions of a family member, a significant other, or anything other than sincere, personal conviction. Can you explain why you believe what you do? Good. You’re on the right track.
- You can’t invent truth. Truth is, by nature, non-negotiable; it can’t be influenced by thoughts or opinions, and it won’t be affected by arguments. It also can’t be bought, edited, or rewritten. The truth is entirely self-sufficient and independent of us. You may be believing it or you may not; who knows! You may give a shit about it or you could, quite possibly, not care less. You may decide, someday, to subscribe to something that feels close to the truth — that resonates with you and registers as truth — and you may choose to promote that version of the truth your whole life.. or you may choose to step away from the blaringly loud crowd of truth proponents with your arms up and say: “I don’t know.” At the end of – not just the day – your life, neither decision would make you a better or worse person. Truth is, like a deer, natural and whimsically evasive. It can be sighted and pursued, but it may not allow you to catch it, and even when you think you have caught it and you’re staring it right in the face, it could just be a sharp and reinterpreted reproduction of the truth, a really convincing digital image, or a blatantly wishful and self-serving mirage.
- The need for equality, while including the LGBTQ community, extends WAY BEYOND the LGBTQ community. Remember that. Regardless of your gender, sexual preference, citizenship, religious bias, social status, income level or political views.. you’re a carefully crafted tangle of flesh and blood. A weighted mix of fierce and vulnerable; a wise blend of potential and limits. You are, all at once, beautifully unique and exactly the same.
And who made you this way? Like I fucking know.