I spent the night with friends… more socially distanced than any pandemic ruling could possibly require…. and I’m tired. I didn’t sleep as much as I would have liked and spent a lot of the night tossing and turning. That is not as contradictory as it might seem, for it was when I did doze that I spent the time watching those I love wander across the screen of dreams. Though that is not quite a true depiction. I was in there with them.
I dream vividly and in colour and was surprised when I learned how many people don’t, though apparently with the demise of monochrome media that is changing dramatically. Which raises some interesting questions about how our minds and perceptions are, quite literally, coloured by our environment.
Be that as it may, my dreams have always been vividly and graphically coloured and I feel them as reality while I am dreaming… and honestly, there are some you really wish did not feel quite so real…
Last night, however, it was lovely to see and to hold those who are distant in time and space, to talk with them and smile with them, hear much-loved voices and share the small things of every day. Most I recognised, though there were others I knew that I have known and loved, although they are not part of this life’s story. Waking each time, as I wavered between the worlds, brought a sense of both warm gratitude for that touch of presence, and a hint of loss that it was not ‘real’.
Yet, it was real, on its own plane, and in that moment. It was only on waking that the change in my mode of perception traced that dividing line. It was real as I felt the touch of minds and hearts, the embrace and warmth of those long departed or far away. Dreaming opens the doors to meet across the miles, or to be once again with those who have departed this world to a place where we may meet in joy, just as we would have done in life. These are not old scenes replayed, but new interactions.
What does it matter if they are not ‘real’ if they touch the heart and call up the deepest emotions? If such a meeting still fills you with joy and gratitude when you have woken, and it is real enough to change your world and your day.
Beliefs about the world of dreams vary widely, from soul journeys outside of time and space, to a simple working out of events and psychological details by the brain. Did it matter to me, while I dreamed, whether my brain was constructing images or if my soul was flying free? Not a bit. I was just happy to be with those I love.
There is no past tense here… even for those who are no longer in the world. Love does not die when the object of it is no longer beside us. It remains and is part of us always. It may be filed away, gently wrapped in the protective gauze of memory, but it is still part of who we are. Part, perhaps, of what makes us who we are.
I cannot help thinking of all those people who, as they approach the end of their lives, speak of loved ones being there to welcome them to the other side. I remember my great grandmother, close to death at one point, yet sent back, she said, to complete her tasks for this lifetime, telling us how she was a young woman again as she met my late, great grandad in a sunny field. It was not what she expected, not what she believed… but she smiled like a girl when she told us.
With my own end being pencilled in for ‘sooner’ rather than ‘later’, and with the restrictions imposed by COVID keeping so many people so very far apart, spending time with loved ones is more important than ever to me. And whether or not these visitations in the night have any reality outside of dream, their presence I can see only as a gift.
Whatever thought and logic might bring to the question, today I will walk with that touch of love in my heart in spite of a restless night. Although I glowered at the dawn through frustrated and heavy eyelids, when I rose from my bed it was with a smile on my face and the glow of a lifetime of love, given and received, to carry me through the day.