STRANGE DREAM, STRANGER LIFE (1:1:2:12)
About twenty years ago, I had this dream. I'm sitting in a subway car across from this man. Now I don't look directly at this man, but I'm looking in his general direction and I just know that he is looking straight at me. After a long time I finally muster up enough courage to look at his face, but he isn't looking at me. I was wrong. Soon after this man starts to talk to me, and he tells me that I don't have any shoes on. I look down. He was right.
He takes off his shoes and he gives them to me, and I put them on. The subway train makes a stop, and I get off. As I step out of the subway car, I notice the entire platform is covered in green liquid, and the liquid is smoking. I see benches and other things being destroyed by this liquid, and I automatically assume it's some type of acid. In the distance I see another person step out of a subway car and they are barefoot.
As soon as their foot touches the platform, it burns away. Eventually their entire body burns away, but they don't scream. They don't make a sound. Then I look down at the green liquid I'm standing in, with these shoes I'm wearing that the man gave me, and I'm safe. The subway train starts up again and drives away, and I'm standing there wondering who that man was. Both literally and philosophically.
Last night I had a dream where I saw that same man again for the first time in about twenty years. His unforgettable face. In the dream I was walking through the city, this city that's full of walking pedestrians who are on their way to work, to school, to wherever. I'm walking and then suddenly I bump into this tall large man who is carrying food. I fall down, and the large man just walks away as if nothing happened.
Now I'm being trampled by all these people, and then out of nowhere I see a hand extend towards me. The body that the hand belongs to reveals itself, and I immediately recognize it's the same man who was on that subway car twenty years ago. His unforgettable face. He helps me up, and when I am on my feet all of the pedestrians disappear. They are all gone, it's just me and this man standing on a sidewalk.
I ask him who he is, and he tells me that he is the son of God. I pause, and I ask him if he means he is Jesus Christ, and he tells me that he will be Jesus Christ if that's what I decide to call him. He begins to walk, and I follow him, and I ask him questions. I ask him if he died thousands of years ago, and he says that death is a misunderstood phenomenon. He says that even if he did die, he has always been here. For the past twenty years and for the past thousands of years.
I ask him if he means he has been here literally, like walking on Earth among us people, or philosophically, existing only in our hearts, minds and dreams. He says both, but also says that the importance of one over the other is subjective. And then he looks back at me and tells me to stand there, not to move a muscle.
People always say that, don't move a muscle. Even if I stand perfectly still, my heart which is made up of cardiac muscle is still beating. Still moving. Beat. Pump. Beat. And now it has stopped. Every cell in my body has stopped, as if time is frozen.
In the distance, on the road, I see my younger brother. There are people around him, skinny men and women, even children, with dirty rags on for clothing. He is giving them all fruits. He looks in my direction for a second, but he doesn't see me; it is almost as if I weren't there.
When my brother and I were younger, I would always tell him to share his food with those who asked. I used to tell him that when he got older, he would have to know when to share his fruit, even when they didn't ask, because sometimes those people would live overseas and they wouldn't be able to ask. These were the things my mother taught me as a child.
Now my brother and all those people are gone, and the pedestrians are back. Jesus Christ has disappeared within the crowd. I can move again, and my heart is beating now. Beat. Pump. Beat. After a short while I see my younger brother again, walking among the crowd across the street. He looks in my direction again, and this time he sees me and walks towards me.
We start to talk, and after a while I mention how when we were younger, how I would always tell him to share his food, and that I was proud he listened because getting people to listen is one task we can't complete alone in our lives.
Now he has a look of confusion on his face, and he tells me he has no idea what I'm talking about. He says I never told him to share his food. Now the look of confusion has jumped off of his face and onto mine, and before I could realize it I am staring at his backside as he's walking away. I start to shout, telling him to remember to share his food with others, trying to remind him that kindness can go a long way. I go on until he's completely gone, and then I realize Jesus Christ is sitting in the corner.
He looks at me and he says that it doesn't matter if we are alive or dead, it doesn't matter if we can physically walk on Earth or not. He says that the things we say to people, the things we do to people, they are sometimes remembered, regardless of how important or unimportant it may be. Regardless of if it was something good or something bad.
He says that while we are alive, we shouldn't care about who we want to become, we should care about who we will have been when we die. What we did or said in our lifetime, that's what will stay in the hearts, minds and dreams of others even after we are gone.
Now Jesus and I are walking again, and it feels like we have been walking for miles. I ask him how much further we have to go, and he asks me if I'm asking him how much further do we have to go, or if I'm asking him how far we have gone, and then I woke up. After I woke up I thought about the dream. I thought about when my brother was feeding the poor, how he looked in my direction and didn't see me. How I couldn't move at that moment.
I wonder if I was only there philosophically, in his mind. I wonder if he was remembering the things I told him. And then I start to think about how he could see me through the crowd. I wonder if at that point he could see me, as if this time I were actually alive. Physically able to walk on Earth, and as he's walking away from me, I'm trying to tell him to share his food.
It's as if I'm trying to tell him this so that when the time comes, he will feed those people, and he won't just leave them to die. It's as if I want him to remember these words I'm telling him even after I've died. It doesn't matter if someone is alive, existing physically, because we still may not listen to them or even bother to hear them out, and it doesn't matter if someone is dead, existing philosophically, because we will remember them. Remember the things they taught us, the things they said and the things they did for us.
So I guess even if you're alive, you may not be able to change the world or even someone's life; you just might have to die first. I start to think about what Jesus said, "who we will have been when we die." If I died tomorrow, who will I have been?