I had a weird dream last night and it left me thinking quite a lot this morning. I remember the encounter and the questions vividly, asked by a figure that shone; in another age I would have called it angelic. These days I would look to the subconscious, knowing there are more correlations than we might think. I have been looking at some facets of religious history recently and the symbolism translates well into a visual representation of the underlying fears and questions that wander round the deeper recesses of the mind.
Without recounting the whole sequence, or the incongruity of the radiant figure resolving itself into a rather more human form, pulling up a chair and pouring tea in a way that reminded me forcibly of Disney’s Merlin, I was shown the sum of my days. Their number, in the dream, was rather less than one might reasonably expect coming from such a long-lived line of females, and especially so when seen against the backdrop of eternity. A lifetime looks tiny.
The thought, Oh sod, wandered across consciousness, better get on with it then.
Now, it is true that I am, in the normal scheme of things, well past the halfway mark; this I know, and time seems to scurry by ever faster as we age, skeetering down a slippery slope to a state of body that may not reflect the age of the mind or inner heart. None of us can know how well the physical vehicle is going to hold up or how long it is going to perform its function without breaking down, getting too rusted up at the joints to move freely or simply shorting a circuit. We can’t know whether we are destined to be a graceful vintage model or be fit only for the scrap yard. Bodies are like that. Unpredictable. The only certainty is that bodies go faster on the ‘all downhill from here’ bit than they did on the upwards climb; there is a certain irony in that.
On the other hand, I’m not done with my body yet, thank-you-very-much. I’m still friends with it, on the whole anyway. We argue about its submission to gravity occasionally, but generally manage to live in harmony together and enjoy each other’s company. The mind sends it to places it might not have gone on its own, the body carries the mind with it and both derive pleasure from the movement and sensations of living. I’m rather fond of the relationship. And although I have no fear of the inevitable parting of the ways I can, if you’ll excuse the pun, live without it for a while yet.
Still, the graphic illustration of the shortness of human life in the context of eternity was interesting. We do not tend to view ourselves as being as transient as a mayfly, yet our lives are barely flashes in the cauldron of an unfolding existence. Youth sees itself immortal and though age may be aware of an ending in sight, the habit of ‘immortality’ sticks and we assume we have time that perhaps we do not. We procrastinate, putting things off until a later that may never come and thus miss out on the dreams and adventures that we dangle like carrots before the eyes of ‘some day’.
As my illusive visitor helped himself to another cup of tea and a scone, my baking apparently being known even in otherworldly circles, he brandished the butter knife and asked me what I was going to do about it. I had choices. Possibilities. Mainly three of them from which all others depended, spreading like the branches of a tree from the trunk, or streams from a single source that was, well… me. It didn’t matter apparently what others were up to or what their perceived needs might be. The choices were mine to make.
He sat back and dissolved as I woke, taking the scones with him and leaving me pondering the choices he had illustrated for me. It was graphic… no matter what else was happening around me, the final choice was mine alone and would determine the course of my journey from here. Oddly enough, I did not have to choose between one thing or another, one course of action or another. The outer and visible details could and perhaps would, remain the same. The choice lay in where I would allow myself to write my self into my story; that was the eye-opener and it sent me wandering downstairs in a blue study this morning with more questions than answers.