Your old men will dream,
your young men will see visions.
The verse above comes from the book of Joel in the Christian Bible. It actually has to do with “end times” prophesy and how the earth will look before God’s judgment, but that’s not why I love it. In fact, I love it in spite of that context (not a big fan of studying the end times, this girl). I love that part of what happens when people turn to the ever-loving God is that we are given visions and dreams.
Visions and dreams are what keep me alive most days.
A few years ago, after a particularly hard break-up, the death of my beautiful cat Aslan, and a semester that left me wrung dry, I took a writing retreat up at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. I went alone and didn’t really know anyone there, except my writing teacher Laraine Herring – and even she and I had never met face-to-face. This was a solitary quest.
The first day, I set up my tent in the stickiest air I have ever felt, and then I wandered around the campus aimlessly. I ate dinner with people I didn’t know in the all-vegetarian bliss that was the cafeteria, and that night, I slept hard on the rocky ground beneath my canvas.
As the workshop began, I started to understand a tiny bit Laraine’s philosophy of writing – move your body hard (by literally shaking it) and then be still with your words and visions. Each day we would shake, and then we would write. I filled an entire journal in those four days.
When class wasn’t in session, I wandered down to the lake and sat in a hammock and read Charlie Peacock’s New Way To Be Human and heard the Whisper that I needed to slow down. I stared out across the water and understood, in the way of insight that brings tears, that I was that lake – people often see the placid surface, but what is very real is beneath the surface – that I do a very good job of mirroring what is around me when I am calm, that maybe I needed to show more of what was below in the purple, blue depths of me.
One afternoon in class, Laraine had us sit and meditate. I love meditation – it soothes the rough edges of my spirit and lets me sink in and know what is beneath the mirror I often show even myself. As I sat there, I had a vision – I don’t know how to describe it – of a red barn with a ramp leading up to it. An open field in front of that door, and a light-haired man walking into it ahead of me.
I lost my breath in that moment. I knew this was real. And not yet here.
Now, I’m not saying I prophesied my future or that I will necessary have that barn or know that man, but I think I will. I really do. In some way, what I saw that day will come true in my life. I have no doubt that of that.
I try to live each day true to the dreams I have – to write, to farm, to love, to be as true to myself and to my whispering God as I can. I fail a lot and fall back to just mirroring what I see.
But some days, some days, the Whisper reaches deep in and caresses my heart. On these days, I dream dreams and have visions beyond my wildest imaginings, and I know they are true . . . if I will but live into them.