When I look back, all I can see now is glimpses, images. Faded and worn memories. That’s all there is left. I can still feel the cushioned bounce from when I dropped onto my bed, exhausted from another day in the world. The lights were all off. I remember the soft tick…tock…tick…tock of my wall clock numbing my thoughts as it lulled me into sleep-like stupor. The next event was much hazier. I still can’t tell if what I saw was in a dream or if I was awake. I remember it being a state like nothing I had ever felt before. I saw a white room, a blue stream softly cutting the room down the center, a man in white, his face shrouded in brightness. It was supernatural; I knew it. The voice was the man’s but it whispered from every unseen wall of the room. “You’re weary. You’ve been fighting. It’s time that you listened. Your ears are now opened. Awaken, silent sleeper.”
After that, my eyes opened, literally, and daylight flooded my vision. I was on a plain, carpeted in lush green grass, canopied by clearest blue skies with very few clouds in the sky. Around me were people, wandering, sitting, lying, jumping, running, weeping. Every single one I recognized.
The first one that caught my eye was a girl a few yards away. She was my age, at sixteen; her name was Talia. As I stepped up to her, my footfalls silenced by the grass, she turned her head and looked at me, looked right into my eyes. Her eyes were wet and red. She had been crying. This was the girl that I would see at lunch, middle table, surrounded by all the “important” people. Her face was always bearing a smile. Her mouth was always agreeing with their laughter. Who was this girl here? She was different. She spoke to me in a soft, lilting voice, “At home, my parents make it clear that they would never love me. They make it clear that I am the major blemish of their life. They’re struggling financially. They make it clear that that’s my fault. I sometimes feel like if I was gone, no one would even notice. I’ve thought about ending it.” She lifted up her pant leg. There were criss-crossing lines. Scars. “I did these to myself. I thought, ‘I have caused everyone else pain. I deserve this pain.’ I can’t see anything worth living for.” She turned away from me, back to her pain. A tear rolled down my cheek.
I drifted off to the next person, an older man. The same man I saw on TV; the man I saw arguing for evolution on the science program. He was standing up, looking at the sky, the grass, the world. He turned to me, his face distraught. “I do not know what is real anymore. Honestly, I hope that what I believe is wrong. If it is true, then what is the point? I hope I am wrong; I know I am wrong. But I cannot let them know that. I have been fighting much too long. I suppose all there is left for me is blind seeking.” He turned back to his observations of the miraculous. My heart broke for him.
Next, I came up to a guy a couple years older than me. He was on his knees, rocking back and forth, back and forth. He was the guy that I saw with his friends behind the school, smoking pot. He was angry, but also suffering. His face was red; his hands were in his sweaty hair. He turned to me, anguish filling his face. “My best friend died a year ago! Does anyone know the pain I feel? Does anyone care? I just want to get away! I just want to escape this miserable life! No, I’m too afraid to die. I’m so afraid, oh, so afraid. That’s why I use my drugs; they help me escape. A moment of pleasure and release, a moment away from this misery. Oh, I miss him! I would never let anyone know this. I t would make me look weak, un-masculine. But he understood me! He saw past my skin! Why can’t anyone be like that anymore? Why can’t they just once look past themselves and see me, just see me? I’m really not a bad kid! I just can’t see any way out!” He screamed, and I felt like I wanted to take a step toward him, but my feet wouldn’t move in his direction.
Finally, I was swept off to meet one last person, the person farthest from me, past everyone else, sitting alone on the grass with his head drooped to his knees. He was still, except fir his shoulders, which shook subtly. He was trying to hide his weeping. I stepped silently up to him. I reached out ever so slowly. After a slight moment of hesitation, I put my hand on his upper back. He turned to me. As soon as I saw his face, I recoiled. I was shocked to my core and couldn’t, wouldn’t, believe my eyes. I shook my head, and thought that this was impossible. The one staring emptily back into my eyes, with the pallid expression on his face, the broken soul sitting in front of me, was…me. He spoke, “Why do you deny it? Why do you deny me, the deepest part of you? You could be so much more. The world needs me to shine on the outside of you, not the dark corners inside. You can’t leave this behind. You can’t ignore this. It will be unrelenting. Quite holding back! Let me free, so you can be who you were meant to be. Stop keeping me suppressed. I need to get out. Let me be seen.”
I fell backwards. I got up and moved away, slowly, faster, until I realized I was running, running from myself. I could not stop. Suddenly I realized I was not outside anymore. I was running through the white room with the stream. The man was still there. His voice echoed down my spine, in my heart, in my mind. “It’s time to stop running. Now that you have heard, now that you have seen, will you stop running? Will you go to my beloved and tell them who they are to me? Will you keep your eyes open? Will you keep listening? Will you just go back to sleep? Love is the truth. Love will be the way. Remember what you have heard… remember… remember… remember……… remember……………………………remember…”
I woke up. And here I am today. Seeing life unblind. Taking that extraordinary step to see, to listen, to love. I am seeing people deeper than the surface. I am listening to what their hearts are truly saying. Life is much too short to not take it as it is. No masks. No makeup. This is real, this is raw. This is who we are, everyman, the beautiful.
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