Dreams are strange things. I have a long history of having very strange and very profound dreams. If anyone, particularly a psychologist, were to ask whether or not I dream in colour, I would have to say, yes, indeed I do. If that makes me crazy, then so be it.
Recently I had one of those dreams that ranked pretty high on the strangeness scale, even for me. It started out as so may of my dreams do, where there is a tornado. A dream interpreter would say that this particular symbol means that there is an incredible amount of chaos in the life of the dreamer. I think I would agree with this. My life is filled with a bit of chaos at the moment.
As a result of this tornado dream, I ended up dead. That was the first time I had ever dreamed of anything like that. I do remember that I was more pissed-off that I could not tell my son how to distribute my stuff than I was in being recently deceased. There were some specifics that were not in my will, after all.
In the dream, I found myself in Heaven in a waiting room. It was kind of like the one you see in the movie, “Beetlejuice”. I remember that the waiting room was pretty full. My case worker, a lovely, mid-fiftyish African American Woman was going over this and that, and asked me what my religious preference was.
“Kemetic Orthodox,” I said, “But don’t you guys have that on file?; I asked, eyebrows raised. This was Heaven after all. They should have known these types of things.
“Oh, yes,” she wrote down my reply in her notes, “but so many people decide to change their minds when they realise that they’re dead.”
“Really? Why do they do that?” I asked.
“I think some of them have the idea that they may end up getting a better deal if they switch,” she said rather matter-of-factly.
“Well…..do they?” I was quite curious now.
“No,” she said with a shrug, “everyone pretty much gets the same thing.” She then pointed a slender finger at the waiting room that had not become any less crowded in the course of our conversation. “Why don’t you have a seat and we will call you when we’re ready.”
I nodded and sat down. My initial indignance at being unable to speak to my son seemed to have been forgotten for the moment. I picked up a copy of KMT magazine of Egyptology. It had a fabulous full-colour article on the reconstruction of Thebes going on somewhere in Heaven. I made a mental note to check it out. It was one of those places that I had always wanted to see. If I could see it in all of its past glories, so much the better.
I was completely caught up in my reading when there was a commotion. It was as if the Rolling Stones had decided to open up an impromptu set on the spot. I craned my neck around the throngs of people to see who might be causing all of the commotion. In the front of the mass of people who were quite literally tripping over themselves to get to this person, I saw none other than Jesus – who bore a frightening resemblence to Jeff Bridges as Jeff Lebowski (aka ‘The Dude’) in ‘The Big Lebowski”. With that kind of laid back attitude, it seemed perfectly appropriate to me that Jesus would get a rock star’s reception. After several minutes, the agitation of the crowd died down. Everyone would get their chance to talk to Jesus. From what I could see as I went back to my magazine, Jesus was a pretty cool guy. He was standing around chatting calmly and kindly and it seemed that he was quite approachable.
Eventually Jesus made his way over to me and took the now empty seat next to me. I shook his hand and we began chatting. Jesus was warm and polite, wore well worn flip flops and he had an easy laugh. It would be very difficult not to like a man who looked like a rock star and had the temperament of the Dalai Lama. In his warmth, I began to feel very self-conscious about something that I felt I needed to tell him. I did not want to lead him on, especially since he had been so very kind during our conversation.
“You know,” I began uncomfortably, “I have to be honest with you, Dude….I mean Jesus. I think you are really very nice and a really cool guy. But I have to say I couldn’t be a Christian anymore. I left and I have no intentions of returning – ever” I said. “But I want you to know, Jesus, it isn’t you,” I added hurriedly. “It really isn’t you. “ I searched his face and it showed absolutely no sign of surprise or disappointment. “It’s some of your followers, Dude. Too many of them, quite frankly, well…they suck.”
Jesus nodded and heaved a very long and heavy sigh. “Yeah. I know,” he said, “I get that a lot. I really am going to have to set a few of them straight. I mean all I said was, ‘love one another’. How hard is that? “
Jesus and I finished our very amicable conversation and he went on to mingle elsewhere. In the meantime, I finished my magazine and got up and began checking out the various Egyptian statues. I was totally engrossed in the detail of one of them when my case worker called my name.
“Well, we’ve scheduled your driving test for you!”the receptionist said. She did sound rather chuffed at having managed such a feat. Apparently, even in the afterlife, such things can be a difficult proposition.
“Driving test?! I said incredulously, “in Heaven?!” It was almost an overwhelming surprise. “I didn’t think they needed cars, let alone licenses here,” I said.
“Oh, yes,” she said in that same matter-of-fact tone. “It was quite necessary for us to institute that. To be honest, we’ve been having a real road rage problem up here as of late and we’re trying to avoid that.”
“What happens if someone gets road rage up here,” I asked.
“Oh, then it’s a requirement that the offender go…”she looked about nervously, “downstairs” to attend traffic school with you know….HIM.”
“Him?” I was puzzled. “You mean…Satan?”
“Shhh!! We don’t talk about him up here. Seriously. You don’t want to be flagged for further testing, do you?”
Thankfully, it was then that I woke up. A few minutes after I had dragged myself out of bed, I called my son to wish him a good weekend and to remind him that no matter what, I loved him. I didn’t remember when the last time was that I did that, and after the dream I felt it was important to do so.
I sometimes think that because of my religious belief, where life and the afterlife are almost exactly the same, that idea can be in some ways rather disheartening. All of the frustrations and responsibilities that we encounter in this present, waking life, tend to remind us that we need to be in the now. We need to be responsible and honest with both ourselves and those around us about what we believe and how we feel. Loving and caring about each other should not be along lines of who is of our belief system and who isn’t. We are all human beings, and compassion knows no creed. We need to live our lives as if we mean it.
It also might help if we were to check with our priests and pastors to make sure that our drivers licenses are good from one reality into the next.