I had an intriguing dream the other night that I did not remember until the following afternoon when I was interrupted at the corner of Snyder and Milbourne Roads by a funeral procession.
“That figures,” I mumbled. I couldn’t turn left because the hearse was coming on, followed by seven or eight hundred cars (or so it seemed) with their lights on and the requisite purple flags suction-cupped to their roofs and hoods.
Oh, woeful and wretched man am I. This procession, at first, was but an impediment to my forward progress. I was inconvenienced so that I could not immediately turn left and hurry back to work after lunch. This, while some poor and lunchless person lay prostrate in a box at the back of the hearse, making no forward progress whatsoever. And here was the family, in mourning.
I came to my senses and shifted into “park.” Now I had to watch it; God said, Watch this.
My radio does not work, praise Him. The February sky hangs low and gray this day, as it does on most days here in my state. Lukewarm air comes through my venting system and my car rumbles because God has damned the exhaust system. To His credit, He has granted 235,000 miles of miraculous travel to this machine, my machine. It used to belong to my earthly father, who died himself two years ago and no longer suffers upon this vale of tears.
I could see the entrance to the cemetery from my stop-sign vantage point. The cars pulled so slowly into the place; right turn, right turn, right turn; outside wheels obeying inside wheels; wheels, wheels, scrunching against the pavement and leather-gloved palms. I stared at the wheels and their slower-than-death turns.
Steering wheels; tire wheels; the wheel itself, invented thousands of years ago and still the workhorse of this “advanced” age. By now we ought to be visiting wheels in museums, but instead we surround them with balloons and flapping plastic pennants. Wheels should humiliate us, but instead they excite us. We decorate them with spoked covers and kick them. If they maintain their constitution, we delight in them and incur debt because of them. We take care to polish them. We tell our friends we have got “a new set of wheels.” We “wheeled and deal.” We have become “big wheels.” Wheels are as humiliating as crutches and the rubber-bottomed boots used for casts, but nobody gets it. The race is hobbled and no one notices. As I watched the cars, I though of travel in the hereafter: wheels will be conspicuously absent. But here beneath the modern February sky, I watched the deceased suffer the final humiliation of mortal flesh: transported to the grave by means of the wheel.
At that precise moment, I remembered my dream.
Take this lightly. My dreams may be inspired by the wheat germ I sprinkle on my oatmeal before bed. What I am about to relate to you may not even have been a dream, but a mental picture in the seam between consciousness and sleep. It was real enough to me, though, and it thrilled me.
In the dream I saw colors, but not colors as we know them. You may think that an apple is red and a leaf is green, but what we call “red” and “green” are poor substitutes for the real things. The real things have names that we don’t even know. Red may actually be splerdon, and green florn. What we see now are baby colors; primitive hues; dialed-down driplight. The colors of my dream were mature, ripened, bursting. It was as if God had suddenly cleaned my dirty windshield with a miraculous blue fluid. I saw an apple tree that was so beautiful it made a noise. The colors made sound, so pure were they. They attacked me in a pleasant way and attached themselves to my eyes. A simple close-up of an apple made my breath halt. Even the air had color; even the air made a noise. I realized then that, even while seeing, I had for my whole life been blind. In this dream, God removed the veil and I saw glory.
I knew then the trouble God went to to mute the glory of His creation. He works hard, daily, to keep it under wraps. He must not reveal it before the time. It is as if God has a glory knob and has turned it far left to the lowest notch and nailed it there. But on this occasion and in this seam of unconsciousness, He turned the glory dial up one notch to grant me a glimpse at the real; this reality; these colors; this air.
It was brief, but momentous. My initial reactions was: God! I see now why evil had to come. It’s worth it! This was my instant response. All evil fell away to nothing except for its bare-bones purpose: to reveal glory. I knew in a moment that every evil was justified. Every pain fell into place at my first glimpse of the real world. And God may well have said: You justify me because of this? Greater things than these shall you be seeing!
He had barely nudged the glory dial and I was ready to proclaim Him “The Pure Genius, God! Father of all! Justifier of Everything!”
What a sucker I am for glory.
For now, I endure the trains of death, with accompanying headlights, purple cotton flags, and the endless convoy of wheels. But now I see God behind it all, winking, gripping the glory knob with His right hand, smiling so pregnantly toward my tired face.
© 2006 by Martin Zender