This is a record of what happened last night. It is one of several dream incidents that I have not recorded. But I will record this one.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015; Manassas Park, Virginia.
My husband and I were lying in bed watching the first episode of a documentary about Prohibition by Ken Burns. I had already seen it but wanted to review it because it explained a lot about American culture in the 19th century.
I fell into a very deep sleep. Then:
Everything was in grays and blurry like a colorless thick fog, like shadows dancing on a wall from a fire. There was nothing scary about the shadows, nor in the shadows.
The space around me seemed to close in on me even though I could tell the place was infinite. And I was inside this space, unable to move back or forward, suspended without being able to advance nor retreat.
There were no sounds exactly, just an expansive deep space sound—like a dead silence in a huge cathedral. I could feel nothing, for I wasn't physical anymore.
I knew I was dead.
I panicked because I realized life was over. It was over, I repeated to myself, life on earth is over for me. But I couldn't remember anything—nothing. I couldn't remember who I was, my life, everything was a blank. I was totally helpless. I couldn't go back into life, I had to be here. But I wanted to go back into life.
Though I had no physical body to feel cold, through my spirit, there was a deathly chill sensation. There was a frozenness about the place that you experienced, but couldn't feel.
To write that knowing I couldn't go back into life made me sad or regretful is to confine an emotion. Emotions were no longer inside me for there was no "me," physically at least. A sadness permeated everything. It was as if I could swim in this fog for a millions years and if I reached out and touched something, it would be the sadness I experienced when I first arrived.
I did not feel as if I was being punished. I did not feel as if I had chosen this. It was just there and I didn't even know how to figure out anything. Everything was a state of being that couldn't be changed or understood.
Yet, all of that was peripheral. What was the most terrifying thing about the place was the realization that I was alone. There was an eternal "aloneness."
And I felt something human words are unable to describe. I was facing an infinite isolation on all sides of me, and there was a deep horror, a steely terror that I never imagined. I have always heard that the worst type of loneliness was to be alone in a crowd. No. The worst type of aloneness is when there is no one left anywhere in the cosmos. Not even God.
Then I woke up and looked at the time. It was 9:35 pm and the documentary was still playing on my computer a few feet away.
Was this from God to teach me something? I don't know. But I do know that growing up Seventh-day Adventist, not believing in purgatory or hell, I had never been afraid of either. Now I am. But the first thing I thought of when I awoke was that I needed to pray for people in purgatory. They were helpless and alone just as I had experienced.
Then secondly, pondering as I look back upon the dream, I realized that I have not appreciated life. I feel a bit like Scrooge this morning wanting to jump and scream and shout that I am alive. I have been buried so deeply in theology and the knowledge that I am eternally God's child, that I haven't really been appreciative for this life—as much as I should be anyway. The gift of life is extraordinarily important and we should not focus all our attention on the afterlife. This life is a gift.
And finally, the dream taught me something. Goblins and ghosts and demons are not as scary as isolation. An eternity of aloneness, without God, without loved ones, without friends, that is what hell is. And you don't even have memories to comfort you.
Wow. Don't go to hell. It is hell. And I just had a little few seconds of something like it.