I once had a dream I walked with Walt Whitman along an Israeli beach. He strolled with his hands clasped behind his back and quoted from “Song of the Open Road”: “I swear to you, there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.”
I have a hard time remembering what else he told me. I recall that he mentioned that there wasn’t just good and evil; folly was a near equal contender. He then bid me goodbye, and then I saw art through the eyes of some pundits from a canine civilization (who were predictably sitting around a felt-clad poker table).
I took the above photo at the dawn of this century. I visited the Pacific coast in Washington state and snapped this picture as the sun set.
Walt Whitman appeared in the best dream I ever had. About twenty years ago, I had the persistent shroud of depression despite treatment and was also a bit broken hearted over love unrequited. I had dropped out of college because I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of managing my time effectively and setting the goals necessary to complete my degree. I was working retail, too, which I found so miserable that I felt my time in the store should count as credit for time served in Purgatory.
I felt hopeless, but then I had a dream that was like a thunderclap of grace. In the dream I was walking on an Israeli beach with Walt Whitman, who looked rather apostolic. He told me that all is not either good or evil, but there is also folly. He recommended patience and compassion in dealing with folly, which can be mistaken for evil.
Then I seemed to be beamed into a review of my life akin to common stories of near death experiences. In my life review, a voice told me that in life we see through a glass darkly and that this was a chance for me to see my life as it is seen in Heaven. As I watched interludes from my life, I saw no reason for sadness, regret or strife. I watched what had seemed to be awful misfortunes in my life as a parent proudly watches a baby learn to walk. Even what was regrettable was still watched with love.
I cherish the memory of this dream as something that has helped sustain me through the years since. From time to time, I feel a moment of the ineffable peace, love and grace from that dream, and I am reassured that all will be well.