An Angel Visits Me In Dreamtime
We have all no doubt struggled to understand and experience this thing called human love. One special angelic visitor paid me a visit many years ago and taught me a lot about love.
The word love is probably one of the most used and yet misunderstood words in the English language. How much time do we spend reading love quotes. Talking about love. Chasing love. Using those proverbial words I love you. What does it really mean to love you? One friend used to say I simply like love, Michael. It's as plain and clear as that. I used to say I sure wish that love would come my way. I heard someone else say I love one. I love this one. I love that one. When I'm not with the one I love I love the one I'm with. Well I guess some people might adhere to such a philosophy.
Back in my struggling days with personal love, one day a friend treated me to lunch and imparted a little gift to me. It was a small plaque which said something like- if you love something set it free, if it comes back to you it is yours. If it does not it was never meant to be.” I thought a lot about that, and a French folk song-I forget the title or exact translation-I learned in voice class said something similar, “Love is a free bird. It is like a timid child. Severity gives it fear. It is the truth that guides it on the road to a pure heart.”
I loved the poetry of the plaque and the song. They rang so true to some part of me. As usual my overactive mind tries to take in and assimilate all the ideas it is exposed to make some kind of sense out of them which will hopefully make my life more content and worthwhile. I kept thinking about the phrase that it is the truth that guides Love to a pure heart. What the heck is the truth about Love? I wondered. And how can there be just one truth about Love?
There might be as many truths about love as there are people in the world. To some degree don’t we filter reality through our own perceptions and give our own personal meaning to ideas and information we take in I wondered. And maybe truth is all relative anyhow so how can there exist total or real Truth?Can’t truth change and evolve for us as we learn and grow?
As usual my wondering pondering mind about drove me nuts with the result being far more questions than answers coming to me. So many songs, poems, and stories go on about Love being a heart matter that does not go by the same set of rules as the thinking rational mind does. Love is supposed to be fickle, unpredictable, impetuous, impulsive, and a whole bunch more adjectives less concrete and objective. “You can’t begin to figure out Love, so why even bother,” an old neighbor woman once told me. “It’s its own boss and a whole different kettle of fish, and Love goes by a different set of rules than the petty rules and ideas we have about life here on the earth. That is why most people never find ultimate happiness or satisfaction in their search for love. It is too big for we 'wee little' folks down here,” she said, crouching down and pointing to the ground. “We are vermin compared to Love.” Wee wee wee,“ she kept, repeating, pointing at herself then at me. Then she would enact a goofy rendition of “This little pig went to the market. This little pig stayed at home. This little pig cried wee wee wee all the way home.”
I wondered if she were either totally nuts or enlightened. The twinkle in her eyes was captivating in a strange sort of way. She had an unearthly air about her that I could not explain.
“So how do we learn those rules?” I asked her.
“You follow your heart,” she said, tapping her buxom chest. “And you don’t let anyone else tell you what to do. If it’s right, you’ll feel it right here and in your lower stomach,” she said, letting out a cackle.”
Follow your heart, I thought, that woman is half bonkers. How can I follow my heart when it is torn and so confused I am surprised it even knows how to beat on a regular basis. I thought of the beautiful, poetic writing, “On Love” in The Prophet by Kahil Gibran, one of my favorite writers, where he said, “When Love beckons to you, follow him, though my ways are hard and steep.”
“Very hard and steep,” I said after reading that. “More like a big bottomless pit.” Love is supposed to be so grand I would wonder then sing parts of that pretty love song which always appealed to me and which I had sung in public many times, “Love is a many splendored thing.”
Yes, there are so many lovely songs that laud Love, but then there are others that tell how Love can hurt so bad. After one evening of listening to a tape of my favorite love songs I fell asleep on the couch. I didn’t wake up until three a.m., and when I did wake up, I heard this phrase, “When you embrace another, you embrace yourself.”
Then I heard a voice in my head say, “Don’t let Love get too close to you, or you will surely get burned. Only fools open their hearts.” The lyrics from an old song ran through my mind, “Only love can break a heart, try to forget it from the start.” I went to the bathroom and took a washcloth and ran cold water over it and rubbed my forehead. Then I heard the old Johnny Cash song, “I fell into a burning ring of fire. I went down down down and the flames went higher. And it burned burned burned this ring of fire.” I went back and looked out the window at the half full moon. I closed my eyes hoping I would get drowsy and drift back to sleep, but my mind had no intentions of letting me off the hook so easily.
So does this thing about Love burning us mean it is a good thing or a bad? I questioned. I thought about people and phrases I had heard; So and so had such a hot torrid love affair, an old song of Cher’s, “The Way of Love” that said “If a flame should start as you hold him near, better keep your heart out of danger, dear.” A friend of mine who was quite a ladies man used to say, “Oh, baby, every time I fix my eyes on her, she just sets my soul afire.” And one of my favorite songs was Jim Morrison’s “Come on Baby, light my fire.” All that made me half wonder if we are not supposed to get burned and somehow enjoy it. I said that to Leslie, and joking she replied, “That’s all fine and dandy, but I’m making sure that I am no less than fifty feet from a fire hydrant when I’m with my boyfriend.”
Then a sad memory surfaced and I became depressed. My cousin had committed suicide a few years ago after her boyfriend cheated on her and left her for someone else. She actually literally killed herself by setting herself on fire. To be heartbroken and feel so burned that you become desperate and do something so horrendous gave me chills.
When I came back to myself, the phrase “When you embrace another, you embrace yourself” would not leave me. Does that mean to receive love we have to reach out and embrace someone else I wondered. If so how does the saying fit in that to love another we have to love ourselves first? I wondered why I had not heard the phrase “When you embrace yourself, you embrace another.”
I told another friend about that and she threw her arms around herself and said, “That should be a new dance. I think we should go to the dance floor, then all throw our arms around ourselves and march around the room saying, “I love myself. I love myself over and over.”
A few days later I had the feeling another writing was going to come to me. Good, I thought, maybe it will give me some clarity and help me to finally make some sense about this thing called human personal love. The next morning a spontaneous urge to write came over me. I took out pen and paper and wrote “The Messenger of Love.”.
THE MESSENGER OF LOVE
Late one night the air was still.
I heard your voice and saw your face in dreams.
You beckoned me to go outside.
I went to my favorite oak tree.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.
When I opened them you appeared.
“Who are you?” I asked in tears.
“Why do you come to me?
Long golden shimmering hair.
Deep sparkling eyes so filled with love.
Your aura of white fills me with hope.
It warms my chilled heart and melts away my fears.”
“Listen,” said the voice softly.
“I have a message for you.
You long for Love.
But you have tried to buy Love which cannot be bought.
Heed the words that I say.
Do not chase Love.
Be loving and you will attract Love to you.
Before you can have that which you desire,
you must give it freely.”
“I have given to others.
Is this not true?
I help people whenever I can.”
“This is true, but ask yourself why you give?
You give to receive.
You do nothing without expecting something in return.
It is better to give a penny with a pure heart than
a diamond out of pride.
I come to you because in your dreams you ask for me
and there we often visit.”
“How will this happen?” I asked the pure one
who visited me beside the oak tree.
“You shall forget yourself and think of others.
When you consider their needs first
then you shall be fulfilled.
Your heart shall no longer feel empty.
In learning the lesson to freely give,
expecting nothing in return.
All shall be yours
For you shall be Love.
This paradox is true.
Any time you feel alone or discouraged
someone is in need of love.
Reach out to another.
Extend a helping hand.
When you embrace another, you embrace yourself.”
“Your words are wise.
Your thoughts are deep.
I will do as you say.
I will freely give to others,
and more so when I am sad.
This much of your message I understand.”
“You understand well, gentle soul.
I will answer your question of who I am.
I am an angel and I am The Messenger of Love!”
“Wow,” I said when I finished. My head was spinning and my heart thumping. I could almost see this angel still standing nearby. I even closed my eyes a few times hoping I could recapture her image in my imagination and somehow preserve it in my memory. It truly felt like I had basked in the presence of a divine being. I deliberately ignored reading “The Messenger of Love” for the rest of the day fearing that the mere act of concentrating my efforts on a concrete action like reading would take that special, magical feeling away.
I felt dreamy the rest of the day. I was delighted to not have any appointments or errands to run because I feared I would have trouble keeping on the road. This was a day for ethereal indulging and entertaining dream and hopeful fancies that my “perfect love” was heading my way and would arrive any day now. I was not sure of what I had written but it felt like the best instant “fix” I ever had. I half feared reading it, preferring my idealistic musing and imaginings of my ideal love.
Soaring the realms of wishful fancy and dreams is pleasant and a nice escape I think everyone needs from time to time, but as the saying goes, “We have to come back to Terra Firma” and get grounded sooner or later. The next day I had several places to go, but before I got grounded on the earth plane I wanted to take in a just a little more “fairy dust” as I jokingly expressed it to Leslie. I called her and told her that the feeling I had all day after writing “The Messenger of Love” was the feeling that little stardust sparkles were glittering all around me. I had stayed up late stargazing long past midnight and yearned and dreamed of dancing on the stars and moon.
To my great disappointment and dissatisfaction my reaction the next day would not turn out to be positive at all. I got up the next morning with high hopes that "the writing" would give me enough excitement to last all day and hopefully longer than that. A bit of that dreamy feeling began to return, though it was not quite as strong. This was just as well because this was what I called one of my practical days. The next morning after breakfast I opened the notebook and read “The Messenger of Love”.
I was fine until I got to the line, “But you have tried to buy Love which cannot be bought.” I could feel resistance and anger surging through me. Then the line, “You give nothing without expecting something in return,” added fuel to my rising anger. By the time I finished it, I was in the throes of depression. “I shouldn’t even read it,” I groaned, shoving it aside. “Some Messenger of Love. More like a messenger of criticism and judgment.”
I put it down and went on about my business. Thinking maybe I would be refreshed the next day and in a better frame of mind, I waited before rereading it. Instead of feeling better I felt worse. Two lines stood out: “Be loving and you will attract Love to you. Before you can have that which you desire, you must give it freely.”
“No one gives freely,” I blurted out as though talking to someone. “We all do things in order to get something in return, with maybe a few exceptions. Half the people in church who put those big bills in the collection basket are probably looking around to see who is watching them give such generous tithing. How many really care about God’s work? They only want to make a good impression and make themselves look good to others so people will look up to them.”
I read on. “You will forget yourself and think of others. When you consider their needs first then you will be fulfilled.”
“Absolute hogwash and rubbish,” I yelled and closed the notebook. It took all my self restraint not to rip out the pages and tear them into shreds and toss them in the trashcan, or better still, why not burn them into tiny little bits and flush them down the toilet.
Leslie called a few days later, sensing that I was depressed.
“You bet I am depressed,” I huffed. “What’s the purpose of writing something that is going to upset and depress me? I think I will just get rid of “Messenger of Love” and pretend I never wrote it. Maybe I just dreamed the whole thing. Maybe it’s not even in the notebook, and I have been upset for no reason at all. “Maybe...”
Leslie interrupted me. “You didn’t destroy that writing, did you, Michael? You promised me that you would never destroy your writings.”
“No,” I said, softly, “but I wish I had and I’d sure like to. Why did you make me promise you? Take it back and let me get rid of it. It’s not worth the paper it’s written on.”
“I know you are upset, Michael.”
“Of course I’m upset. Why shouldn’t I be? I read this nonsense that goes on about how I will forget myself and think of others. And to make matters worse I have to live with the shocking fact that I wrote the trash myself.”
“That is reason enough not to trash it, Michael. Put it away a few days. Maybe you will feel better about it later.”
“I doubt it, but since we promised never to break our promises, I will keep my word and not throw it away. But next time we make a promise, I am crossing my fingers and toes.”
“Deal,” she said, snickering.
“Maybe I’ve been set up. Maybe my imagination just wants me to think that I asked for this lady’s help so it could dictate a bunch of nonsense through my pen.”
“I hardly think that is the case, Michael.”
“Well, I want to know who this so called Messenger of Love thinks she is. How about when I feel alone and discouraged, which I have practically all of my life, that someone reach out to me and extend a helping hand? I have been alone nearly all of my life, and don’t need some figment of my imagination telling me what I need to do to find happiness. I think this Lady, whoever she is, needs to take a flying leap and never step foot in my mind or writings again.”
I ranted and raved for a few more minutes. Leslie heard me out as she always does. It is one of her talents. When I finished she spoke softly. “Michael, hear me out a moment. Let’s just hypothetically open up to the possibility that this Lady could be real on some dimension or reality. And let’s be open to the possibility that there might be more to dreams than we currently understand. In "the writing" you said, or the angel's words were, “I come to you because in your dreams you ask for me.” We are always talking about having different parts to our complex beings. How there are many people inside us with different moods, needs, personalities, etc. Maybe it’s possible that some part of you did call out to her, even if only in a dream. When you write, you are in a dream like state. Didn’t you say that?”
“Yes. I don’t even know what I write half the time. I can feel my energy change when I write things like that. I am usually inspired afterwards, but this writing has had the opposite effect. Maybe I am getting into this too deep, Leslie. Maybe there are malevolent beings and spirits who are making me write this stuff. Maybe I need to just shut down and not write anymore before I get possessed or something.”
“Michael, you are not going to get possessed. You are too strong willed for that to happen. And I don’t think that evil spirits or beings are giving you "the writings" either. They are too provocative and don’t have an evil tone to them. On the contrary, they are very uplifting although intense and challenging in places. But that can be a good thing. If I can venture to say without you hanging up on me, maybe there is some truth to what the lady had to say, or what you said in “The Messenger of Love”. This angel in your writing has just touched a sensitive spot and pushed some buttons.”
“That’s an understatement if ever I heard one. Why can’t I just be normal and find another therapist or something?”
“Oh come on, Michael, you’ve had your share and some have really helped you. “There’s nothing wrong with contacting or even inventing some of your own. I think for creative artistic people that’s natural. They are more in tune to the inner world and have a need for that realm.”
“Well, if I have created her then I need to create someone else not so harsh. I try so hard to be a good person and to be loving and to have someone come along and tell me I am doing everything wrong hits a cord and hurts. Even if I created her, I might add. Guess maybe I am being too sensitive because dad used to put me down all the time and nothing I ever did was right or pleased him.” Then I laughed. “I am sure a mess. I am so dysfunctional and confused that even the characters I invent, if that is what I am doing, are a lot like my father. I can’t even settle for the memories of my rotten childhood to be enough to torture and haunt me, but I have to create fantasy characters to do the same thing.”
“Put “The Messenger of Love” aside for now.”
In the course of the next few weeks my personal relationship “sucked” as I often referred to things that weren’t working out. Frustrations. Disappointments. Tears. Sleepless nights. Then hugs and embraces and kisses and more intimacy. A few fun times and some laughs. What I call a few more crumbs. Then I would be told that I was too clingy and demanding. My retort was that you are too busy, impersonal and uncaring. The fights went on. The I want to never see you agains. Then the phone calls of how much I miss you and can we get together soon. Etc. Etc.
A few days later I read a book that mentioned that what we resist, persists. That somehow caught my attention. I asked Leslie what she thought of that and she agreed, saying that when our buttons get pushed, it is often because we are at conflict at different levels of ourselves. One part of us is struggling to break out of our self defeating negative behavior patterns, and another part of us is fighting tooth and nail to keep us stuck in our old mind sets and ways of doing things.
“You mean pushing my buttons like that writing, which I am not going to mention.”
“Possibly, Michael. I once heard a writer say that writers write about themselves; that writing is a teaching device by which the writer tries to discover and learn more about themselves along with others and life itself. He said he saw some of himself in everything that he wrote; that he could identify to some degree with each and every one of my characters. So yeah, there just might be something for you to learn from, “M... she stopped and caught herself, that writing you claim to hate. You might think about reading it again.”
“You are no help at all,” I whined, feigning deep hurt. “I am never talking to you again, at least not until tomorrow,” I added, with a snicker. “One good thing I have always liked about you, Les, is that you are honest with me. You don’t say things I want to hear when you believe otherwise. You have a way of pushing my buttons yourself. I guess I can admit that that is a good thing. We all have lots to learn and Lord knows I think I have the Hall of Fame’s worst batting average for bummer relationships. I can attract them and get the ball a rolling, but it always seems to wind up rolling out of my ball park. I guess I am one screwed up dude.”
“Oh, I think there are a few more men on the planet who share your plight, dear friend and a few women too. But at least you want to grow, Michael, and you are trying as best you know how. Maybe these new writings will help you. Haven’t you heard that growth comes through irritation?”
“Yes, and I say that it all sucks like real big time,” I said, trying to imitate the valley girl talk. I guess all this will either make me or break me as the saying goes.”
“It won’t break you, believe me. You are far too strong for that.”
“Well, I’m glad somebody thinks so. As a matter of fact I feel so strong now that I’m going to go have an extra large Turtle Sundae at Graeter’s Ice cream shop with extra nuts and chocolate. No, I think I will have two.”
Leslie giggled. “Bon Appetit!”