By the Venerable Max Woolaver
The church hall was filled with children — running, skipping, letting loose – how easily children get back up on their feet!
There were street folks too — ‘psychiatric survivors’— one man had fastened lengths of multi-coloured wire to his four limbs … another man had a particularly fearsome aspect … we locked eyes and stared at one another long enough for me to see that he couldn’t mean any harm … a young woman had stuffed a pillow under her dress pretending to be pregnant … (to protect herself on the street?) in the daytime she flooded IBM HQ with love letters to the CEO … young drifters slept outside on the ground …
Were there gang members? Were there hidden weapons? There were waves of feeling — joy, exuberance, flashes of beauty…and then waves of anxiety…is this a church? Where are we exactly?
And then — I was playing floor hockey … I was stretched out full length on the floor stopping a ball from going into the net…playing with kids — innocently, earnestly …
After the game — I looked around needing to figure out where I was …
I pushed the big doors open and walked outside and began to walk slowly down the street.
From behind me a short, portly man came running with his necktie flapping … he put his arms around my shoulders and held me close as we walked side by side. He told me it was wonderful to see how I played with the children … that it was a beautiful thing to see … to play so joyously.
His warm and loving purity communicated a sense of the angelic … I felt he was an angel. His warmth and affirmation clothed my inner being … a kind of holiness.
I awoke at some point in the darkness of an early hour. The tall wardrobe with two mirrors reflected light from the street. My eyes, watery with sleep, refracted this light into a tall, delicate, lace-like cross. The cross pulsated in the watery light and spun domes of precisely interlocking arches — the shape of the eye.
The experience of this ‘dream, children, street folk, angel’ and the reflected light I found to be deeply moving.
I took it to be a COVID dream. Beneath the anxiety there is an angelic arm on the shoulder — comforting, affirming, loving.
The following words are from Poetry by Pablo Neruda, the great Chilean poet. They evoke Pentecost for me:
… and suddenly I saw
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.