I felt like my life was going nowhere, until a dream unlike any I’d had before.
by Patricia Small — Posted in Tell Your Story on Jan 6, 2017
I was afraid of the water. Always had been. I couldn’t even swim.
This pool, though, was in another world. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Its surface was completely clear. There was no danger here of drowning—the water was extremely buoyant and unnaturally still. I stood in the mysterious water and swept my tired arms from side to side, enjoying the silky feeling of it against my skin. The temperature was perfect, as if it had been prepared just for me.
I closed my eyes and eased onto my back. Not an ounce of tension remained in my body. I had no fear at all. I was happy. Finally happy. Completely at peace . . .
Sunlight was flooding my bedroom. I sat up straight in bed and glanced at the clock. It was still too early to get up for work, but I wasn’t tired. For the first time in months, I felt energized, refreshed, as though a fog had lifted. I was at peace. Just like in the dream.
The past year had been anything but peaceful. I was 34 and felt like my life was going nowhere. My mother’s health was failing. My job, as a secretary for a large church, wasn’t working out. I was about to be divorced. The other day, I found myself in the children’s clothing section at the department store and it hit me: I would probably never have kids.
I called out to God but I couldn’t get a clear answer. I’d always relied on my faith. For the first time in my life, though, doubts overwhelmed me. I sought help from a counselor. That only made things worse. “God doesn’t fight our battles for us,” the therapist told me. “It’s up to you to dig yourself out of this.”
Up to me? I could barely get out of bed most days, let alone dig myself out of this mess. I wondered if the only way to end the pain was to end myself. Last night, alone in my bedroom, I made one last plea. Two words whispered into the darkness: “Help me.”
Was the dream an answer? The answer? Did it mean my dark days were over? Or was it just the wanderings of my imagination? I didn’t want to lose the feeling it gave me, the peace that had washed over me in those crystal waters. But dreams faded with time; they had no power in the real world.
The image of that clear, refreshing water was still on my mind when I got to work. I walked down the long hallway to deliver some files, but in my head, I was somewhere else. A coworker, Kris, stopped me.
“Tricia,” she said. “Can I talk to you?”
Kris was a graphic designer. I didn’t know her very well, though we’d grabbed lunch once. Back when I’d been feeling more social. Before I’d all but given up.
“Of course,” I said.
“I had a dream about you last night,” Kris said.
“A dream? About me?”
“It was so vivid, so real, I had to tell you.” Kris took a deep breath.
“You were very tired and were lying on the ground,” she told me. “You were so still, I thought you were dead! I walked over to you just as two men in white came up. ‘We’re going to help her,’ they said. Then they put you on a stretcher and carried you off.”
Had Kris picked up on how I’d been feeling lately? On some level, she must have been worrying about me. That would explain her dream. But Kris wasn’t finished.
“The scene changed,” she said. “The men took you from the stretcher and lowered you into a small pool of water. It reminded me of the pool of Bethesda in the Bible. The water was so crystal clear. When you broke the surface, you came back to life. You started playing in the water, floating in it, having such a good time. I wanted to join you. But I couldn’t. It was just for you.”
The pool. The water. That feeling of peace. There was no way Kris could have known what I’d seen the night before. Not in this world.
“Kris,” I said, after a long moment, “I had a dream too. . . .”