This is a dream that I had during one sweaty night in July, 2002. The creation of this dream stemmed from a lot of prayer time on the carpet of my local church. I had deeply desired God to speak to me about my life and the disaster that it had become. I wasn’t satisfied with my aspirations or plans, I was in a rut. I needed purpose. I needed a new mission. There was no place to pray at home and I had arrived earlier at church and stayed later that Wednesday night. I needed God so badly and the little prayer room seemed like the only place to get close to Him. I prayed so hard that the Pastor and Praise Band sat around and listened instead of doing their normal “pre-service” warmup. I would inadvertently lead them in the preparation for the services, though I thought I had been alone. Two days later God showed up that early Friday morning, after giving me a very startling dream. On the road next to my church, was a placard from the mayor: “Vision 2020.” Although the sign had been promising a large public works completion date, it now seems rather apt that I can share this dream with you, in 2020.
July 26th 5:34am
I awoke with a start, knowing that I was wasting my life while others were going to die in the flames of Sheol. Wiping away the tears on my face, I began to tell my wife of the dream. After we cuddled, I knew that I should not forget this dream. And moments later, of recounting the dream in my head I began to become lazy and the dream became foggier and foggier until… I lurched myself awake and told my wife:
“I have this opportunity afforded from the Lord, and I can’t waste it. I’m going downstairs to type it out.”
“Ok honey”. She said and drifted back to sleep.
I warmed up some Folgers Crystals and began banging it out.
Thus, the dream:
I had been working in a lecture hall with John William Conrad and John Houseman (from The Paper Chase) was our professor. It was the largest lecture hall that I had ever seen and was apt to have been a concert hall instead, with seating for fifty thousand. There was an area in the middle for most of the lectures but he was giving us, but down where the pit would be off to stage left there was a temporary day care set up and this is where he had elected to hold his smaller class today per my suggestion.
As his teacher’s aid, I had been given a smaller office in this open area where the monitor mixer would be. It was not much, just a seventeenth century desk and piles of books, but as his aid, there was nothing better in life at the time for me. Many friends were in my class. Ted, Fletch, and Beth were there at these smaller middle school sized desks while he held the class with around fifteen others on “classical Greek references in modern times.” It was interesting, but I was more concerned with a pamphlet I had picked up on Islam and the pronunciation of the call to prayer in Farsi, and Arabic and the differences that there were. John William Conrad and I were very much into the whole idea and were wondering about how we could go about putting it into a choral arrangement when the class actually began.
John Houseman had come over to us and began with his monotone monologue that was ever so complex and ever so insightful.
Realizing that John William Conrad was not paying attention, I asked him what was the matter.
He told me that there was an atrocious odor emanating from my feet.
I looked down and I was wearing my old sandals that were falling apart. I had thrown these away years ago because the cushion in the heel did not breathe and had the tendency to trap odors. At least, I thought I had thrown them away.
I excused myself and moved seats.
It was then that we were interrupted by Jeremy Camp
He had come into the theater looking for a place to practice his new song, and did not realize that this was now a lecture hall.
Indeed, on that note, I did notice that many people were milling here and there in the hall. If we had all been collected together, I would say that the number may have been in the hundreds. But this hall was so huge… Again, it would seat fifty thousand… It did not seem like much.
And Jeremy was playing and drawing a crowd to himself and it was nice. But my professor was not happy with the extra ambiance and at that time and asked me to do something about it.
Jeremy stopped playing as I walked over there and we got to talking about the harmonica, or the “fools harp” has he called hit and how it was not to be confused with a “real harp” or a “Jew’s harp”. I don’t really know how he could have confused this with the harmonica, but that’s besides the point. I told him that I was quite skilled with a Jew’s harp and that I would love to jam with him sometime. Dismissing the class, John William Conrad came over and we began to write a song together about our lost love Millicent, the GPS receiver.
And then there was a montage set to K-pop music, which seemed odd, as this was a dream, and I really don’t like K-pop much whatsoever, but here is the montage anyway.
We had our song that moved millions into tears…
We would travel the world with it making up a band…
Losing our true purpose in life…
We became rock-stars…
Hit hard times…
Lived terrible lives…
And eventually robbed a bank…
John and I were sentenced to jail…
Jeremy had gotten his life back on track…
But the end of the world came about…
The streets were filled with the starving…
And they decided to purge the jail system…
But this was just a facade montage, or an illusion of a possible future.
Because it never happened. For at the same moment that we were still sitting there writing the song about Millicent, the secret police exploded our building killing almost everyone.
The police were secret insofar as they were not. Everyone knew about them, everyone knew who they were but we did not talk about them. They had told us months before to vacate the auditorium, that having meetings that discussed our religion was against the law. We had not cared.
We had dared to defy them and their persecution of Christianity. And they had retaliated with extreme prejudice and force. In the explosion (which, mind you, did not happen with Hollywood style special slow motion but normal), many were killed by the fall and the rubble. Those of us on or near where the seats met the floor were knocked back by the concussion and dazed.
There were many people that I tried to help, but (with Hollywood style slow motion) somehow I could not get to them and was captured by the men in all black armor and thrown into the paddy-wagon.
I remember being so mortified and so outraged and so terrified that a government would not care about hurting little babies and women and students from around the globe just so they could have their policies enforced.
It was very akin to watching something in a dream as I recalled in my dream.
And then, as dreams often do, we fast forward.
Life had been slow and awkward and dumb as I lay rotting in jail, no appeals, no trials, deemed an enemy combatant by my belief in a risen Jesus Christ.
Then the hard times hit. And the end of the world came about, and the streets were filled with the starving.
Nothing like a little foreshadowing?
So then they decided to purge the jail system.
And I awoke dead. I was already dead. We were all dead. There was a room full of us. Dead. Laying shoulder to shoulder in a catacomb five feet high, in our orange jumpsuits, waiting to be burned.
It was strange. We were all as I remember us, except around fifteen years into the future, with shaved heads, but what we had was graying.
They had already gassed us and drug us into the basement where they had been purging the prisoners that they could no longer afford to feed.
And it was our day.
I did not know about the rest of the men in this room, but my only crime had been attending an unsanctioned college.
But that did not matter. Nothing in my life mattered anymore. Yet, somehow I realized that I had been separated from my mortal coil and had five minutes before I would be taken home to dwell forever. And then there was five minutes left for me, for us, for all of humanity that was about to be gassed, burned and buried.
And I shot up with the overwhelming knowledge that some could still be saved. It was hard to navigate the brick platform beds, but I began to shake my neighbors out of their slumber. We were not bound we were just lying there and the gas could be negated if you fought it hard enough.
So half of us had been awakened by me and those that I had woken up in our final minutes before the entire catacomb was set on fire. There was not the man-power to burn us all one by one, so the warden had elected to just set the entire basement on fire at a temperature that would not destroy the brick and clay but that would at least catch us on fire.
And we were awake.
I again knew that we were already dead and this was a trance-vision from beyond the grave. Again, somehow I knew that this was not full reality and that there was a spiritual side at work. Our souls had been trapped in that catacomb with our body.
I tried first preaching to those around me but it was too late, I shook them awake if they were not awake already. Some would not even be shaken awake and lay there. But even in their death mask you could see it. A frozen grimace of fear and loathing or it was a serene face of peace and knowing.
John William Conrad however started up instantly at my voice, as if he knew this song. Others already knew it, but in death he had only fear and regret and shame. His mustache had grown long, in five separate pieces, indeed all of our hair was much longer and our nails.
But was I singing? I didn’t think I was singing at first. Just shaking people telling them that this was it. The futility and the understanding were heavy on me. Here was a room full of men, already dead.
Knowing that they were dead. Some lying on their elbows silently chuckling and smiling at me with the peace that only comes through the precious Holy Spirit of God indwelling within them. And their eyes told me that I was with them. And I knew that I was with them but was not ready to resign. But their neighbors. Rigid with the paralysis of fear.
Horrors already growing in their minds, making them urinate themselves as they grew closer and closer to the moment where they would be separated from the light of God for eternity for a life chosen to reject His Word. I could not rouse them, more and more of them had begun to grow deaf to my voice as…
One minute had passed.
I swung my feet around and…
I was transported by the Spirit…
Instantly I was reliving the last seconds of the collapse of the theater before I had been excused to dampen out the singing of Jeremy. But time seemed to be at a standstill for me… And in a flash I had realized why it had been just that second.
It was in that very moment, that very second in my dream-life that I had exchanged the power of doing God’s grace on earth for the power to command God’s knowledge. There was enough knowledge in my head and heart to last a thousand lives already and yet I had craved more.
I had craved more and more and more and wanted nothing else to do but to fill my mind and my heart with information and data. The knowledge was overloading my receptors and capacitors of action and of doing. I had ceased to become effective for this life and had begun to harden my heart to the actions of the Word of God, craving only the knowing of the Word of God.
And in this flash, this brief segment of time, I knew that what I had done was foolish. I knew that I had wasted my time on earth. Was it a flash? How long had I been standing here?
Suddenly behind me I heard a crowded room, Before me still was the frozen-in-time spot where I had traded action and deeds for the lust of the mind. And behind me, as I turned, I realized that it was Helsinki. I had been here before in 1993.
But this was not Helsinki at all but JFK International. And it was 1996. This was TWA Flight 800. And I was weeping as I stood by the departure gate. Singing with all my heart and mind to the people getting on board!
You need to repent
This is your last moment alive
You must repent
You have to repent
Seek the Lord
while you are alive
And I could not bear to sing to them but I sand anyway, and as I would sing, some chose not to hear me. Another man stuck out his tongue and honest-to-God gave me a raspberry. Others looked shocked at the crazy person allowed to be here. Others were wondering why I was bothering with them in my orangish grey jumpsuit and why I smelled of smoke.
And I looked in the line, and this was the last of the first group of pre-borders. There were still over two hundred to get on board. And I knew there would not be enough time for me to reach them all.
In their eyes – the impatience of the coming day… The waiting… The stamping of feet. The huffing and glancing at watches. All I saw was their self-importance and not a shot or a glance inward to subject themselves to their own delusion… For they were not more important that day to the engines that failed. To the mystery that still surrounds their death. But I sang anyway. And as I sang, the line dissolved into three Mennonite women who sang as well.
Theirs was a different song but it was achieving the same results.
You must repent!
You must repent!
For the hour draweth nigh!
Thou doest know!
Thou doest know!
That your heart cannot betray!
And in their accents, the song rhymed and sounded pure to the (and I turned again) now orphans pouring into a schoolhouse in maine. They looked at me and smiled as if to say: “The dead are much easier to preach to. For they already know the truth.”
I was slipping away into the ether of eternity. All the scenes of my life were fading into one long drama. I was reliving everything I had ever done or had ever aspired to do. All my hopes and all my past mistakes. All of my life continued… I would awake in heaven… Or just awake.
I awoke with a start, knowing that I was wasting my life while others were going to die in the flames of Sheol.
Pauly Hart is a public speaker, actor, painter, singer, poet, and story-teller. His main focus today is writing. His latest works have involved novellas in the vein of “Classical Horror” from the Christ-centered world-view. The Horror story is the story where the character has to survive until the end. What better chance for survival than in Christ? Pauly writes not for the churchy types, but for those who would pick up a Stephen King book, giving them an alternative to the spirits. Pauly writes so that the Holy Spirit will have room made for him in modern day literature. He runs several websites all bent on leaving the mind of the atheist awash with the glory of heaven. You can find him at PaulyHart.com