The Dream

A Wink at the Invisible

Winking at the Invisible (Maria Woodworth-Etter)

As she aged, Maria Woodworth-Etter repeatedly stated, “I’d rather wear out than rust out.” I agree.

With age, comes weariness, and I was feeling exhausted. The thought of lying on a comfy mattress without a care in the world was very tempting.

Then, I had a dream…

I was very comfortably lying on a beautiful, soft mattress, decked with lacey white silk sheets and multiple fluffy fringed pillows—all white. My body was draped in a white lacey dress covering me from chin to toes. It was a ballroom dress right out of Cinderella. My full skirt lay stretched out like a fan, across the entire mattress. I lay directly in the middle of the mattress, but sunken into a body-shaped crevice, quite like a grave. In fact, that was the significant part. I was dead.

The mattress was placed on a flatbed trailer pulled by two horses, and was held securely in place by a wooden framework that was decorative and intricately hand-carved. Above my head was a seat for the driver, a small, bright red, cushioned seat, which bounced up and down on the bumpy road—except there was no one in the seat. I was alone in my horse drawn hearse.

Though I was laying on the mattress, I watched the unfolding of this scene from high above. The two beautiful black horses wore bright red plumes on their white-streaked foreheads. Their heads nodded gayly and their hoofs pranced high in the air as in a march. I, on my white mattress, being the only show in the parade, was pulled down the road alongside the school towards the tall school gate. Not only was I the only show, but I was the only one watching.

Disturbed from my restful solitude by voices, I flung myself into a sitting position, and I was no longer watching from above, but was back in my body, alert and aware that the principal, and a woman with a child, had just crossed the cricket pitch and were entering the school grounds. I recognized the principal, turned, and waved. I wasn’t sure who the others were, but he was explaining to them who I was. They waved back. I smiled contentedly and turned towards the gate, crossed my hands over my breast and lay down in the crevice of my mattress closing my eyes. The horse-drawn flatbed turned right as I rode out of the campus, beneath the school’s tall black gate, and disappeared into a fading, misty village.

I shared the dream with a friend who came to visit. She was a psychologist. I’m not sure why I told her my dream, for I dreamt this a year and a half ago. My friend offered a brief interpretation which led me to think more about my dream, and I began to make connections. As I pondered, I saw so much more, and soon claimed its inspiring message.

When I was looking from above at the scene of the horse drawn hearse, I had not yet accepted my position in the mattress. But when the principal, the woman, and the child entered, I found peace. I jumped into my body and was able to wave them into their future. As founder of the school and the previous principal, I was tired, and happily taking my leave. I passed it on to the next, and the next, and the next generation. Then I passed on into the misty village, where no one followed me.

Having seen this from above, I have a feeling that when I do leave, I may have the joy of looking down on you (only in the most respectful and admiring way). That dream was not the first time I was high in the sky, looking down. The first time was in 2011 when I experienced a strange seizure. It is no coincidence that when this happened, I too, was walking across the cricket pitch at mid-day. It was a bright, beautiful sky day.

In the middle of the pitch, I made an abrupt stop, finding myself spiralling into the air at lightning speed. I twirled continually, but wasn’t dizzy. Reaching a great height, I looked down and saw the roof of the school, the roof of the hostel, the roof of my son’s house, and the entire cricket pitch. How I came down from that high place, I don’t know … a missing piece in the puzzle.

It was no dream—it was very real. The second time I found myself looking down from a great height was in a dream. But it’s interesting—both took place in the same spot at the same time of day; beautiful blue-sky days.

The seizure I described was caused by a brain tumour. A near death experience, but not the first. As a teenager, I survived a car accident in which another died. As a seven-year- old, I had a 50-50% chance of survival when I had open heart surgery, a surgery that was still new and experimental. I went on to survive the delivery of my first child when the hospital staff thought I wouldn’t, and had gathered around my bed to pray. Then, six weeks after my “white mattress dream,” I underwent a major surgery for a very rare condition. The surgery was done to save me from becoming an invalid, and left me with 13 screws and rods in my neck. I thought that surgery was the cherry on the cake—the surgery of surgeries—and would be my ending. That would have been okay. As I said, I’m tired.

Even though heaven sounds quite heavenly, I have a feeling my days have been counted and there are a few more. On my white mattress I was dead, but I made a point of popping up in gleeful resurrection to wave goodbye. I may be tired, but I still have a few tricks left up my sleeve—yet to be written.

Why do we fight against believing in the good stuff, like angels? Like paradise? Or deny what is real, but invisible? I’m happy to bank on hope, on miracles, on guardian angels, on peace, love and joy; they are fine with me. And I’m content to smile, look up, and wink. We have a private joke … me and Him.

Thoughts from Psalm 63

God of my life, I worship you,
In this weary wilderness.
My heart thirsts for you as in desert.
My heart longs for you.
I think about you, God, in my sleep.

I see visions in the sacred place.
My dreams feed me with life-giving hope
Arms wave in banners of praise to you,
I praise you … I praise you … I praise you,
I enter your holy place.
I think about you, God, in my sleep.

I am filled with limitless hope,
My joy leaps up to heaven
Like the guest I will eat at the banquet,
A table set for me.
I think about you, God, in my sleep.

“I know about one of Christ’s followers
who was taken up into the third heaven 14 years ago.
I don’t know if the man was still in his body when it happened,

but God certainly knows.”
II Corinthian 12:2

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