Shame

A dream this morning around 2 AM.


Wearing a loose loin cloth, I sat on the edge of a square stone slab in a garden. Across a channel of water through a stone portal I glimpsed a beautiful light-filled vista. I had a heavy burden on my back and one at my feet. My hopes were to find a way across the channel – perhaps only ten feet.

Perhaps there were stones to step on, but I realized that the stones were statues of holy people in the oriental style, with exaggerated drapery that would puncture skin if stepped on. Undeterred, I stretched my leg forward, but they shrank unwillingly into the water. I considered throwing my burdens across the gap, but they were too heavy. I resolved to walk on the water, but that visualization was rejected.

I felt a hand on my back and knew that it was my beloved. When I turned to look, the lady indeed had her hair piled up on her head. Her almond eyes were care-worn. Deprivation had dulled the long, lustrous black hair – worse, pests had infested it around the neckline, where it was cut away. As I watched, the skin stretched taut and thinned, losing its glow. Her hand reached up to my shoulder for support. A deep wound on the back of her hand was covered by a thick, hard scab.

I turned to gather her in my arms as she testified, “This world is breaking my heart.” Seeking comfort for my own situation, I began “It is the same for me,” but she had collapsed, her soul escaping with a final sigh.

And I was left with my shame and guilt, to have forgotten the plight of one so much more deserving than I.