Journal excerpt: I’m coming up the my ninth [re-]birthday! I really am!
Nine years ago, last May, I went for extensive hospital tests (so we’re talking about May 2007), and as I sat on the end of the bed the oncology consultant returned to the room. He said,’ I’m guessing , Mr Gardner, you’re a person who likes to be told things quickly’. I nodded. He was professional and yet sensitive, and then said, ‘You have oesophageal cancer’.
The rest of the day was a blur. I can only describe it as total soul loss. It was as if I was disconnected from reality, that my being had received a hefty kick n the backside and been propelled a mile alway; and as people spoke to me, it was as if I was at the far end of tunnel, struggling to hear, struggling to comprehend, struggling to reply.
Sleep came late that night, as I thought about that awful news and further tests they were to do, and later, my memory was jolted to a dream I had had just weeks before.
Did you know God speaks through dreams – ancient sacred texts are full of such events. That some chemical discoveries (benzine?) were found when a scientist had (night) dream. And, that we’re continually in a light-sleep, daydream state throughout even our waking moments (but the physical events of the day ‘crowd out’ that dream-like, imaginative state. It’s the way we’re wired up! To have dreams.
So, there was this angel, all green. Absolutely green. Green eyes, green skin, green clothes. Everything was green. So much green, that it was difficult to know where his body stopped and his unusual clothing started. He didn’t have any wings, but I just knew I was in the company of an extraordinary being. He must have been about 6ft 6 inches, well over 2m high and ‘solid’; he was built like a Olympic wrestler. And, there he was, standing in my garden as I looked out the living-room window. I have to admit I was somewhat confused and perplexed.
A dream it may have been, but I was aware. I knew what was going on. In that dream I was thinking and reasoning to with myself, and an internal dialogue was taking place about my next course of action. The very next moment I was in the garden, and just a few feet away from the angel. He started to walk away, as if to leave.
Immediately, my mind went into overdrive as I sought to delay him. The only thing I could think, was to ask him a question, to ask him if there was anything he needed.
‘Water,’ he said.
Immediately, I found myself in the kitchen, reaching for a glass and started to fill it with water. Even then, I was thinking of how to prolong this extraordinary encounter, and so I only half filled the glass. Surely, I thought, that won’t quench his thirst, and he’ll stay even longer.
I went back to the angel in the garden, and he took the glass of water, and drank. He turned slightly and started to leave. Again, in my dream I was reasoning how to make the most of this encounter. I knew I had enough time, probably, only for one question. I thought to myself, should I ask, ‘Is there a God’, but I had answered that one myself – after all, here’s an angel, a messenger from God. Still moving towards the garden wall as if to leave, the angel stopped monetarily, probably anticipating my one and only question.
‘What is God like?’, I asked. He replied, ‘Love(ly)’.
The reply was more of a ‘feeling’, an experience, rather than just words, and so his reply could have been ‘love’ or ‘lovely’. I like to think that in that Otherworldly, brief encounter where experiences are as important as words, and maybe, more so, that it was both of those words, and more! And, then the angel vanished.
I woke up, and over the next few weeks and months researched the Green Angel, and found that he appeared in the writings of at least two or three cultures, is a messenger of Life itself, and in Islam has an association with water, the water of Life.
I’m recounting this dream because it meant something to me, and still means a lot to me. There’s just a little bit more to this encounter. Timing.
This dream occurred a few weeks before that shocking diagnosis of cancer, and – the sceptic that I was, then – had it occurred after the diagnosis I would have explained it away as the mind trying to ‘comfort’ itself. But, it happened before all this, and was given at that time for me to ponder upon at a later stage, that is, at the time of diagnosis.
Some may discount dreams as the random firing of nuerons, or this dream as the result of a piece of undigested cheese laying in my stomach, but to me, it meant something profound, something reassuring. Howver, tough the time was ahead (and it was ), I took some comfort and strength from that dream. I knew that what would happen, would happen, and there was life beyond this.