Mid 1970's

The Tree That Saved My Life



At the outset I was falling. And I was falling from quite high up, falling through the sky. I don't know how it came about or how I got into this situation, but I had no parachute and I was coming down fast. I was in trouble.

Way down below I could see the earth, green and vast. The air tugged and tore at my clothing as it whistled past my body. My stomach was tight from dread as I realized I could never survive the impact that was to come.

I noticed that I was falling into a field, and there was a large tree right in the center of it. I had a sense inside that this tree was my only hope and it became the focus of my attention as I thought, "Maybe I could somehow grab one of its branches as I am falling past." With luck it would be supple enough to break my fall without cracking off. Whether my reasoning made sense or not didn't matter because I was doomed anyways, and the tree was suddenly right there.

Whoosh! The branch gave, but refused to snap, bending down in a graceful arch to within inches of the ground. Unbelievably, not only did the limb break my fall, it absorbed perfectly the momentum of my plunge. At the very last, as my hands let go, I flipped backward in an acrobatic tumble, landing upright on my feet. Astounded? I couldn't believe it.

In my mind I replayed the last segment. What a phenomenal show! I should have had an audience. It should have been captured on film. I replayed it again. I could hardly wait to tell my friends. They'd never believe it. I gave myself another mental screen replay. And another. What a remarkable death-defying performance! I bowed to acknowledge the applause and adulation of imaginary friends. Yes, I was tremendous.

My exulting was cut short, however, when I became distracted by the sound of a small airplane that had flown directly over me way up in the sky. It almost seemed to hover as it dropped something from its belly. As I watched, a parachute opened like a great white blossom.

A sense of expectancy came upon me. I soon saw that it was a woman dressed in white. It seemed as if she were a bearer of tidings of some sort, and a curiosity seized me. This messenger from the sky, what news would she bring?

She descended slowly, almost unbearably so. I waited and watched as she drifted down to where I stood. She landed upright on her feet not more than ten feet away, her expression serious and grave. I wanted her to speak, to say something. Instead, she shook her head. With severe silence she communicated perfectly: "No."

Her look devastated me. I stood trembling as I watched her turn and walk away.

But I knew what it was about. I understood. My glorying had been stupid and ill-conceived. Like a good clunk on the head, this "sent one" brought me to my sense again. She helped me to appreciate and value a truth that I had too quickly forgotten. It was the TREE that saved my life.

At the end of my dream, I turned and there was a theater marquis, the kind with all those lights flashing, proclaiming the single word, "MARANATHA"... Upon entering the theater...

I wake.



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