“I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end.”–Khalil Gibran
Lately I have found myself quite often turning to the works of Khalil Gibran. There is something in his writing, the way he experienced life and emotion, that speaks to me and pulls at my heart. I find understanding and comfort in his poetry. A kindredness in how he felt and saw things through a similar lens in, even if he was far more talented than I could hope to be. Whatever it is about him, I love nothing more than to disappear in the beauty of his work. Some days I feel very Gibran in so many ways.
Given the Gibran saturation, it’s no surprise that he should creep into my dreams. This dream is a little more “out there” even for me, but I would feel remiss not sharing it. So it was, the other night, I found myself roaming a limitless white space when I came upon a single red thread…
The thread was suspended, stretching seemingly infinite in its length and expanse, with no ending nor beginning; a thin line of red extending beyond the horizon. As I came closer, I could see small beads of water dispersed along it, as if rain drops had fallen from above only moments ago. Though they perched precariously on the thin red line, there was no water to be found spilled.
I clasped my hands behind my back as I leaned forward, too afraid to touch it, too scared to knock the droplets off of the thread. In each drop of water, it seemed that there was life. A reflection of greenery in one, a flash of a city in another. Tiny little universes, all beading along this infinite thread in their perfect capsules. I walked along its length for a time, still so careful not to touch, holding my breath.
After what seemed like an eternity of silence and calm, I heard someone step beside me. I was not startled, however, as this man seemed familiar and kind. In a way, I had the sense he was always there, and had always been watching. And I knew, in that way you can only know in dreams, that he was Khalil Gibran.
“The thread is a precious thing, when you finally see it.” He said.
“What is it, exactly?” I asked.
For a moment we were both silent, staring at the thread. Then, I looked at him, brows furrowing. “But what’s the purpose? To see it?”
He smiled, looking down for a beat. “It’s everything. All that ever was,” he said, gesturing to our right, drawing my gaze towards the infinity point where the thread vanished in distance, “all that is,” he swept his hand forward to where we stood, and then gestured once more to the left, “and all that remains. The hardest part was arriving here in this moment to glimpse it. And now, the second hardest part: you must pluck the thread.”
I gaped at him. “What? No, that doesn’t seem right.”
“It never does, until you do. Pluck the thread.”
I held out a quivering hand and took a small step forward. The closer my fingers got to the thread, the more my hand trembled with anticipation and fear.
I could feel Khalil over my shoulder, “Do you feel the hum? Do you feel the life and all that lies within?”
And I could, just past my fingertips. “I can feel it!” I exclaimed. A vibration, an energy that felt like a soft shock which caused my hair to stand on end. “I can’t touch it, I shouldn’t. It will hurt me. And oh! What if the water drops fall?”
I took my hand back but then felt him hold tight to my wrist, stopping me. “You cannot hurt that which always is, was, and will be. The greatest pains in life can often bring the greatest lessons, the greatest joys. If it is understanding you seek, then this you must do. Or turn back, and live in the nothingness.”
And so I touched the thread, timidly, gently brushing it with my index finger, and felt an indescribable sensation. As if every heart that beat on earth beat in unison with mine in that instant. I felt the breath of all creatures in sync with mine, from the tiniest bacteria to the largest whale. I saw the first gasps of life in newborns, and the dying breaths of the old, the sick, and the young cut short. This crushing rush of energy nearly stole the breath out of me; so overwhelming was this vibration, the vibration of life and death all being..
“Now, pluck the thread.”
And so I did.
In an instant, the silence of the white space erupted in cascades of notes from the thread as the water drops launched from the reverberation, each of the trillions of drops producing its own tone. The deep thrum of the thread resonated through these falling notes, the entire octave scaled up and down in wondrous melody. It was ethereal and unlike anything I have ever heard. The closest comparison I can make to it would be multiple harps being played at once, and with such an intense sound that I swear I saw colors with each note.
And as the notes wrapped around me in the air, I felt the energies from the drops as they splashed against my skin, against the ground. Despair, joy, pain, death, life. Memories of lives long gone and of moments still yet to play out. Still shots of my life entwined with the lives of countless others. I saw and felt myself relive my life all the way up to stepping to up the thread, and I felt tears well in my eyes as I took in the enormity of feeling and sound.
Then, as soon as it began, suddenly everything was reset. My fingertips hovered just above the strings, my breath still caught in my chest. The water droplets were in their places as they always had been. As if I never plucked the thread.
“What-” I could barely speak, but was cut off before I truly began.
“And now, you see.” Khalil murmured softly, walking around me with quiet steps. “We can travel up the thread, and down, we can pluck it, leave memories in the water for us to find along that length. We can even cut it if we so desired. But we always end up right back here, in this moment, in everything.”
We stood in silent contemplation together for a long while. My mind was whirling, wanting to ask him so much more about the thread, of God, and Mary, and love, and life. But my voice failed me until I finally squeaked out a nagging question that flitted to my attention..
“So the memories in the water, is that what these dreams are? Echoes from past and future selves?”
He smiled and as I looked at him, I felt my body rousing, the dream seeping away from me as I tried desperately to hold onto the last fleeting moments in the white space. But as his voice faded into the static of waking life, I heard one last remark:
“You will never go where you have not already been.”