This morning is the anniversary of the day I was admitted to the hospital for treatment of an infection that eventually resulted in the amputation of my left foot and the beginning of a long year of rehabilitation. I wouldn’t have remembered the anniversary except it was called to my mind by a very unusual and startlingly vivid dream last night. I rarely dream in color but this was spectacular! As I watched, someone in a fiery red robe pushed a door open in front of me revealing a bright landscape shaped by rolling spring green hills, shelves of deep blue mountains retreating into a distant horizon all gathered below a sky of perfect turquoise with white clouds roaming its wide expanse. As I looked at this stunning scene I also felt but did not see a shell of darkness extending behind me stirring memories of the shadowy parts of the extraordinary year gone by.
I didn’t know what the dream meant and as I write this I still don’t. It could mean that a long journey through many difficulties is ending for me and is about to be replaced by something better except I don’t need anything better. I wouldn’t trade this past year for anything (an almost universal feeling among amputees). The person I am and the health,strength and joy that fill me today constitute a miraculous gain not loss. So what did my vivid dream really mean? Right now I don’t think it necessarily had a meaning; all I know is that I woke to what for me is a fresh new year filled with a peace that has erased all my nagging anxieties and substituted a powerful feeling of optimism about all of life including its challenges. I know I have the strength to deal with tough times because I have done that. But most important I have beheld the presence of a God whose love transformed the darkness surrounding my year long passage into the same beautiful light I saw in my dream, the light in which I live every day.