I had a remarkable dream once, well, it was more like watching a movie while I was asleep because it had a plot, an unfolding story, and an ending.
It was so vivid and realistic I will never forget it.
I have been thinking about this dream since the pandemic began and as I watched the impact of the virus as it spread around the world.
My dream was kind of like that, but it was not about a pandemic.
In the dream, as I was going about my routines one day where I worked at the time I heard about some big breaking news so I turned on the TV to find out what it was.
At first, it was difficult to fathom and just simply too unbelievable to even bother thinking about.
A worldwide group of scientists had been conducting a study, which had not been publicized at all, to determine once and for all if human beings actually have a soul, a separate spiritual entity that lives on after death.
They said they found irrefutable evidence that people do not have souls and there is no afterlife, that the concept is all a fantasy created by humans because, as far as we know, we are the only living things that know we will die.
After all, how can anyone be very happy knowing the only reality they will ever have is the here and now, and it all ends permanently at death?
I and about everyone else in the world initially dismissed the findings out of hand and went about our lives.
But as the information on how they determined the absence of a soul, which had to do with genetics and a new discovery about evolution and how rational thinking was introduced into humans (not from God or from aliens), the logic started sinking in with many.
In fact, more and more people started believing it, and eventually a wave of near panic began sweeping around the world, like a tsunami of despair.
Crime rose dramatically and sharply, drug abuse became a way of life for countless people. Nobody cared any longer. The atmosphere was one of chaos because what did it matter? We live. We die. That’s that.
People were shouting that everyone should do as they please because there is nothing else, all that matters is the present. Take what you want, do what you want.
A new euphoric drug was discovered by grinding up old human bones and people started robbing graves. (Remember this was a dream where anything can happen.)
Sensible people all around the world tried to keep order, but the chaos kept growing and spreading like an incurable, deadly virus that created such dread and hopelessness nothing mattered any longer. Law and order was rapidly breaking down.
When I began to realize it was spreading to where I lived I knew the only recourse was survival, so I packed everything up and, with my two German shepherds, headed to the mountains, where I knew I could survive.
I also realized my own faith had been shattered and the despair was working on me as well.
It really was like a psychological plague that dismantled reason, civility and faith, turning people into more primitive beings.
As I was establishing some sort of existence in the mountains, a group of heavily armed marauders was nearby so rather than take a chance on facing them my dogs and I took off through the woods.
We were running through the trees and I was at that point on the verge of just giving up, sitting down and waiting on what I knew would be an inevitable fate.
But as we ran and reached the top of a small ridge, descending to a small, rumbling stream, like the ones around here I grew up around, something happened that stopped me in my tracks.
The dogs were panting and both gazed at me at the same time.
What I saw was my smiling, happy best friends.
I looked into their eyes and realized they were far more than just eyes. In that amazing moment it did not matter what anyone said or discovered, because what I saw lives forever.
In their innocent eyes, I saw the essence of life: Love.
And I saw hope.
I woke up with tears in my eyes, and a smile on my face.
— Charles Boothe is a reporter for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and can be reached at email@example.com