When I have free time, that almost always means time to cultivate solitude. Today I am reclining at home and reading Hard Times by Charles Dickens. Yesterday I rode the J train to Chambers Street in Manhattan and walked back to Brooklyn over the Brooklyn Bridge. Resting in the northern end of Cadman Plaza Park, in a scruffy little patch rounded by ring of trees, I prayed a rosary under the watchful gaze of William Jay Gaynor, mayor of New York at this time a century ago.
While meditating on the infancy narratives of Jesus, given to us in the Gospel of Luke, I prayed about my new "infancy" in religious life. I have been reborn into a dream, my dream. This dreamer announced his dream a long time ago. Many people have since offered salutations and blessings as the dreamer has awakened to the reality he conceived. Now the dream has left the womb and is alive in the world; it is being welcomed and tended with constant care. In a matter of time, it will be presented to the world and consecrated for the world we dream will come. As the dream matures, the dreamer hopes it will be found in the high places, in temples and in places where all that is holy is honored; but also in the sanctuary of every dreaming soul.
But today the dream is young and fragile. And this dreamer does not always know what he is saying or understand what he is doing.
Riding the rattling train with screaming babies and scheming panhandlers, I felt like I was a nobody and everybody else was a nobody. Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge with the crowds and arriving in the park with no one at my side, I felt like I had broken away from everyone. I had left the past for dead; I was present to none but myself, and only to my dependence and uselessness; to the future I was unalive.
Does the life I left behind live on in the dream? Who am I, the dreamer or the dream? Am I both? Are they two or one reality? Has the dreamer been consumed by the dream?
In the midst of these melancholic wanderings, the spirit of prayer warmed me through, and I felt the anchorage of conviction secure my straining soul. And all the souls I had condemned as nobodies were watching me. We are waiting for you. You must find us. The ones who found you and sent you here are counting on it.
A bridge is always a bridge between worlds. It does not separate worlds; it joins them. The bridge is like the dream.
This must be my faith: that the life I have lived gives rise to the dream I live today. This must be my life: to carry that life to the other side of the bridge. This must be my prayer: that the dream I live raises the life that I have lived and loved.