Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Sound of Heaven

The secret in my dream is that the bowl is not the bowl;
the bowl is really only the gong, the tuning fork, if you like
- we are the bowl. We are that which reverberates and that which creates
the multilayered, perfect, breathtaking and physically incapacitating tone.
Mad Baggage, Analyse That!

How do I tell you that I know about your dream?

When I was 26, I would drive to my parents home most every weekend. My mom was dying. My older, older brother lived in Wyoming. My younger, older brother lived in South Carolina then.

I slept in what had once been my older brothers’ bedroom. Mine long had been changed into something else. My mother chose to sleep on the couch in the living room. She said she felt most comfortable with her back pressed up against it. My father slept alone in their bedroom. He didn’t say anything. Her happiness was his concern.

The way the rooms were juxtaposed, when I would go to bed, I could look down past my feet through the dining room to see my mother sleeping on the couch.

One night while reading Esquire Magazine in bed, the thought suddenly struck me that one day, one night, one sometime I would look out at the couch and I would see nobody there. I wondered how I’d deal with the emptiness I saw there, not quite realizing that it reflected the emptiness I’d feel within. That thought stayed inside my head when I went back to reading, when I read myself to sleep to keep from thinking about an empty place where someone once had been.

I awoke the next morning on the tail of a dream. I was leaving a cave that had a doorway like a vault. As I left the cave, I watched the door close slowly, firmly behind me. It sealed itself completely. I was outside. The day was gray, but there was green and life all around me.

I knew immediately what the dream had said and where it came from. I had closed the door on my childhood. There was no going back, only forward. But I knew that I’d keep going because I heard that glorious sound. The sound I had no words for. The sound that every cell that is my body recognized as if I am made of music. The sound that vibrates in me and protects me even now.

We talk about how heaven looks, what we will see, and who we’ll meet there. We conjure images galore and quite fantastic. Even those who don’t believe have mental pictures they refer to. Every language has a word for the place where their god lives.

No one talks about the sound of heaven—the multilayered, perfect, breathtaking and physically incapacitating tone.

No one talks about it. It’s too beautiful and profound.

—me strauss Letting me be


mojo shivers said...

I wish I believed in heaven so I could conjecture about what it sounded like.

Cheryl said...

Yee ha!
Thank you!
Somehow a shared dream is more real, this means a lot.

No, a lot.

Mojo - I have just answered a 'Billy' who doesnt believe in heaven either, although I am not sure whether he was expressing the humanist stance, or suicidal tendencies. It was a very black comment. Quite worrying.

SaffronSaris said...

when i do something, anything, i always remind myself that what i do will be part of my memories that i will fall back on in the future.
Then, i will try my very best to leave happy memories for myself, and others of me too.
thanks for sharing that touching story.

ME Strauss said...

Hello, Mojo,
I wouldn't think that not believing would stop YOUR imagination from being about to conjure something close to an swe-insprirng sound.

ME Strauss said...

How could I not tell you when it's so nice to know that you've heard it too.
You're welcome and thank you
a lot. Yes. A lot :)


ME Strauss said...

Hello saffronsaris
I appreciate your thoughts on keeping your life such that your memories are good for you when you're in your future years. You're right to do that. My memories already are making my life so much fuller and more worth living in ways I never would have guessed,

Doug said...

Stunning, Liz. You and Dante. He wrote about the sound of heaven in Paradiso.

ME Strauss said...

Wow, Doug! Thank you.
I've never been put in Dante's company before. Well, at least not with a positive inference. (smile).

This was a most whole piece to write in that all of me was invested in every word of it. There were no arguments between the thinker and the feeler. The focus was laser direct and complete.


Melly said...

I love coming here because I love the contrast to my own way of thinking.

So while I may not be able to fully relate these places you speak of, I can totally relate to that empty place you write about.
May it be a couch, a bed, or a rocking chair, it is there and we all came to think of it one day and realize it would be empty.

Acceptance of what's to come? Leaving childhood? Perhaps, but that's too grand of a thiking for me and I'll leave that in your capable hands :)

Very nice post. I really enjoyed this one, Liz.

ME Strauss said...

Thank you, Melly,
I hear your heart in the words that you write and that means so much to me.


Doug said...

It shows, Liz. If I get your crack, it's absolutely a brilliant one-liner. Or should I have called you Francesca?

ME Strauss said...

Hi Doug,
I giggle, what can I say? Well entertain ourselves in our own way.


Sheila said...

What a beautiful post.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Sheila,
Thank you.
I'm so glad you found it beautiful.
It was an important thing.

kathy said...

Emptiness that is approaching scares the hell outta me... but we all have to accept it that's true... but why did you have to remind me? :) i was asleep... now I know and it hurts...:)

very nice and soothing in a way to see I wouldn't be the only one feelin it though... :) thanks

ME Strauss said...

Oh Kathy,
I'm sorry you hurt. That's not nice. Nor was it my intension. Please email me if you want to talk.


dog1net said...

Poignant and connective not just to the fibers of our dreams, but to the stars and heaven above. You have not only written an incredible tribute to the memory of your mother, but also a testament of individual faith when we cross the threshold from childhood to adulthood, when we make that first nervous footstep as we begin to put into action what we have dreamed of becoming.
Thanks for coming by for a second read on my last post. As I said in my response, you are a true colleague.

ME Strauss said...

I was looking forward to your reading of this one. I knew there was a lot there, but the tears that came when I wrote it made it hard to see the structure clearly. I knew that I could count on you to translate for me. Thank you.

michaelm said...


I think I experience the sound of heaven whenever I write a song.
Some songs, like stories, seem to write themselves. When I come out of my creative coma, I'm simply amazed that something has been created.
Many of the classical composers felt they were channeling a higher power during the act of composing.
Maybe that's not too far from the truth.
As always, I love your brilliant mind.


ME Strauss said...

Thank you, Michael,
My mind goes where it goes, sometimes I'm lucky enough to get to come along for the ride.

michaelm said...




Cheryl said...

Absolutely beautiful. That's a dream and a sound that can shape a life.

ME Strauss said...

Yeah, Cheryl,
You can bet that it was. Thank you for stopping to say that. :)