By Patrick Balerio, VOICE Vendor
I would like to dedicate this to Ms. Wilma Fisher at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. She epitomizes the essence of mercy, not only through her profession, but also through her gestures and words. She inspires hope in all of those she serves.
It is my intent to relate two visions that occurred during sleep, and the messages they contained. The most recent occurred in January; the other vision occurred approximately 30 years ago. In as concise a manner as possible, I will try to convey my mental health status at the time of each vision. I will depict the recent vision first and the earlier vision last.
Upon recalling the darkest periods of my life, I have to take pause and sigh. Imagine being suicidal and fully immersed in compulsive, self-destructive behaviors, and then going to the emergency ward to seek help only to be turned away. One would lose all sense of hope, as I did.
In the vision that occurred recently, I was walking through a barren wasteland wherein there was no sign of life: no plants, no animals, no bugs, no people. I entered a realm where genocide had taken place. I was beside myself with sadness. To say that I was lachrymose would be an understatement. Despite having battled depression, trauma, and other mental health maladies for more than 30 years, nothing could have prepared me for the depth of despair I felt during this vision. I awoke crying tears of the most profound sadness I had ever experienced. The planet in my vision was bereft of mercy.
When I was approximately 25, I started to take stock of my mental health status. As I noted in a previous article on suicide and mental health, I had asked myself what was wrong with me. Why was I doing what I was doing, and why couldn’t I stop? I was not totally clueless, but I was perplexed. At least I had the capacity for self-evaluation and introspection. One only realizes how great his despair is upon trying to connect the dots, trying to figure out what in his life has gone awry.
It was about this time that the first vision occurred. It was a dream within a dream. I was asleep at home, and in my sleep I dreamed I was at a park napping. My sister Lydia was also taking a nap about five feet from me. In my dream within a dream, four personalities appeared to me: three women kneeling at the feet of Jesus.
Bear in mind that this was a vision within the sleep state of a dream. It was so profound that, still within the dream, I woke up so that my sister and I could go to where Jesus was going to speak. When I woke fully, I realized the import of my vision.
I knew what I saw, but I had to clarify the vision with an authority figure. I spoke to a Brahmin priest, inquiring as to whether or not those personalities in my vision were actually there, or if they were only a dream. I was told that when exalted personalities (seraphim) do appear in one’s sleep, they are actually there.
Needless to say, when this vision took place, I knew that my life would ultimately be redeemed and spiritual reconciliation was in my future. It only goes to show that mercy is cast upon even the most fallen.
In the past 51 months, it has been my privilege to bear witness to so many random acts of kindness. It truly rekindled my faith in humanity. Were it not for mercy, we would all be bereft of humane, gracious qualities. I know now that it is exigent that we use our intelligence properly in order to process all of the events in our lives in a wise manner.
I wish to thank all of the patrons of the Denver VOICE for the intelligent manner in which they present themselves, for their kindness, their altruism, but, most of all, for the mercy they extend to their fellow human beings. It is with the utmost respect and consideration that I extend this message of mercy and hope. ■