Each night I lie in bed weary from the day, yet unable to fall asleep. As my body relaxes, my soul rises to judge my choices of the day and the ones before. The guilt, jealousy, and fear I work so hard to repress consume me. Restlessness is the only constant. The more still I remain, the more my mind races and the deeper the questions stab.
My sleep is light, allowing me to remember my dreams. As my conscious life has become a struggle, I look forward to the unconscious wandering in my dreams. It is a welcome freedom in my life.
In the dreams my soul drifts, each time arriving at a stone watchtower. Nothing special about this tower, yet I know there is a reason for my visit. When I try to find the tower, I never arrive. The moment I forget my purpose, the path opens. The haze clouding my journey always seems to fade when I feel the darkness will swallow me.
In the tower I climb the winding stairs, relishing the crisp air and soaking up the comfort of the night. At the top the goodness of the stars showers upon me and the beauty of the earth radiates up to me. Above is the infinite sky and below, a magnificent garden. Both cause me to wonder whether I will ever get closer than the gaze I enjoy each night.
I long for the day when I am free to dance in the garden below. I wonder if that day will ever come and question if I even deserve it. Rather than haunt myself with the same questions night after night, I am content to focus on the moment, merely admiring life as it changes before my eyes.
One night I notice my watchtower is not the only one positioned to admire the garden. As I look across at my newfound neighbor, I see that my eyes are not the only ones able to allow the beauty to enter. Perched in the neighboring tower is a magnificent creature as beautiful as the garden below and as enchanting as the sky above.
In the nights that follow, I not only climb the stairs anticipating the blessed perspective but also of gazing upon my new friend. Night after night, I find beauty across the way as well as down below. As the nights pass, however, although we share the same garden, my friend doesn’t see the beauty I see, nor does my friend see me.
I motion to my neighbor, screaming to the person who has become the focus of my search. No response. The eyes across from me are fixed to the sky, and sadness shrouds my friend’s face. I desperately want my neighbor to see what I see, to feel what I feel.
My desires turn to frustration. I too became sad. Now each night I visit, sorrow rather than joy fills me. My nightly wandering becomes as painful as my daily searching. How does something so full of life transform into such a source of pain?
Searching for an answer, a tear runs down my face and falls to the ground. Following its course I am reminded of the beauty below. Suddenly the garden is more glorious than ever. My eyes pan and awaken to beauty I have seen but never truly known. I allow the grace to reach up to me and the possibilities of life to spray down upon me. I set my eyes free upon the garden to wander and renew my faith in life. I know eventually my energy will overflow and carry me to its source.
Admiring the garden, my eyes rise to the sky then fall back to the ground. The undulation follows my breathing. With each inhale I look up, and each exhale directs my eyes downward.
As I wonder what is commanding my eyes, my vision falls upon my friend in the other watchtower. But this time my companion is not sad. Finally I feel the gaze from another warm me as I have intended mine to do so many nights before. Our eyes meet. We smile. It is time to descend.
At the bottom our eyes reconnect. Guided by our gaze we meet between the two towers. Unsure which way to go, we hesitate. Who should take the lead? Who should follow? Our stare deepens, awaiting a sign or some direction. The smiles return to our faces. Our hands join. The grip tightens, pulsing through my whole body. Our feet step in the same direction. We enter the garden.
The glory around us surpasses the beauty experienced from above. Each step the grace penetrates deeper—protecting, nourishing, guiding. Fears and doubts fade. My perspective widens. For the first time I can see – not just through my eyes but through those of another. The search is over.