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Keith John Paul Horcasitas

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A look at dreams and heaven, as well as an imagined experience of dying to new life - crossing over to the other side of being with God - and how that relates to the "I Can Only Imagine" song by MercyMe.

("I Can Only Imagine" Song by MercyMe - YouTube:

Pic from "Song of Angels," CD ® Freddy Hayler © 2001: "I Can Only Imagine,"

("I Can Only Imagine" Song by MercyMe - YouTube:

Dreams have always fascinated me – especially when I can actually remember details from them.  Like John Lennon noted in his Imagine song, “You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.”  And I, like most folks, really get goose bumps when I hear Martin Luther King's famous “I Have A Dream” speech!  Sometimes, I've actually noticed how much in sync a dream's message may have been with some resolution to a concern or problem that I had been coping with.
From a Biblical standpoint, it is amazing how important dreams have been for even conveying God's Word to us, as with Daniel & Joseph from the Old Testament and Joseph in the New Testament.  Since we all almost spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, there really must be an important reason for us to rest, including what some may call the psychic release that we all need which dreams seem to provide for us.
While I don't put much stock in an over emphasis on what Freud and Jung noted about dreams, they certainly made some great contributions to helping us better understand the complexities and impact that they can have upon us.  It appears that the our understanding of REM (Rapid Eye Movements) associated with the dream state has helped us accentuate the need for all us to get an adequate amount of sleep for physical and emotional health and well-being.
When we had one of our children go through a sleep study to help rule out seizure disorder, it was neat to learn more about the integral facets of getting a good night's rest.  I had to sleep deprive our son by making him stay up late one night and then wake him up early the next morning to go for the tests, which he handled so well; thankfully, he was cleared of the problem.
As I am into Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), one of my all-time favorite tunes by Mercy Me is entitled “I Can Only Imagine,” which relates about a dream-like state as to what one will see when entering heaven.  The song was released in 2001 when I recalled hearing a story from a friend about someone who had an experience related to the tune.
Bill, a friend and also a social worker from California was working at a hospital in San Diego that would start his work shift in a brief interfaith-like prayer for the patients and staff, which included other nurses, aides, therapists and doctors.  Bill noted that was such a great way to set the tone for what they knew was not just a job but almost a ministry.
Bill told me that once during a work break back in late 2001, a coworker told him that she had gotten the Mercy Me cd that included that “I Can Only Imagine” song which we'd been hearing on the radio.  This was long before there were YouTubes and iPods and Napster was just getting going, so most music was shared per cds.  Bill, like me, couldn't believe how inspiring and powerful that song was.
Later that day, Bill happened to meet a patient who was declining rapidly from a chronic heart condition.  The patient reportedly shared with Bill the varying ways he and his wife were coping with depression and how his faith was certainly being tested.  The patient reported being very restless the night before and that he'd had a vivid dream that he couldn't understand.
Trying to be a good listener and “starting where the patient is at” as he and I had learned in Social Work 101, Bill validated the patient’s concerns and allowed him to talk more about it if he wanted to.  Next, the patient wanted to describe his dream, so Bill sat down next to the patient’s wife while the client sat up in the hospital bed and began to describe the dream.

 Bill told me that the patient went on to note that in his dream, he sensed that he was about to die soon and that he visualized that he would be going through the pearly gates and felt surrounded by God's Glory.  Due to the incredible impact of that supernatural experience with the divine, the patient said he didn't know what to do – whether to dance or be still, to stand or kneel, to sing or be quiet?  Next thing you know, he said, the patient told Bill that he was back in the hospital room.
After Bill heard the description about the patient’s dream, Bill noted that he had trouble keeping a non-emotional demeanor, as his eyes had begun to tear.  The description the patient had given to Bill was almost word for word for what is the Chorus in the “I Can Only Imagine” song that he and his co-worker had been talking about:
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
So Bill reported that he told the patient and his wife about the recently released song by Mercy Me that certainly sounded a lot like what he had experienced in the dream.  The patient noted that he had not heard the song and mainly listened to Country Music, but mentioned that he would like to hear the song.  Bill mentioned to the patient that he would try to see if he could get the co-worker’s cd for him to borrow the next day.  That hospital unit apparently used to keep a few cd players on hand to let patients use them if they wanted to.
The next day, the patient got to hear the “Imagine” song for himself and noted that it brought him and his wife much comfort.  While the patient did not survive that long after leaving the hospital from that stay for home with hospice care, Bill told me that he could “only imagine” that his patient was certainly ready to meet his Maker.

(This is a mainly a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.)
Keith John Paul Horcasitas, LCSW, MHA, 1133 Knollhaven Drive, BRLA 70810,, March 15, 2012.    

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