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“A Little Wisp of Melody”

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]

One morning about a week ago, I awoke very early and couldn’t get back to sleep. Whenever this happens, I usually read for a while and then fall back asleep, so I decided to delve into Robert’s article, “The End of an Ancient Journey,” which had been waiting for me on my nightstand. I like Course word studies and was looking forward to reading about the connections that Robert had made around the word “ancient.” I wasn’t prepared, however, for what was about to come from reading the article. I read everything with great interest, but when I got to the parts about the ancient song, I found myself not only interested, but also deeply moved–so moved that I had to stop reading after his final comments about it:

the ancient song is nearly forgotten; you only retain a “little wisp of melody” (T-21.I.6:2). Yet even this fragmentary memory brings back something that you deeply cherished, more than anything you have learned to cherish since, and in some sense still cherish.

Thereupon I fell asleep and dreamed:

I am in a house somewhere with members of my family. A few stand out: aunts, cousins, and grandmothers, some of whom are now deceased. I am surprised to notice that they are from both my mother’s and father’s sides of the family, and there is even a grandmother-in-law. They all have almost an ethereal look about them. There is such an air of serenity and peace and love about everything. [I can feel it even now as I write this.] And quiet, such quiet. There is a hush about everything. There is no talking, and people are moving about so softly, almost as if they are floating. I sit down and pick up a beautiful box, with a blue flowered design. I’m surprised that I have never seen it before. It’s a real treasure. It opens like a book, and it has several compartments. Then I suddenly stop and look over to my grandmother-in-law, who has something in her hand that she is showing to a little girl. She turns a little handle and music starts to play. The melody is so beautiful, so poignant, like nothing I have heard before. It is exquisite, perfect. Instantly I am filled with the deepest emotion and a sense, which I cannot even find the words to describe. I am so overwhelmed with the beauty of the melody and with such a deep sense of yearning that tears spill out of my eyes and start to stream down my face.

At that point I woke up moaning, the dream tears streaming down my face. I felt such an ache in my heart and was filled with such a sense of both longing and loss. I had awakened too soon. I had heard such a little bit of that exquisite song and now it was gone and I couldn’t remember it.

I realized almost instantly that what I had heard in my dream was that “little wisp of melody,” about which Robert had written. His article had obviously tapped into my deepest desire, and I had experienced exactly what he had described:

The section [The Forgotten Song] (T-21.I) speaks of an “ancient song” (7:5, 9:5), an inexpressibly lovely song. We listened to it with others in a wonderful setting, wrapped up in the loveliness of the experience, in love with the setting and our companions, as well the song (6:3). We cherished this song so deeply that it would make us weep to remember how dear it was to us (7:2). Yet somehow we strayed away from it…While the ages wheeled by, the song slowly receded from memory, but not entirely. We kept just a few notes with us, “just a little wisp of melody” (6:2).

After I settled down a bit, I went about my day’s activities, carrying the experience with me and filled with joy and gratitude. Now, a week later, the dream is a faint memory and that “little wisp of melody” has not returned. However, I have been calling upon the memory of the experience and of that lovely melody, especially when have started to feel worried or sad. I am so very grateful for having heard that snippet of the forgotten song and continue to hold it close in my heart,

as “a soft reminder” (7:2) of what once meant everything to [me]. And “from just this little part” (6:3) [I] can remember the whole song…it can all come flooding back into [my] awareness, its power as fresh and undimmed as it was in the beginning. And when it does, [I] will realize that nothing in the world [I] learned is half so dear as this song (7:4).