The other night I had a dream. Maybe it would better be described as a nightmare.
I was walking over snow covered hills near Valley Forge when I spotted a red trail in the snow. On inspection it appeared to be blood. Thinking it might be a wounded animal and that I might be able to help it, I followed the trail. It seemed to go on for miles, but ended abruptly in a ditch.
There lay a young man, maybe in his early twenties. His body was emaciated, still his hands suggested the power of a farmer or tradesman. He had a hole in his chest, but the blood had not come from the hole. It had come from his feet. They were bloody and wrapped in rags. He had marched for miles in the snow and bitter cold without shoes.
Then I realized he was still alive. He was crying. I knew there was nothing I could do for him, but I knelt down, hoping to comfort him in some way. I told him not to be frightened. He was going to a better place. He told me he had seen a better place. A place that he had helped create.
For a moment, he said, when the ball struck his chest, he was filled with despair. He thought of the incredible odds against which he was fighting and he thought his death was in vain. Liberty was unattainable. Slavery was the fate of man.
Then an angel came to him and showed him a great land populated by a courageous, high sprited, idealistic people, driven by their love of liberty. The angel told him that land was born of his sacrifice. I guessed that the tears were tears of joy, tears of happiness. For a moment a weight was lifted from my heart. But he continued to speak.
A second angel came--a dark angel. It showed him the great land, now withered and dying. It was ruled by evil men and filled with cowardly, souless people, a people without spirit, a people who gave lip service to freedom, but it wasn’t in their hearts. They were pragmatists and not idealists. They were willing to support evil if they thought good could not win, and so the land and liberty died.
Yes, the boy had been crying as much for us as for himself. But then he closed his eyes and the crying stopped. I closed mine. I didn't cry, but my heart screamed inside my chest. I felt the pain of the ball striking that boy.
You see, I live in the land of the dark angel.