This item originally appeared in the Feb. 5, 2004, issue of The Tech Talk.
Like most high school kids, I remember memorizing Hamlet's famous soliloquy "To be, or not to be ..." for my senior British literature class.
To me the best line was, "... what dreams may come/When we have shuffled off this mortal coil ..."
I think I only liked it then because the Monty Python boys used it in their sketch about a dead parrot.
But it holds new meaning to me these days. Hamlet speaks the line as he contemplates what may happen after death.
No one knows for sure exactly what happens, so it could be scary, it could be amazing or it could just be ... nothing.
But I like the idea of death being a dream.
While I watched the movie "Waking Life," I listened as one character commented on how she felt like she was an old woman looking back on her life from her death bed. The life she was living in the present was merely a dream she was having.
Another character speculated that death was one dream after another we could never wake up from.
It's scary at first to think maybe death is nothing more than dreaming, and we can never escape those endless dreams.
Yet right now, while I am alive, dreams are captivating to me. I look forward to sleeping each night and seeing pictures behind my eyelids.
Maybe one endless dream in death wouldn't be bad. What scares me more is the thought that there may be nothing at all after death.
I believe firmly there is a heaven, and God accepts us there if we accept Him here. But everyone has momentary doubts; it's part of being human.
During those second thoughts on heaven, I often remember the movie "What Dreams May Come," another use of Shakespeare's famous line.
The premise behind "What Dreams May Come" is that people who commit suicide go to hell.
What is painful about it was the movie came out shortly after my own grandfather took his life. My younger cousins were devastated by it, but when my relatives began verbally bashing the film, I didn't say a word.
Instead I thought about the doubts I had from time to time. I thought about the fact that no one knows absolutely where our souls go after we die. I thought about how I wasn't even sure what a soul was.
Lately I've been reading Madeleine L'Engle's thoughts on dreams in her book "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art."
"Walking on Water" is now raising more questions in my mind, but this time about dreams.
She writes about how dreams may be God's way of showing us what He wants us to do. He did it in the past with Joseph of the Old Testament to Joseph of the New Testament. So why wouldn't He speak to us?
There's no reason to be afraid of dreaming. It may be a way of working out our problems in our subconscious or just the random firings of our brains as they exercise. But dreaming may even be God's way of whispering to us when we have our guards down.
No matter what, though, I believe there's no reason to fear "what dreams may come."
Michelle Hudgens is a senior journalism major from Pineville and serves as associate editor for The Tech Talk.