What dreams…

I am going to begin with a disclaimer: I wrote this post yesterday.  I put down the words and then put down the computer to think about it for awhile.  One thing I try to be here is vulnerable-which is hard.  The other I try to be is honest. My tagline reads Art, Life and Everything in Between.  This is going to be an in between post.  I wrote it all out as a way to work through-it’s about a dream by the way-just what it means, or what it means for me.  I am still feeling the emotion of this dream so tangibly that my heart rate picks up a bit when I think of it.

So, what follows is just a dream. Or maybe it is more of a hope, somehow.

I woke from a dream this morning with my ears ringing with a chant that was being repeated-growing louder with each repetition. ‘Hear me. See me. Feel me.”  HEAR ME. SEE ME. FEEL ME.” This dream left me rattled, its words still echoing in my ears so many hours later.  Hear me. See me. Feel me.

I am a vivid dreamer but, unlike so many dreams, this one left a tangible wake. It left lingering images and words so clear it was as if they actually happened. And, as is the want of dreams, it was pulling from memory, experience and longings that bubble up from deep within.

For example (and this will be the humor portion of the post): earlier in the day I had had a flash memory of something that would repeat itself in my childhood.  I had always longed for, well, really long hair. Every year right before school my mother would ‘trim’ my hair and, inevitably, I would end up with a pixie cut-much to my humiliation. This translated into me actually getting and having a really bad haircut in my dream.  Evidently my dream psyche has a sense of humor.

Aside from the bad hair, what I saw in this dream was people. I was surrounded by people. They were all colors. Some were older, some younger. Many were dressed in ordinary, what looked to be, work related clothing. All bore some sort of burden, were broken, un-something, but none were un-hurt. I couldn’t see their individual burden but I knew it was there. Some were unshaven, disheveled,  most indistinguishable one from another- except for their faces.

One man in particular stood out. He was yelling at me. His face is so clear and I can still feel the heat of his breath on my face.  The words are garbled but I felt them more than heard them, and they bored deep into my soul. I was being blamed and judged. I was wanting. I was accused. And, I was angry. I waited until he was finished, losing sight of the throng of people surrounding us, and looking deeply into his face I began to speak.

You think I don’t know hurt? You think I have never been judged or looked down on? You think I don’t know pain? You think because I am me that I have never been beaten up, bloodied, broken? You think that I don’t know what it is to suffer?

I have been hurt. My heart has been crushed and has ached with loss. My soul has been shamed and lied to.  I have never been good enough. I HAVE been judged. I have been deceived and believed these deceptions. I have been broken and bloodied in fights. Was beaten as a child and scrapped on the playground to protect myself. I’ve been the outsider, the disregarded, the friendless, the un-chosen. Did you know I was abandoned at birth? Left for nothing? That this leaves a mark of emptiness and heartache all the days of your life? It marks you for the unwanted. Forever. Did you know? My hurt may not look like your hurt but pain is pain. So when you look at me don’t you dare think that I. Don’t. Know. **

I know these things are true of me and I can bet that they are true to you-these three things are all I want  from others and I know they are all you want too-Hear me. See me. Feel me.  Acknowledge I exist. HEAR ME. SEE ME. FEEL ME.  Pay attention; let me know that though the voice is soft the reverberation shakes the foundation. HEAR ME.  Look past what you see-look me in the eyes and SEE ME.  Understand that there is hurt hiding in the recesses and that pain pulses in this heart. FEEL ME. Until we can do these things together we can never understand together.

As I continued to speak my throat ached and my voice grew louder. People began to chant HEAR ME, SEE ME, FEEL ME. The chanting grew and I reached out to take this dirty, grizzled man’s hand-to lift him up to stand. We began to chant together HEAR ME, SEE ME, FEEL ME and this sound filled the air bouncing and crashing in on itself again and again annnnnnnd then I woke up.

It is after two in the afternoon and I am still reeling from this dream.  It is antithetical to how I function-I am mostly quiet, far from being a motivational speaker, do my best to hide from the ugliness of my past and focus on the now, don’t know that many people and avoid crowds like the plague (it’s an introvert thing).  I am sure I could expound on the individual traits of the dream but everything can be analyzed to smithereens so I’ll leave that to the experts. All I know-and this really is all I know-is that for some reason I had a powerful dream that has upended my day and may upend many to come.

The point of this post? Mostly to unload my thoughts so they stop the swirl that they are causing.  This dream may mean nothing at all, as is the truth of many dreams. Like Scrooge explaining Jacob Marley’s appearance-perhaps it was indigestion or exhaustion that caused this dream. Whatever the cause, I feel rattled. Like something has been shaken loose.  I’ll need a few days to figure out the what and how-or perhaps I will forget about it but at least I got it out.

Till next time…

** I feel I need to add that these are truths in my life-not merely random words that a dream would insert.

Just Three More Words…

Because I am human, I don’t know what to say. Because I am human, I don’t know how to adequately respond to the tragedies in Nice, Baton Rouge,Minneapolis, Dallas and around the globe. Because I am human, I don’t know how to respond in the face of prejudice, of bigotry, of hypocrisy and hate. Because I am human, I don’t know how to respond to atrocities that are happening in the world-genocide, human trafficking, honor killings, war and famine. Am I angry, sad, frustrated, anxious, tired? Yes, I just don’t know what to say. With all the words being thrown around out there how will even one more-let alone three-make a difference?

My heart grieves for all the things I cannot change, for all the things I am not equipped to combat, for all the words I don’t know how to speak. I am literally and spiritually speechless.  Of course, there are many words I could find but they are clucked in corners and over coffee cups all the time…”Isn’t it a shame”, “How terrible”,  “People are crazy”, “What is this world coming to?” and many other shallow and offensive dismissals of the pain behind the problems.  How will my words make any difference and be any less offensive?

As a Christian I feel like I should be saying something  Christian-y and scripturally sound. As a person? My heart echoes with emptiness and aches with a deep, deep desire for something/someone to make it all stop-and not with more violence because millennia of that has proven it Just. Doesn’t. Work.  If I could quote scripture that would breathe quiet and acceptance I would, but I can’t because those words fall on deaf ears-ears that have heard more words than could fill a thousand books. Ears enduring tremendous pain have a hard time hearing just one more word. Ultimately, though, I will resort to scripture-because it is what I know.

“…love one another, deeply from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22b).

This theme is repeated over and over throughout the bible yet I seldom hear a sermon on it or hear others talking about how much they love the kids in the neighborhood or the lady in the car that just drove by or the people doing construction…again…on their favorite route.  These are simple, surmountable in-congruencies but if we can’t even manage to effectively love the person who just “kept me up half the night with their noise” or the “idiot driver” who won’t move over, how in the world are we going to love the real problems out there in the world?

We are much better at bearing grudges than we are at bearing one another’s burdens.

So, I don’t know what to say. Sorry isn’t enough. Simply quoting scripture won’t make it go away. Words-I can’t make them work effectively enough to make the world a better place. What I’d like to do-if it didn’t scare the bejeezus right out of me and make this introvert (which makes even saying hello a monumental task at times) break out in a cold sweat-is rest my hands on your shoulders, look you plainly in the eye and say three more words.

I love you.

Because, this is what I am thinking. Or, at least what I want to think. I have a hard time saying something so intimate to people I am not deeply acquainted with or related to.  It is easy to say ”I don’t hate you” because that leaves all kind of room for judgments, caveats, prejudices and other baggage but we are off the hook because we ‘don’t hate’.  It is hard to love. Period. When you love you are vulnerable and you may get hurt. No, not may-you will get hurt. And we don’t like that.  It’s fine to do nice things for someone or to be charitable: but Love? Like, with a capital L? I’d much rather drop off a bag of groceries at the nearest church and call it good.

“Whatever other command there may be, [they] are summed up in this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9b).

 “Love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10a).

 And then there’s this-that tricky place where it says “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39).

Maybe this was said because it is so incredibly hard to love a God you can’t see, can’t touch and can only trust is there. BUT it is even harder-near on impossible- to love the imperfect, the flawed, the broken, the different, the other, the person standing next to you, in the car in front of you, the folks at the grocery store, the ordinary…the people with skin on-the ones you CAN see.

Because I am human, I don’t know what to say. Because I am human, I am troubled. But, because I want change-radical and real change and there are no words that can do that I choose to love. If you read this-I love you. If you don’t-I still love you. It will be imperfect, incomplete and may be too little too late, but I love you. Will I always get it right? No. Because, you see, I am one of those imperfect, broken, flawed people. But that doesn’t mean I can’t at least try.