The To and Fro, Then and Now

Some time around the middle of the day, I was exhausted for any number of reasons I could choose from, so I stretched out for a few minutes with Miss Sophie supervising.  She’s really good at that.  The Fella was home, and the littles were working on their lessons, so I had a few minutes to close my eyes.

It was one of those weird, not quite deep, slumbers where I’m aware but also resting.  Hard to explain.  I was dreaming of sorts, I think, when I felt myself being pulled back up to the surface.

In that moment, this thought crossed my mind as the image of our backyard swing came into focus in my head.

It hardly makes sense, does it, as to why change is so hard for one who loved the back and forth and up and down of sitting in a swing?  How is it that so much is terrifying and worrisome when going higher than ever before used to bring such thrills?  Why is a leap into the unknown so frightful at times, when leaping from a moving swing filled all around with laughter and cries for “Again! Again!”?

Turns out my life is so much like being on a swing.  So what is the difference from then when I loved it so much to now?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that on that swing I was controlling the “how high” and most of the time I could stop the swing when I wanted to and come back to stillness–to the balance found exactly in the middle of front and back, to and fro, forwards and backwards.

Balance.

If y’all need me, I’ll be in the backyard.  Looking for some of that.

Love to all.

Tire_swing

By Luke [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Dream That Made Me Hear

Is there a full moon or something?

Because these dreams I am having…..when I awake, I’m not rested.  I spend the rest of the day seeking meaning.

Last night’s was no different.  In keeping with the “It’s not for me to lock the door to keep someone out” and yesterday’s thoughts about fear and comfort zones, my dream last night seems to be calling me out about fear and judging others.

I was on the fifth/sixth grade hall at my old elementary school.  (The repurposed building still stands and I see it at least twice a week.)  At one point I rushed into Mrs. C’s room.  I spent many happy days in there in the sixth grade learning about artists and diagramming sentences–two of my favorite things. (Yeah, I just admitted that.) But in my dream, I was afraid and begging Mrs. C to keep the door locked.  I never could get through to her the importance of that.  In the next moment I was in a room across the hall, the one I had fifth grade classes in.  Brightly lit, the room was filled with students who were trying to find a seat.  I sat down and started tucking my valuables away. I could hear people being loud in the hall, and then a tall angry female came in.  We were all afraid.  Okay, I was.  I can’t speak for anyone else because she was my only focus.  She was yelling and then I heard her words.  She told a story of dreams dashed.  Dreams that were really important and would have made a huge contribution to our world.  Her dreams were attainable but someone unjustly brushed her aside as not worthy, and all her chances were gone.  She was angry.

After hearing her story, I was angry for her.

Through my tears, I told her, choking up, “I’m so sorry that happened to you.  My heart hurts for you.”

And in that moment our eyes met.

And I was no longer afraid.

I had seen into her heart, and that made all the difference.

It has been on my heart today that we are all seeking the same things at some point in our lives.  To love and to be loved.  To dream and make those happen.  When we are not heard or we feel dismissed or our dreams are laughed at, the brokenness begins and that’s when the darkness can come in.  And it then has to be let out.  In any matter of ways.  Sometimes it’s worse than others.

Tonight I’m left wondering what my heart and my conscience are trying to tell me.  Whom do I need to listen to?  More importantly (and yes, I think there might be a distinction), whom do I need to let know that he or she has been heard?

May we all find make time to listen to someone–maybe someone we love or maybe someone we’ve only just met–and to let them know they’ve been heard.  It could make the difference between their anger and their turning things around.

Because when we hear another’s dream, another’s story, there is an invisible thread that joins us, that binds us.  And that thread is what will keep us from fearing another and remind us that we are all more alike than different.

Now I’m off to read with Captain Cooter at the debut of his book club on “his ship.”  And perhaps I might even drift off to sleep a little earlier and have totally irrelevant dreams.

Love to all.

Pancakes for Supper

There’s a lot of hurting and pain in the world.  Just in case you weren’t already aware.  And sometimes people respond to that hurt and pain with a whole lot of anger and pointing fingers and insisting that people who are speaking against what they believe need to be condemned.  They point at them and vent their anger in an effort to…..

fix it?

Ummm, okay, I think they might be going at it all wrong.

I read this article that I’ve thought about today–“It’s Okay to Eat Lucky Charms for Dinner.”  I really like what Alice Seuffert had to say.  Sometimes when the news is more than her heart can bear, she brings home Lucky Charms to have for supper.

And so that’s how I found myself making pancakes for the crew tonight.  It was a good day really.  A swim meet where our Princess did her best and had a great time and actually surpassed her personal bests in all her events.  The smile on her tired face when it was over said it all.

Despite the joy of today, what has weighed heavily on my heart is the dream I woke up from in the dark just before dawn.  It was a hard one.  My family and I were on some kind of trip, in a place where we’d never been before.  We were on some kind of open air trolley, and suddenly it stopped.  People started running, so of course we got the children off the trolley and ran…..away.  Away from people yelling and the gunshots that followed.  Young men in their teens were running around with guns shooting everywhere.  In our terror, we ran toward some trailers that resembled my first and second grade classrooms. We ran behind some for protection and found another one.  Outside of it was a comforting soul, a woman whose presence was soothing and reassuring.  She looked a lot like the priest I met at the vigil on Monday night.  She pointed toward the door on the porch of the trailer.  She told us to get in quickly, and then she was gone.  We moved quickly up the steps and towards the door as I saw out of the corner of my eye a woman with dark hair standing quietly and alone on the other corner of the porch.  Once inside, we breathed deeply and with relief.  I looked around and immediately my children were relaxed alongside others. Right behind us, the woman with the dark hair came in quietly behind us and closed the door. I started to worry, and then two things occurred to me.  The first was that in my other-conscious state (you know, the part of you that knows it is a dream–that happens when I’m about to come out of one), I knew she looked very much like a woman who has been in the news a lot this past week.  A woman whose sentencing hearing has caused a lot of anger and finger pointing and hurt.  Before I could be afraid, I was offered peace and I took it.  Suddenly I just knew we were all safe, and that it wasn’t for me to keep her out of this place where we could find peace and safety and comfort.  It wasn’t for me to lock the door and keep her out.

Just the opposite in fact.  Because we hadn’t locked it, she was able to find her way in herself.

As I woke up, rather shaken after such a dream, I sat in the darkness and waited for my heart to settle.  I wondered if I should write it all down so I wouldn’t forget.  I thought back over the events in the dream, and my mind replayed the moment she entered the room, one who has done wrong and been found guilty and so many are vilifying to the point of wanting to see her die–that moment when it was as if the words were whispered in the air, “It’s not for you to keep her out.”

Yeah.  It was with those words and thoughts on my heart, and wondering if I’m going to be able to live those words out in my own real life, that I went through my day.  Life is hard, y’all.  But I’m guessing you know that.  I’m guessing you could tell me some stories about how hard it is.  Whether it makes sense or not, it is easier for me to forgive someone whose story I hear than it is for me to forgive someone whose actions have crossed my own story and changed its course.  Even when the former one’s actions are far more damaging and permanent and violent than the latter.

I know.  It doesn’t make sense, but there it is.

The much used page from my Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook by Ken Beck.  I was going to post a picture of the pancakes, but I was to late because, well, pancakes.

The much used page from my Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook by Ken Beck. I was going to post a picture of the pancakes, but I was too late because, well, pancakes.

So in all of those thoughts, I thought about the Lucky Charms as comfort food, and since I was too–I’ll just say it–lazy to go to the store this afternoon, I made pancakes.  Goober’s Pancakes 57 from Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook.  They are legendary in our house.  Not because they’re phenomenal or anything, but because my crew knows Goober’s story.

I’m glad they know his story.  All too soon the other stories will find them.  The dark ones.  The ones that will cause them to struggle with what they thought they knew, with all the grey of right and wrong and everything in between.  The ones that will challenge them to be forgiving and loving and leave the judging up to only One.  For now, the stories that make us smile and laugh and feel like home are just fine.

May you all have someone to eat pancakes or Lucky Charms with and to bring you comfort when the darkness threatens to envelop you.

Love to all.

 

 

********You can get your own copy of Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook by clicking on the title above.  Even if you never cook, you will enjoy reading it.  There’s even a recipe for her Kerosene Pickles!  

In The Now

My little guy has gotten up the past few mornings saying he had some strange dreams the night before. Then be proceeds to tell us about them.
He’s right. He has some pretty off the wall dreams.
And last night, so did I.
I was awakened early at the end of the second one and the clarity of what had happened and how real it all felt was very unsettling.
In the first part I was at Bare Bulb Coffee where we go to church. I was sitting with our friends and my friend’s son was reading aloud for all of us. While listening I started flipping ahead in my copy of the book to mark where I was assigned to read. I thought I was being quiet and unobtrusive but I guess not. My friend leaned over and said, pointing a finger, “I think you need to be listening, Missy!”
Wow. In my dream I was ashamed and embarrassed. I knew she was right. I wasn’t focused on the here and now because I was too busy looking ahead.
*sigh*
I get it.
And if that wasn’t enough of a wake up call, the dream morphed into another different dream entirely, like they do.
I was in a crowd. Shopping. An open air market kind of thing I guess, because we were outside. I had a cart and my wallet was in the front child’s seat. I walked away from my cart for a moment. I can’t remember why now–maybe to look at something for sale or for a bathroom. As I turned back, I saw someone grab my wallet and run.

Y’all.

For whatever reason, this is a great fear of mine. When I say great, I mean HUGE.
In my dream I screamed my head off, and someone actually stopped the guy. I think I was going to get my wallet back when I was awakened suddenly.

But before I woke up, in the moment when I saw the person running away with my belongings, I thought, “Yeah I figured this would happen eventually.”
And I heard my own voice echoing in my head–“You got distracted, not paying attention in the now, and look at how that worked out for you.”

Oh my. I think I may be trying to tell myself something. I’m overwhelmed right now and have been crazy busy. For months I’ve been planning and organizing and focusing on a future event.
And it breaks my heart to think about what all I have lost or missed because I wasn’t listening, wasn’t focused or invested. In. That. Moment.

Tonight I will rest my head, and I hope to have sweet dreams. I have turned over a new leaf today. I hope a sudden storm doesn’t flip it back over, but today I vowed to start focusing more on the now and less on six days, six weeks, six months down the road. Now.
I am thankful for friends, whether from my “real life” or from within, who will tell it like it is. Point a finger, call me Missy, and expect me to do better.
I mean, now that I know better and see what the distractions and being focused on the future steal from my now, how can I do anything less?
Love to all.