I so seldom remember my dreams any more, yet I woke this morning with a dream from last night clearly in my mind. “What,” I wonder to myself, “is the meaning in this dream that it would bring itself into my memory this morning?”
I don’t know what meaning there might be in this dream, so I will write it now to see if something about it makes special sense to me…..
I am looking out a window at a night sky so black there is no light to be seen anywhere. I watch the darkness. I see a faint glimmer of light growing behind a massive shape I take at first to be a gigantic thunderhead cloud. “What a storm must be coming!” I think to myself, but as I continue to watch, and as the light behind this shape begins to grow I see the shape is that of a pine tree so big I could never have imagined one so tall.
The sky continued to lighten until the wide branches were visible to me of this tree nearly all the way to the ground. But then fear seized me as I realized this massive tree was tipping, tipping, tipping toward me until it crashed to the earth with its topmost branches brushing up against the window I was behind, though the glass did not break. I realized I was not crushed to death as I stood there unharmed.
I felt great sorrow for this great tree’s death as I left the window frantically trying to find someone to tell, someone to care that the tallest, oldest tree on earth had fallen over this night — and had fallen right here on this spot.
I could find no one to listen to me. Time passed in the dream. Later I happened by another window in this house I was inside and through this window I could see the tree from a different perspective. That tree was just an ordinary tree! There was nothing especially huge about it. Now I could see its whole body laying there on the ground, being maybe 40 feet long from root to tip.
I woke up hearing the Beatles’ song, ‘Let it Be’ repeating in my mind. All very puzzling to me.
I traveled to a meeting out of town yesterday with some friends. I met a woman there for the first time and rode home with her as we each talked about our histories of extreme child abuse. This woman knows with no doubt and with great faith that she was not killed in her infancy by abuse from her schizophrenic mother and bipolar father because she was saved by the grace of God. (She was eventually removed from her parents and raised by other loving family members, but her entire childhood was still chaotic and very difficult.)
This woman and I both know what it felt like to be abused when we were little. And yet this woman’s other clear statement about her childhood was this: “Pain is pain. Hurt is hurt. It is all the same. Anyone who ever feels pain and hurt is feeling the same thing.”
As I left my house yesterday to attend this meeting I walked away from my book writing at the point I need to pick up at today. I am working on my final draft of a chapter about the first beating I remember that happened when I was 22 1/2 months old.
No doubt at that time I did feel like a tiny person with a monster tree falling on top of me to crush me to death. What is my perspective today at 60 years old as I return to my memory of being so little? Do I stop my own writing with questions like this: “Why do I bother to write about something from so long ago when I had no other perspective about something that matters so little to anyone else?”
My problem is that my body still remembers NOW exactly what it felt like to have that abuse happen to me. I did NOT remember the abuse for much of my adulthood because I could manage to never THINK about it. It seemed I could outrun my own history. I had simply walked away from it when I was 18 without any perspective or understanding of what had happened to me.
I got away with this ‘not remembering’ for the years I raised my children, but I am finding that as I age it has become impossible for me to ‘not remember’ anymore, though I wish that I could. All I can do now is to continue to move forward each moment of my life the best that I can, trying to keep a perspective as I write for this book that basically lets me know both the big tree and the little tree, the little me and the big me, coexist now together in a unique way especially until this book writing is done.