Friday, March 23, 2012
A Message in a Dream
“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.” – Calvin & Hobbes
Night before last I dreamed about Maggie. It has been a long, long time since I’ve seen her – in person or otherwise. Even in my dream, rich emotions were quickly whipped up. Let me set the stage.
In my dream, we were traveling with a group of friends. The one and only scene in which she played a role involved her sitting at a table or couch, surrounded by friends while she animatedly told a story. (Such a scene wasn’t unusual; she always had LOTS to say and was almost always the center of everyone’s attention. And she was ALWAYS animated!) In this one and only scene, she never even looked at me or acknowledged my presence. In the dream, this wasn’t odd. (Dreams are very odd ducks.)
When I saw her in my dream, a deep feeling overwhelmed me that I now struggle to describe. The feeling definitely wasn’t sadness but, instead, euphoria but way more basal or primal than that specific word implies. The only way I can possibly describe the feeling was as if my heart had long been locked tightly in a cramp. Then, very suddenly upon seeing her – the way she moved, the way she spoke, the way she just… was – my heart instantly and completely relaxed. It was like the day we first met when my soul said, “Ah, there you are. I’ve been looking for you.” This time, my soul added, “God, I’ve missed you.”
Euphoric or not, I knew instinctively that she was upset with me because I was obsessing over the pictures that I was taking while we were traveling. I had spent hours pouring over this or that photo worried that it didn’t capture the scene like I thought it should. Some photos were too dark. Some photos were off center. One specific photo I remember all too well was very washed out and didn’t capture clearly her face like I wanted it to. In addition to pouring over failed photos, I was trying to stage and re-take more. Yup, I was obsessing. And she was unhappy with me. She wanted me to put down the photos and just be a part of the trip with everyone else.
(It’s funny how without a single word could tell exactly why my lovely wife was upset with me!) (And, just for the record, she was rarely upset with me.) (And just for another record, God, I wish she had said anything… ANYTHING to me!)
I’ve pondered that silly dream for many hours now but my interpretation hasn’t changed since the second I woke up. The message is simple and clear: a life spent focused on trying to keep memories alive is a life spent living in the past. Living in the past tends to keep us from appreciating what’s going on right here, right now. And it’s really hard to see and smell roses when you walk down the path of life facing backwards.
I hear you, Maggie. I’ll keep pushing forward. It’s time to breath new life into the Business of Change.
(P.S. And, uh, Maggie, if you appear in my dreams again, could you please at least say hi or even have a conversation with me? It'd be real nice. And can we, uh, have some, you know… *cough* “adult” time?)