All That Can Be Saved
"Dreams are excursions into the limbo of things, a semi-deliverance from the human prison." ~Henri Amiel
This is the re-telling of a dream. Not just any dream, but a dream that spoke to me like no other I have ever had. You see I am an avid dreamer. I always dream no matter how short the nap. There is a memory of walking another world while I sleep each and every time I am not awake in this one. Remembering back to my dreams as a child, they were more often stressful or what one would call a nightmare most of the time. That still holds true for me today. Sometimes they are bizarre or inspiring, but the majority of the time they are just one big muddle of calamity. From the time I was little I always would be trying to escape some kind of danger, and in that intense departure, I would at times be attempting to protect something else, when I was a kid it was the family dog; Pepi, a cantankerous little Chihuahua that my mother probably loved more than my brother and I. I would scoop him up under my arm, and carry him to safety. After I was a step mother at the raw age of 19 it would be my young step children. All three of them would somehow be held within my arms as I found a way to fly with them high up away from danger. Then there was my first and only child I have given birth to in this world, a little boy that has been rescued in my dreams and out of them more times than I could ever count. As if I was Hercules, I could carry him and my other children all together within two arms and still escape in flight somewhere away from harm's way. So it is not unusual that the dream I had on this particular night was about trying to escape.
First let me start by saying that being the child and mother of alcoholism and addiction, rescuing and escaping seem to be a great part of the pattern of my dysfunctional actions in the past trailing into a stumbling mess right up to the present. That all being said, I will now tell you the dream:
In my dream I was driving my car down a freeway I had never seen. In my mind as I drove I remembered letting my son drive it the time before. As I was moving forward, suddenly a cop car was behind me shouting out of a bullhorn "PULL OVER THERE ARE DRUGS IN THAT CAR!"
I desperately tried to find an exit or road to pull over on, but there was none to be found in that strange highway in my dream. So eventually I made the decision to just keep going. I drove fast and faster until the police were nowhere in my rear view mirror and I finally ended up at a strange large mansion where there were many other people that were running from the law. I entered quietly and did not completely speak to anyone there, but somehow understood their plight. There was a tension there that hung hard like outlaws from old trees in the waist lands of the west. We all knew what was ultimately coming; we all would have to face a certain prison.
Like all dreaded scores that must eventually be settled, the time arrived like the thud of thunder after the lightening flash. The only thing left to do was either hide in the building or escape and flee on foot. The next thing I remember, I was about to exit the building almost like it was on fire, yet it was not. Suddenly, I was no longer in my body, but hovering above the outside doorway at the exit of that strange mansion of fools. What happened next is what I cannot forget. As I gazed down from the air I actually saw myself as I am now walking out of the building, but I was not alone. In one hand I had my granddaughter and in the other was another child, but not just any child. It was me when I was a child holding onto my adult hand. Staring down at what I like to call a vision, I realized something deep within myself. What I saw before me was a glimpse of a message to my soul. My granddaughter represented my future, and myself as a child my past.
I could save neither. I could only save myself in the here and now. Not by my own hands nor by running away from trouble, but by standing right where I am and letting God be God and not trying to do His work.I am not the fixer of all wrongs, nor the saver of all souls, that is the works done by the grace of God.
I cannot say that this revelation has miraculously changed my actions completely right at this time, but it has been weighing on my heart and mind day by day giving me a glimpse of hope in the miracle of recovery, my compulsion to smooth the rough waters and silence the roars of dysfunction are slowing down. It is like the recovery quote: "change only happens when your pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go". My need to hold everyone and flee for safety is becoming a weary task, I want to avoid, and the layers of denial have been removed piece by piece layer by layer like the peel of an onion or fruit ready to be utilized for its purpose. Where once I had no sight for my hands and arms were covering my view afraid of the disarray that may stand before me. Now I simply have my hands gently over my eyes with a slit at the iris like a child watching a scary movie...I am seeing and gaining more courage with time...it is just a slow process. I did not get to the place where I stand now all in one night, it happened over a long period of years of broken behavior that built a wall of denial a continent wide. Walls like that cannot be assembled in a day, nor can they be completely torn down in one either. Recovering from the past and getting healthier now, is a manner of growth that truly never ends. It is an ongoing journey that as long as we are in this world never reaches a destination. The longer I am in recovery the more I understand that it is a brutally honest undertaking that one has to be willing to embrace completely like two lovers truly in love. No holds barred, no stones unturned, everything must be brought out into the light of day raw, naked and real. So here I am awake in the light of day with arms wide open not grasping to save what I cannot, but willing to salvage what I can with the help and grace of God.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.