I had a terrible dream last night. I mean, AWFUL. I don't remember what it was about, really, only that it involved a girl with whom I was absolutely infatuated my senior year of high school and my last week of music camp. Long story short, she wanted friendship, nothing more (in fact, that's pretty much my entire romantic history until Beloved came along), and eventually I got over the crush and we were pretty good friends in college.
But last night she was there, in my dreams, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. Don't worry, it was nothing crude or gross. All I remember is seeing her sitting in the back pew of a church where I was preaching, holding a toddler and smiling wistfully, and a feeling of utter, complete despondency swept over me. Then I woke up. There was more to the dream, a lot more, but I don't remember any of it, only that last, terrible moment.
This isn't the first time this has happened. As a matter of fact, I have these dreams about once a month, with all kinds of people in the starring role: FW, old girlfriends, girls I wanted to date but never did, you name it: everybody gets their moment in the lunatic limelight of my nightmares. I don't understand it at all, but every time it happens I wake up with the same feeling: utter, complete loss and abandonment, followed by a heaving sigh of relief when I realize it was just a dream.
My response is always the same: roll over, snuggle up to Beloved, and remind myself that these dreams can't truly hurt me. Sometimes she wakes up and realizes what's going on, sometimes she doesn't. But I always tell her in the morning, and she always does the same thing: she wraps her arms around me and tells me she loves me. I truly have much in my life for which I'm thankful, but the #1 item on that list is always my beautiful, wonderful partner, who takes me as I am and has never once asked me to be someone I'm not, and for that I'm truly, truly blessed.
I don't understand what these dreams are doing. I'm neither Freudian or Jungian, I'm not a psychoanalyst at all, but I know there's something being purged in these dreams. Old hurts I've long since forgotten, perhaps, but still bleeding nonetheless? Just one side effect of being a person who really can't hide my emotions, complicated by taking a calling where my emotions can get me into trouble? A side effect of depression? (I'm on some mild anti-depressants due to some troubling signs last summer) Hard to say. But, when daylight comes, I'm reminded that they are only dreams, and in the end, whatever they may signify, the truth is who I am in my waking hours: a blessed husband who loves his wife and his girls very, very much, and a person who's tried to live my life as honestly as possible for quite some time now. If bad dreams are the price I have to pay for being who I am, I'm willing to pay it, because who I am came about because of the situations reflected in those dreams, even the bad ones, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
I would, however, like to sleep well tonight, Lord. I'm just sayin'...
Grace & peace,
The painting is "The Nightmare" by Henry Fuseli, c. 1782.