Last night, I had a dream. I’ve been dreaming vividly more often these days, and sometimes I end up doing things because of my dream. When I had a dream about my aunt, I gave her a call. We re-connected and had a wonderful conversation. When I had a dream about a friend, we got in touch.
I dreamed that I was following someone else, running and leaping over wider and wider crevices in the ground. I jumped over the first few with ease, but near the end the gaps stretched to a few feet wide, and I hesitated. I can’t remember if I did jump over the last one, but I did. I also dreamed that someone (maybe the same person, but I’m not sure) asked me my birthday. I answered, hesitantly, and the person asked me whether I were sure and if that were really my birthday. I said yes, and in the end we left it at that.
I’m not a dream-ology person or believe too much in dream interpretation, but I was curious. I went to a dream symbol dictionary and looked up what it means if you jump in a dream and if birthdays come up.
Jumping can evoke great changes in your life, and being hesitant about the jumping can mean being hesitant about the change.
Birthdays can evoke (self-)acceptance, love, and knowing you are valued.
Here at Casa Vitsky, it was a rough start to the weekend after a rough end of the week. After a long time coming and heroic efforts on both sides, a family member and I will part ways. I’ve done everything in my power, with every breath in my body, to prevent this from happening. I believe family is our moral center and that we need families in order to navigate our lives. I also was raised to believe that we don’t give up on people. Perhaps we distance ourselves for protection on one or more sides, and perhaps we limit contact or do any number of other things, but family is irreplaceable. I will do almost anything for family.
Friday was the first time I allowed myself to face this decision and its long-term ramifications. Out of respect for the people involved, I’ll need to give some other people some space for a little while. It hurts me to do it, and it will hurt the other people who have had no part in this years-long difficulty. Yet sometimes, we have to make the difficult choice to preserve integrity. I hate hurting anyone, and to withdraw (because there is no other solution, and continuing to engage will only cause greater hurt) feels cruel. Yet…there is no other choice at this moment, no choice that will eliminate hurt, only choices that will minimize it.
On Friday, the world seemed dark and dreary. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in such a difficult place, and Saturday dawned difficult as well. Yet, out of the sadness came a new desire–to reach out and connect. I’ve seen signs of a new baby at my neighbor’s, but they are very private and rarely outside. Two days ago, for the first time since my next-door neighbor moved in a year ago, I brought a loaf of homemade bread. No one was home the two times I tried, so I left it hanging on the doorknob. Yesterday, I screwed up all of my guts and knocked on their front door. I was half-turned to flee, afraid they’d be angry at my intrusion, when a young woman answered the door with a tiny, dark-haired baby cuddled at her breast. She said she’d been breastfeeding. Horrified at interrupting, I turned to leave, but she said she was already up. I said I was her neighbor and saw she had a new baby, and wondered if she could use any help. We chatted for a bit, her standing inside with her baby and me shrinking onto the front step. I felt I should go, but a wild impulse made me blurt out:
Would it be okay–I mean, can I–I mean, would you mind if I hold him?
She said sure and opened her arms. I said I didn’t want him to get cold, so she invited me in and closed the door behind us. Ten pounds of newborn sweetness nestled into my arms, clothed in a soft furry fleece sleeper. He stirred, opened his eyes, and tried to focus on me. I tried to talk to his mom, but I could see, smell, and hear only this little one. We chit-chatted about internet service providers, electricity bills, car repairs, and places to get new tires. I offered, feeling brave, to watch the baby if she wanted to go grocery shopping or even just take a shower sometime. She thanked me for coming over, and before I left we exchanged phone numbers. I texted her afterward and repeated that I’d love to baby-sit. She said thanks.
I’m still hoping.
Another friend messaged me yesterday saying he’s visiting family for the weekend. I’m just about ready to mix up some bread dough and make cinnamon raisin bread to bring for treats. I should hurry, actually, because he wants me there in 90 minutes and it takes 60 to get there. Oops, the dough will take 30 minutes to rise. Be right back. 😀
Mm, kneading bread dough is good for the soul. I love watching a sticky, flour-y mess transform into a smooth, great-smelling ball of dough. I rolled out half the dough to flavor with butter, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins before shaping it into the loaf. The other loaf will get seasoned with an egg (or perhaps butter/olive oil) wash and Italian herbs before baking. As the smell of fresh bread baking fills my home, and as I watch with amazement at the bread produced by my own hands and a few ingredients (I’ve done all kinds of cooking and baking, but bread is something I’ve always written off as “too hard”), I’m finding peace.
This morning, after a long hiatus (partly influenced by laziness and partly influenced by a crazy schedule) I returned to church. I was greeted with hugs, handshakes, and invitations. Quilting this Saturday (I’m too young and never learned to quilt, but the best part about church quilting is that it’s very easy and a great way to meet grannies who love to chat), various Bible studies and so on, and the best–handbells.
If you couldn’t guess from Simple Gifts, I was a musician in a former life. I’ve had to give it up for many reasons, but I’ve never felt quite right without music in my life. Ages ago, I played church handbells for a season or two. I loved it, but I moved on and my other churches didn’t have handbell choirs or had a stuffy music director who only wanted certain people for the team. Today, I met the music director who said they don’t have a spot open at the moment but always need an alternate. That suits me just fine because life tends to get crazy for me, too. This Wednesday, I’ll head over to practice and watch while they rehearse for a performance next Sunday. I’ll get to meet everyone and see whether I might fit in. I’ll also see just how hard their music is and whether I might even be able to handle it. Even in my handbell choir days, I always played the middle bells so I wouldn’t have to handle more than two or three. The tiny bells on top are hard, and it’s a lot of notes! The ones on the bottom are heavy and hard to manage, but the ones in the middle are easier.
Not even 48 hours after I’d experienced a loss so terrible life seemed to have lost meaning, good things have rushed into my life.
It began yesterday with trying to write 100 things that made me happy. I only made it to 54, but my mind became opened to all that is good and all that I can experience. Even better, I’ve seen others in blogland dip their toe into the water, and I’ve loved reading your list of happiness items.
Many of those close to me have experienced difficult times. Loss of a job/income, loss of family, loss of friends, depression, illness, big adjustments, conflicts, loneliness, and perhaps emptiness. People fight, we get caught in the middle, petty drama brews, nosy people nose, and all of the nastiness of life can get overwhelming. Sometimes, like on Friday, it’s hard to see what it’s all worthwhile.
Yet today, I celebrate. L’chaim.
I’m celebrating life today by sharing homemade bread and visiting friends. And hoping I’ll get to play with a new baby.
How about you?