I have mentioned here before that over the past 10 years, I have had a dream of a tornado before every major upheaval in my life, and the symbolism of the details of the dream often gives me clues as to how to weather the storm. Last year, I had 5 tornado dreams in a row, which frankly scared me, since even one tornado dream usually represents something as significant as my church of origin splitting on top of my wedding, a major career change, or the death of someone dear to me. The last tornado was so big it behaved like a hurricane and in order to weather it we had to move our house onto an entirely new foundation with the help of friends in the dream.
Well, that was shortly before my life went absolutely crazy. The dream was right. A hurricane. A serious health crisis for my husband on top of a situation at work that put our family’s safety at risk, my mentor’s unexpected passing on top of my best friend’s cancer surgery, launching a new career amidst a full year of unrelenting sickness–to the point where my immune system began to fall apart. Half a dozen friends at any given time battling cancer. My sister’s surprise divorce and my relationship with my mother on the rocks. My brother in-law’s psychotic break. Several deaths and near-death experiences of friends and acquaintances. It was and still is completely insane what we have dealt with this year.
Last night, another dream. My daughter woke me in the middle of this new tornado dream, in which I was pulling her to the basement and instructing her on how to stay safe in a tornado, so I don’t know how it ended. But maybe it doesn’t matter. Because when she woke me, after my initial thought of “Damn. It!” I realized something. Right before she woke me up I had been telling her in the dream as she whimpered in my arms, “It’s okay. You have to learn how to deal with these things, but after a while they’re just a pain in the ass.” The tornado had been right on top of us before we saw it, but I wasn’t afraid.
Come again? The girl who has spent most of her life petrified by fear and stress? That’s different. If I had to nearly die in order to learn how to handle my life without being paralyzed by it, then maybe it was all just fine. Just a pain in the ass, when you take fear out of it. Yes, I was so tired this year I could sometimes only crawl up the stairs and I wondered if my heart would stop from all the adrenaline when my husband kept being rushed to the ER with mysterious collapses. Yes, my husband and I both developed a form of PTSD from the trauma of it all. Yes, I just spent the week barely able to eat a thing I got so sick with the flu, and my same old throat infection I’ve been battling for a year flared up again, because my immune system isn’t strong enough to fight it off yet. And my back is still injured, and my husband has only had his health under control for a short time. But, okay. Just a pain in the ass.
We can do this.
I can do this.
So can you. No more fear.
I’m going to finish this novel without worrying that it won’t live up to my dream for it. I’m going to love my family as long as I have them with me. And I’m going to live my life no longer so afraid of rejection, afraid of failure, afraid of stepping out. It’s short, it’s precious, and it’s all I’ve got to give. A new foundation.