One of the ways I try to remember my dreams is, when I wake up in the night after a dream, I note the main points in my head before I fall back to sleep, and then in the morning, I gran those little phrases, like pieces of paper swirling in a wind, and try to tack them down in writing first thing in the morning. There were several of these last night, but the clearest, most compelling dream was right as I was waking up.
I am at some sort of church service/picnic (I do not recognize the people there from waking life). I know that at 3:30, as things are winding down, I am to meet with one of the women about some sort of planning, but I forget, and by the time my child is getting antsy and begging me to go, it’s 3:58. Another woman approaches me. Apparently, she had written me an email (and I hadn’t seen it) that she wanted to meet with me at 4:00 to talk about her child.
We sit down to talk. She pulls out papers, color photocopies of photographs and notes she’s been taking. Her teen child is coming out as trans, and she wants to talk to me about it. She is open and accepting of the child, at least on the surface, but she is agitated. She worries about what her conservative Mennonite family will think. She worries about how the relatives in Argentina will respond. She keeps tearing the papers. At one point she gets up to go ask someone else a question, and I gather up the pieces of paper, wondering how they could be so shredded–I hadn’t seen her tearing these.
This one seems–perhaps deceptively–straightforward. I teach at a private Christian school. I have very intentionally made it part of my role to be ready to listen to parents of LGBTQ+ kids, to hear their questions and worries, to try to walk them through their own anxieties and stereotypes, to help them find their way to expressing their deep unconditional love for their children in the midst of their own confusion. Perhaps the dream points to deeper agitation, maybe for myself as well as the parents. The torn pieces of paper stand out to me, as well as the frustration of not being able to finish a sentence, not being able to help the mom relax enough to settle into an understandable narrative.
There’s also my own anxiety about keeping appointments. I missed the one I had planned, and almost missed this one because I hadn’t checked my email. Ugh. I hate the way meetings and appointments disrupt the flow of a day. That’s been one of the side blessings of this pandemic time–fewer meetings.
Honoring collective work and community responsibility, ujima, with my friends who are celebrating Kwanzaa.
I love that ujima comes after kujichagulia, self-determination. When we each get our own house in order, our own mojo going, then we can work together to build and strengthen our communities. Here in these days of stillness as the earth is poised to swirl back into the Long Day, what a wonderful idea to contemplate: How can I carry my own energies into community-building in the New Year?
And of course, Kwanzaa is an African American holiday, so the question for me becomes: How can I use the privilege I was born with to support and strengthen the community-building work of BIPOC?
“I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.” ―Anaïs Nin
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.
It seems that we Christians have been worshiping Jesus’ journey instead of doing his journey. The worshiping feels very religious; the latter just feels human and ordinary. We are not human beings on a journey toward Spirit, we are already spiritual beings on a journey toward becoming fully human, which for some reason seems harder precisely because it is so ordinary.” ―Richard Rohr
“Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes.” ―Desmond Tutu
“We enter solitude, in which also we lose loneliness. True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible. One feels the attraction of one’s most intimate sources. In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives. The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature, the more fully one enters into the communion of all creatures.” —Wendell Berry