This morning I was up at five a.m. to make breakfast and coffee for my niece who has been staying with us this weekend while she does drill for the Guard. After she left, I was seduced by the silence in the house, Jeff and the boys still sleeping upstairs. I could not find sleep again so I sat on the couch with that book of essays I’ve been wanting to read, Bible at the ready. Bonnie came with me and nestled beneath the fleece in that soft place between my legs as I sipped coffee like dew, like medicine—trying to breath through the congestion of a three day old cold.
Yesterday, my boys came home with laundry and books and all the things they carry. It’s strange how joy can be so bittersweet and all week long I kept reminding myself not to get my hopes up. Expectation always gets me in trouble. This morning, right before awakening, I dreamt that Teddy and I were stuck on the railroad tracks at a crossing—a silver bullet fast approaching. I did not feel a sense of panic, just consternation at the long arm blocking our escape. And beside me, just calm as he could be, Teddy said simply, “Mother.”
I opened my eyes then and stared at the ceiling—replaying the image of that train rushing toward us. That’s when the panic washed over me, settling like a pit in the low valley of my gut. I could hear my son’s voice say over and over again, “Mother.” In that simple naming of me, my dream-son was telling me that it is time for action—time to move. And the name of motherhood with all its weight presses down on a woman until she can’t hardly breathe.
Usually my dreams are easy to interpret. In my waking life, I wear emotions like a second skin; it’s been a curse and a blessing my entire life that I cannot hide how I feel. There is a story of when I was five or six—how my sister stuffed my pockets full of candy at the Garden Fresh. My mother said all she had to do was look at my face to know we’d done something naughty.
My dream life is much the same. Those stories my brain conjures at night are usually transparent. God has used them to move me to action many times. But this train nightmare has me puzzled. I keep asking myself, what am I not acting on that is endangering my son?
The answer, when I put it this way, could be any number of things. But they are not things within my grasp. This makes me wonder about the faith it takes not to act. This makes me pray for patience in the waiting. This makes me sink in to the hard work of trusting.
I will wait until the silver bullet of God’s love strikes us down.