Friday, November 19, 2004

I Have a Dream...

Ok, I had a dream. Two nights ago I had what might have been one of the most profound dreams of my life. I often remember the images and thoughts that flash through my sleeping mind, usually with fogginess and confusion, but with an overall sense of theme. Tuesday night, I dreamt of something far different than my usual anxiety-ridden delusions. It appears the propaganda of this past election, although mostly dissipated, has managed to finally invade my sleep.

The following is the best way I can explain what I imagined. As with any dream, much of the actual events and dialogue are lost in translation, but the overall premise is clear, at least as clear as the words I could find to illustrate it. It is in two parts.

Part 1

A snippet of my life as it exists in reality. My husband, myself and our three children, all residing in our current home with essentially the same life we live now. The National news is on television, and sounds, sights, and political interpretations of the War in Iraq percolate through our home. The kids are lost in their imaginary world of dolls and dress up games. My husband and I are cleaning up after dinner, half listening to the reports of car bombs exploding, ambushes, and soldiers dying. It’s a solemn feeling, but overall detached from our lives. We know no one in the war, no family, no friends, and no neighbors. It’s much like listening to a history teacher or watching a sad movie. It’s touching and sobering. We turn off the television, and life goes on.

Part 2

Again, a snippet of my life as it exists in reality, but this time with one distinct difference. The television is on to the sounds of the 6:00 news. The same visuals of soldiers, and explosions, and chaos in Iraq flashing across the screen. The kids are playing together with their multitude of toys, alternating giggling and whining, as the normal interaction of siblings goes. The remnants of dinner have already been cleared from the table, and the dishes washed and neatly put away. This time, I am on the couch, perched on the edge, watching and listening to the network anchor for any news on the soldiers, specifically for news on my husband. I wring my hands in a damp dishtowel, trying to control the shaking, the fear threatening to overtake my senses. It’s a flash, a day in the life of a soldier’s wife. One day, or more accurately, one evening between dinner and bedtime. That’s all I saw and felt, and yet it had more of an effect on me than entire days in reality.

Both parts were seamlessly connected, and my perspective was clear throughout. There was no sudden realization of the difference of hearing about strangers on TV and the actual experience of a loved one at war. I felt the connection from start to finish. In Part One, it was as if I knew our family was on the verge of something. I knew what we had was fragile, but I knew it only as an undercurrent. It didn’t change the way I lived. In Part Two, I longed for my previous life, but much in the same way I knew fragility in Part One. A similar undercurrent reminded me what it was like to be detached from the war, to have my husband by my side. Every emotion of each experience overlapped and yet seemingly without effecting my actions, as only those of a dream can.

I awoke with a start and a cold sweat, my hand going immediately to my right to feel my husband next to me. I felt a bolt of panic when his place in bed was cold, but my mind quickly cleared, reality returning, and I remembered the girls had called for him earlier in the night. He had likely fallen asleep with them. My concern subsided, and the dream began to fade to that secret land of lost dreams. I challenged myself to recall as many details as possible, reliving them as I did.

I explained my dream to my husband the next day with as much detail as I could, and he was as moved as I. Now, sitting down with fingers to keyboard, I recall more than I initially thought I had. The effect it had on me upon awakening is still in tact. It was an eye-opener of sorts, I suppose. Like most of us, I have heard the stories of military wives and children many times in the past, but this past Tuesday, for just one small moment, I lived a fragment of it. Fortunately, for me it was just a dream. I got to wake up and return to my ‘life as normal’ with no residual effects, other than what I chose to take from it. I gained a little perspective, as much as is possible with a dream, and more than I ever wanted. I thank God for the dream, for my experience, for my reality, and then thank him twice over for the men and women fighting for our country, and the loved-ones who wait at home for their safe return. I know I cannot truly imagine what it’s like for them, and that my dream was no more real than any other reverie, and I cannot help but selfishly be grateful for that.

1 comment:

Jim Cota said...

I read this post last week and have been meaning to send you a note...

I really enjoyed reading this for two reasons. First, I think it beautifully and perfectly captures the fragility that surrounds all of the things we hold dear. I thank God for healthy children, yet I know we're never out of the woods. I'm not sure why I've been so lucky, but I aim to never squander the feeling and to truly rejoice in the blessings I've been given.

Second, I think your remark "I thank God twice for the men and women fighting for our country" is right on the money. As someone who spent 11 years in the Navy Reserve, I'm familiar with the feelings of pride and uncertainty whenever a situation arises in the world. I can assure you these people, and the ones they leave behind at home, welcome and appreciate your prayers. I can also assure you that, regardless of what you might hear on the news, they are proud to be making this sacrifice and are greatly comforted to know that their sacrifice is not going unnoticed or unappreciated.

Great work...