Six years of my life. It seems like it’s only been short breath ago. See, I’ve been living in this dream. Sometimes I feel safe, loved and even euphoric. Then, a wave of sadness and pain enter and I would like to wake up. There’s a part of me that is curious and wants to continue the dream with a belief that it will get better. And that part of me is right; it does get better … for a little while. I sit and watch and listen as the sound of glass shattering enters into my world, each piece of me breaking into smaller shards. I can’t help but wonder when I clean up the pieces; will I be able to find them all? Will they still fit together and produce a clear image of who I am, or will there just be a distorted confused person looking back at me? Why am I sitting here? Why don’t I get up and stop this? I think I am ready to wake up now.
My eyes start to flutter and my body begins to stir. A warm gentle hand guides me back into my dream state. But, I wanted to wake up! I don’t want to feel this confusion and sadness anymore! The keeper of the dream assures me that it will get better, that I am loved more than words can express. He loves me and treats me better than anyone else he’s ever brought into his dream, you know. Out of love, I have to believe him. Or, is it out of selfish pride that I choose to believe him? Surely I’m intelligent and I am strong so I would never stay in a place that I didn’t want to, right? He loves me, right? Certainly he wants only the best for us. He would never hurt someone he loves so much! It must all be in my head. I find myself questioning myself more and more as the dream progresses. I think I am ready to wake up now.
I look around and watch my friends and loved ones fade off into the distance. I call out to them. They extend their arms, reaching out to take me with them but there is a barrier between us. I look down and see the keeper’s hand pushing them away and his other hand pulling me deeper into “our world”. I say to him, “I really miss them”. He smiles and says, “Yes, honey, I wish you had more time to spend with them. You should do that. But first, I need you to do these things for me”. He hands me a scroll and I untie the string that binds it willingly, eager to please him. The scroll unrolls and never stops. I busy myself, accomplishing much but never enough. My loved ones are lost, despite my efforts. I would really like to join them. I think I am ready to wake up now.
My heart races, panic overwhelms me as I search for the exit from this place. I try and tell the keeper about the feelings that I have. His eyes grow wild, he is angry. Why do you want to leave me? Don’t you see all that I am doing for you? Don’t you see how much I love you? Is it not enough? Why can’t you be happy? I beg and plead and tell him that it is not his fault. I have these feelings for a reason. He rips my feelings from out of my heart and begins to crush them one by one in a rage. I am beginning to realize that in this dream, you are not allowed to have certain feelings. He gently places a few of them on the floor for me to pick up and keep for myself—humility, pain, sadness, uncertainty, distrust. As I gather them, I am devastated. I fight back, knowing how difficult it will be if I have to use these feelings to survive. I think I am ready to wake up now.
I quickly learn that fighting back is not allowed in this dream, either. The keeper begins taking the shape of a monster and I hold up the scared feeling that he left for me, begging for his understanding and mercy. His eyes turn black and cold. A grimacing smile appears. I am not sure what happened after that. I see flashes—my body hitting the floor, hands around my neck, pain washing over my body, and then numbness. The keeper is holding me and rocking back and forth reassuring me that he never meant to hurt me. “Please forgive me”, he pleads. I promise you that if you stay here in this dream with me that I will never hurt you again. I can’t live without you. You are my world. Sometimes you just make me so angry. You shouldn’t say the things that you do. You shouldn’t look at me the way you do. You just shouldn’t be you. Why do you make me hurt you? Promise me that you will not do things that make me hurt you anymore. I nod my head and apologize for my mistakes. I think I am ready to wake up now, but I am learning and this time I keep it to myself.
So here I am, in this dream. Yes, I am aware of how unhealthy it is for me. Yes, I am aware that what I thought was love is not real. I continue working through the list on the endless scroll. I like to be busy in this dream; it helps to ease the pain of knowing that I may never wake up completely. I am making fewer mistakes, but sometimes I still make him angry.
I am not alone, I have my keeper. I look into the keeper’s eyes and smile to survive.
Oh Lord, please be with me because I AM ready to wake up now.