Let’s try this again, shall we?
Last week I had another visit from a recurring dream, a dream that has been with me since 1996 or ’97. And although the circumstances have differed the central theme has been the same each time.
A Clergyman I know invites me to be in his life. I am drawn to him but remind him that he has a wife. What about her? Don’t worry, he says, she will take care of herself.
The first time I had this dream it took place in a parsonage filled with the sort of heavy, dark furniture that no modern person would choose to buy. (That helped mark it as a parsonage for me, a house furnished by committee, long ago, not a personal home at all.)
At other times the setting has been outdoors or non-descript. The focus has been on Clergyman’s person, even moreso his face.
In that first version of the dream it is an invitation to go to bed with him, to literally merge.
In that version, his wife bids us farewell with a wave and a smile and goes off to meet friends. As I knew her then, the actual wife was a person who made me feel a bit inadequate, a whiz at cooking and decorating for Christmas and all sorts of wifely crafts.
I’ve been brushing this dream off for years, with a little touch of embarassment. After all, Clergyman is sort of my “type”: he’s a redhead, he’s authoritative, we make pleasant sparks when we disagree. The dream first came in the midst of the collapse of my first marriage. (Also, Pure Luck likes to tease me about him even today.)
Now, seriously, I had been in Jungian analysis for a while when I first had the dream, and for years after that. I know better than to assume a dream is actually about the person in it.
But for some reason, I didn’t. And so I pushed the dream away, much as I pushed Clergyman away in the dreams.
Last week, I happened to see him walking his dog, and the clouds parted and the light shone and I finally got it.
Clergyman is *me.* Clergyman is a part of me I don’t live into with confidence: my Priestly Persona. Wife is me, too. My psyche is inviting me to lean into my Priestly Self, to make my bed in the Clergy House, with confidence that the Wife and Mother part of me has it all handled. The family won’t be failed if I let myself go into my calling.
(High-lariously, as The Princess says, I am typing this at home while sitting next to her on the couch; she ‘s home from school not feeling well. I guess the children will see to it that Mother does her job!)