Divorce, Dreams, Genesis, Midway, The Inner Landscape

Call Me Israel

Jacob Wrestling

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.

Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”

So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”

Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”

 (Genesis 32:24-28, part of a reading for Pentecost 21C)

It must have been quite a night. Jacob sent his family across the river ahead of him: his wives, his children, his servants, his livestock, all his property as a highly mobile desert patriarch. Was he looking for peace and quiet, or did he anticipate a struggle, or an opportunity?

In the middle of the night, at mid-life or really past it as I edge toward 50, I am struggling with God in the night and trying to call it an opportunity. How am I a different person than I was ten years ago? Or than I was at 24, the age of my oldest child, the age I became his mother? (A terrifying thought! Who ever rated me ready to care for an infant when I was so young myself?)

We’re shifting at home, readjusting our view of what life had been, trying to see what the future will be and bring. I have a new call, and a very sick dog, and my marriage is over.

I am striving with God and humans.

I wake in the night, and I wonder what’s next? And I look back at this year and I think I can never call it the worst year ever, no matter what, because my second son flew out of a car and lived, because all three of my children are wonderful, because I found out who really cares about me, and because two people who cannot live together anymore are doing their best to be merciful about it while caring for a beloved pet who is likely nearing his end.

But like Jacob, I am out of joint, and I may walk with a limp. So call me Israel.

Bearnaise Sauce Dogs, Dreams, Grief

I Dreamed a Dream

Last night I dreamed about Molly.

I've been both hoping and fearing a dream about her. As a "graduate" of Jungian analysis, I spent many years writing down my dreams and contemplating them. They mean things to me.

In the dream, I found Molly inside the house across the street. It's a lovely house, a gracious house, and she seemed perfectly at home, curled in a pretty chair. She looked beautiful and did not seem to be in pain. I followed her to the front door, where she waited to greet other visitors. I thanked my neighbor for taking such good care of her. He spread his hands as if to say it was nothing (the real neighbor is a man of few words), then said, "I'm glad to."

I knew I had to leave her there.

She had crossed over, you see, to the other side.

When I woke and remembered the dream I felt relief and sadness and joy.


A Quick Sharp Stab

For years they have been in my dreams, and the injury always
comes in the same place.

I had a vivid dream some years ago of being in a Roman
setting, and in that case the wound came from a dagger, delivered by the
patriarch of my dream family.

Last night it was a spear, pinning me to the ground, every
muscle in my chest in spasm, front and back.

Someone, a beautiful and eccentric woman doing some sort of
sound therapy (I really can’t explain it) with me years ago, had a vision of me
in a canoe, and the injury coming from an arrow. Her frame of reference might
have been reincarnation, but whether or not I want to go there, I have to
acknowledge that this motif appears again and again. What does it mean?

When I woke up last night, it all made sense. The wound is
close to the heart, but it is never fatal, or not instantly so. The wound is
painful, and my whole body reacts to the invasion of the foreign object. I
convulse protectively.

I do this all the time. I sleep this way, turned in on
myself, though the only threat to my peace is a 9 pound cat who wants to be as
near to me as possible.

I’ve been told by a nurse that the sore place I associate
with the dream wounds is actually tender for physiological reasons, a place
where the trail of lymph nodes criss-crosses.

It’s not clear how I hurt my back, but it is clear that it
happened at a time when my focus had been drawn to past emotional injuries, as I
worked on learning to live in my changed body.

One encouraging note: in last night’s dream, for the first
time, I was not alone when injured. A brave friend stood beside me. Since
everyone you meet in a dream represents some part of yourself, I find that
encouraging, to think there is some part of me symbolized by her particular
heroic qualities.

Of course this also means I have some relationship to the assailant,
sometimes seen and other times not…

More to ponder, naturally.

Appointment with the massage therapist at 8 a.m.,