Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Memories and thoughts
I am on top of a building.
The wedding scene around me is so ethereal I can feel my heart constrict. I know that I am experiencing a time I will think about for the rest of my life. I want to memorize every detail, to come back and run my fingers through this moment as vividly as possible. I cannot stop time, so I freeze myself instead. My breath settles in my throat, my fingers touch my cheek and I am a statue observing. I watch, and I gather and I am so grateful everything about me is warm and glowing and prayerful. Wind ripples through the building top, nudging table clothes and hair strands . The setting sun casts halos around my friends and every imperfection is smoothed. I gaze at the people at my table, recognizing how arresting they are, how lucky I am. Jenna looks like a socialite from the seventies, her hair in waves, her orange one-shoulder dress vibrant against pale skin and a blue sky back drop. Bryan looks dashing in his dark suit, and in love when he teases his new wife. He says something ridiculous and she laughs at him and my eyes fill with tears. I don’t want them to go. Spain seems so far away. Jenn sits beside me and her laughter wraps around me, a wonderful constant the past few years. Cole rolls his eyes and makes a usual dry comment and Casey brandishes a knife and Bryan threatens to throw him off the building. My best friends laugh and I squeeze my eyes shut. I just want this moment to never end. But I breathe because time is passing and the sun is setting and I know my life will be made up of a thousand beautiful moments.
I am in the middle of a grocery store.
I am so hungry. I can feel the space in my stomach and the trembling in my fingers. I wander through the aisles, mentally tasting all of my favorite foods. I try to tempt myself with veggie burgers or pasta, hummus or burritos. My heart beats faster and faster because nothing sounds appealing and I do not understand it. There is a connection that I am lacking. When I am hungry, I desire food and am satisfied. That connection, the hunger and the want, it is natural. There is something unnatural about me. I have no desire for food, just a hollowness in my stomach. I am horrified with myself. It is not logical and I should be able to just turn it off but I can’t. My friend is annoyed with my indecisiveness, and I move away from him so he doesn't see me cry. I stare at frozen dinners and press my hands against my cheeks. I don’t understand myself. I want to eat. I want to be healthy. I have had a good day. I am happy. There is no reason for me to not eat, but this thing has grown without me knowing. I don't know what to do. I wipe my face and settle on peanut butter and jelly but my heart keeps pounding.
I am dreaming.
I am in a city, and following someone into a building. But then I realize that I am dreaming and perhaps the laws of physics might not apply to me. So I stay in this back garden area and leap high in the air. I float and land gently. I bound upward again and brush my hand against the side of a building and feel the sandy crumble of cement. I slide my fingers against cool glass and the dirt on top of a ledge. I touch the shirt I am wearing, a dark cotton with small flowers on it. The material feels a little scratchy and it flutters in the wind. I have now experienced what it is like to fly. It is one of my favorite memories.
I am dreaming while awake.
The ability to dream, in and out of sleep, is such a wonderful ability. Rilke says that even if he was locked up for the rest of his life, his days would be rich with memory- the memory of a delicious dish or a favorite place in his imagination. In the book 'Papillon' the main character spends years in solitary confinement, and during this time his imagination is freed to wander the world, speak to the people he's loved, climb old gardens and city buildings.
I am a bit of a dreamer. Sometimes my dreams take me to delightful places, sometimes they take me to terrible. But the very fact that I can go at all, seems so stunning to me today. I drove to Jacksonville this morning, was listening to Wilco's 'big, blue sky' and dreamed the most beautiful dreams. I opened my own store, I went back to grad school. I created a beautiful dress, I finished a story, I imagined road trips and restaurants in Europe and backpacking through Peru. And I thought of this, one of my favorite verses,
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
I feel that Spirit, gentle within me. I worry my dreams are too much for God and my nightmares, but I don't think that is true. I think my worry and fear is too much for my dreams.
I am happy to experience the full range of life, the bad makes the beautiful more fragrant, the terrible pushes me inward to God, and the hope of the future is so exciting I can only work and leap toward my wildest dreams.