So in this dream I go down to the river with Ben and Sara. Ben is my fourth child and Sara is his betrothed. We go down to the river to go canoeing or kayaking or tubing. Sometimes dreams leave me a bit fuzzy on details like that. The river is supposed to be clear and kind and inviting but it has been raining lately. Instead of being clear and kind and inviting it is dark, brown, roiling and surging. I go in anyway.
I have no idea why I would wade into a river like this but I do. There is a tall fence on the opposite side running parallel to the river. The boards are wide and thin, standing upright along the line. I’m sure that normally the fence would run along the stream but in this dream the water has risen up high on the fence. The tops of the boards stick up almost a foot above the level of the water. I swim over to the fence and take hold of a board. Somehow, even though it is flowing heavily around me, the water has no pull.
I walk along for a bit, holding onto to the tops of the boards and easing downstream. Suddenly, I look behind me and see a wave three feet high bearing down on me. I quickly take a breath and close my eyes, brace for the overwhelming surge to break over my head. Instead, I feel my feet leave the bottom and the wave lifts me up and carries me along. The tops of the boards have disappeared beneath the rising waters. I swing my feet downstream and lean back to keep my body parallel to the surface of the water and above whatever might be hidden beneath.
In a bit, I catch hold of a small tree and pull myself over to the edge and out of the water. I look back upstream to where Ben and Sara were standing and can no longer see them. Somehow I know that they are downstream, looking for me. Somehow I also know that I will find them soon and we will all be safe. I wake and find it is almost time for rising up and starting this new day, this new week.
I suppose with relatively little effort I could make some sense of this dream. It takes very little to figure out what might be going on in my life that makes me feel like I have been pushed away from things easy to grip into a surging stream much stronger than me. Anyone very familiar with the college would be able to talk about that with a pretty good chance of nailing a thing or two that might be concerning me. And there’s always some degree of helplessness that we feel when others are in control of things that deeply affect us.
What I keep thinking about is how that great surge that bore down upon me did not overwhelm me. Even though it swept my feet away from the bottom and my grip away from the fence, it never broke over my face. There was no panic, no choking, no coughing, just a lifting up and carrying away. And even though I knew that I could not fight my way back upstream, I also knew that forces larger than myself would move me forward and I would once again stand on solid ground with those I love.
I’ve certainly known worse ways to start a Monday.