I had a dream in the wee hours of Tuesday.
I walked into our bedroom to find Carl high atop a ladder painting our bedroom.
I was puzzled and asked him what he was doing and he insisted that he needed to get this room painted. I glanced at the ceiling and noticed large globs of paint starting to descend onto the perfectly made bed, the carpet and me. I tried to reach out my hands to catch pools of paint but there was too much for me to even help the situation.
Dreams are strange. To be honest, I don’t really like to hear other people’s dreams and I doubt they want to hear mine either. Mainly because when dreams are expressed they often become a jumbled mess to the dreamer and hearer.
I forced you to read about mine because it isn’t that complex or crazy. If I had to interpret my dream, I would venture to guess it was about the feeling of being out of control.
They say our dreams are about what we cannot resolve during waking hours. So it isn’t surprising I woke up not feeling great, a bit nauseous. I wanted to spend the day in my pajamas. I couldn’t seem to muster up any of my “pick one thing” mojo.
I did a little of this and that and nothing seemed to lessen the tightness in my chest or stomach.
It was pretty dark outside with all the signs of threatening rain so I decided to take a five-minute walk. An hour later and fully drenched, I felt a little better because my breathing had changed shallow to deep breaths.
I showered and ate lunch. I sat in my living room chair and listened to a playlist of peaceful verses until I fell asleep. I know I was asleep because I was startled from slumber by my phone alerting me to a Zoom video call. I spent the next half hour talking to my daughters who are no longer live under our roof. We caught up, laughed, talked about everything important as well nothing of value.
After our call ended, I noticed I felt lighter. I realized how much I missed seeing their faces. I have felt this same way from text messages with friends and whenever we Skype or Zoom with my parents and brother’s family.
It’s Wednesday and I didn’t have a dream last night. But I changed my morning routine and walked first thing after a big glass of water. I need to help my body rid itself from residual anxiety and help myself breathe deeper.
I haven’t been walking in my favorite park for the last week but instead neighborhood routes. There’s a marked difference in how walkers and joggers are conducting themselves, people are very intentional to switch sides of the street or in my case, a lot of zigging and zagging to keep safety in mind.
Near the end of my walk, a fellow walker and I attempted to increase our spacing, I moved closer to a fence and she risked soggy socks by moving to the grass strip and as we drew closer, I looked to the right to greet her with a smile and a waving hand, she said, “I gotcha!” with a smile.
In two words, a stranger communicated her care for me and about our safety. Perhaps I am a bit tender right now, but those two words meant a lot in that sweaty moment. This upside-down time of separation is brutal but it is for the greater good of people beyond our reach. It further reminded me of how although we are isolated, we are not alone. In our day to day lives, we never know what those who cross our paths are enduring. They could have received bad news or the loss of a loved one or are worried about how to pay their rent. But now when we encounter a stranger, we know they are experiencing this global pandemic alongside us plus all the weighted concerns from before the virus extending to here and now. It’s a lot for our bodies to store and absorb.
Be gentle with yourself.
Be gentle with others.
There may be days when you lose your temper or patience.
There may be days when tears come out of the blue. I found myself tearing up while watching Top Chef All-Stars this week. The chefs were visiting small restaurants and sampling their cuisine. Sadness escaped from my eyes when I thought of so many restaurants that may be shuttered for good.
There may be days when you want to stay in your pajamas.
There may be days when you are filled with energy and resolve.
Each day is different and without a manual or road map.
Be kind to yourself.
What has helped me this past week:
- Taking deep breaths
- Seeing the faces of those outside my walls
- Lots of water because a bathroom is always close at hand.
- Not trying to fix the vacillating moods within my walls, mine included.
- Documenting the day in my journal and with photos. I will want to remember this time, even the reality of recording the mundane parts of each day. There is no need to write a lengthy report, simply jot down a few sentences or an adjective rating for the day. If your planner seems neglected by less scheduled hours, perhaps use those lines to capture bits and pieces of your day. Or use the notes app on your phone.
- A surprise book arriving in the mail. I have struggled lately to read fiction but this one has helped.
- Watching one news program a day, listening to music and podcasts designed to bring peace not fear.
What has helped you during this time?
These mountains that you are carrying,
You were only supposed to climb.
casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].
I Peter 5: 7 (Amplified Version)
I am forever grateful not to have to carry the weight of the world in my small palms.
P.S. After watching this video, I seriously need to up my fingernail game!
Also while editing this post on Saturday, I saw a man standing on our sidewalk, waiting for someone it seemed. Suddenly a woman who had been out of my line of sight walked through our lawn, carrying scissors, a small bunch of the orange wallflowers blooming in our side yard and a large grin across her face. I was startled at first but as I reported this action to Carl, I realized, she simply is capturing beauty within her day.
Go forth and do likewise!