Nightmare on Southfield Street

3 03 2010

In true artist fashion, it’s 1:45 in the morning and I can’t sleep because I have too many ideas floating around in my mind, knocking to get out.

I don’t think it helped that my husband, Tyler, is preaching his very first sermon tomorrow night. He kept me up until 2:00 am last night, discussing the finer points of his sermon, getting more and more animated by the minute. Every time I closed my eyes or mumbled a response too slowly, he poked me to make sure I was still at rapt attention. I think maybe he could get a side gig as a torture consultant for the government.

I’ve been dissecting a vivid nightmare I had last night.

In my nightmare, I was out in the middle of a field, alone. I was on a cell phone, and a tornado was hunting me—yes, hunting me down. It swept me up into the sky, buffeting me up into the air and hurling me back down to the dirt, then picking me up again and flinging me around. In the dream, I was shouting into the phone for someone to help me, because I was getting beat up by a tornado.

Oddly, I remember my dream-self thinking, “My phone must get incredible reception if it’s still working in the middle of a tornado funnel!”

Good thing I don’t really buy into the dream analysis thing—then I’d have to reconcile myself to the fact that I probably have deep-seated control issues.

Oh well. I probably do.

In thinking about this dream, I realized two things:

#1. I’ve been dreaming about tornados for as long as I can remember—I can recall specific dreams about tornados ripping my house apart, descending on my grandparents’ houses, and following me everywhere. I can remember details from these dreams from when I was as young as 8 or 9, and these tornado dreams have been the consistent nightmares I’ve had my whole life. I don’t think I’ve ever had a severely traumatic experience with them, so this means that either I’m going to die in a tornado or I do indeed have deep-seated control issues. Either way, I’m just not really that concerned.

#2. I’m apparently not at all different in my dreams than I am in real life. In my dreams, I’m still the utter pragmatist, using logic to reflect on the strength of cell phone towers while hurtling through the air at hundreds of miles per hour.

But, in all seriousness, I did start thinking about how I was handling this nightmare. I realized that I can look at this in two different ways—either to internalize it and be terrified and afraid, or to look for the good in it.

On one hand, this recurring dream has me being hunted down by a vindictive tornado, intent on harming me while I’m isolated out in the middle of the country. But, on the other hand, I was being slammed into the ground over and over again and remained largely unharmed—and, my cell phone still worked, to boot.

This is sure indicative of the way we can look at life, isn’t it? It’s the ol’ “glass half full, glass half empty” question.

On one hand, I look out at the world and see things like “Chat Roulette”, the new website that features thousands of web cams randomly connecting to each other at any time of the day—and the users could be doing anything, if you catch my drift (take my advice and don’t even bother looking at the website—just know that there are a lot of dirty, dirty people out there). I look at shows like MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and see people who have probably never taken a shower and prefer to share that filthiness with everyone they meet (along with their copious amounts of tanning lotion).

On the other hand, I talk to the girls in my small group and hear them telling me that their celebrity role models are Bono and Tyra Banks and Emma Watson—people who positively change the world, impact the lives of others, and “don’t get into trouble”. I spend time at the homes of families, and see how even in the chaos of raising multiple teenagers, there’s so much love there. I think of the volunteers at church, including guys who have started entire ministries out of their love for others, like our Extreme Faith Homeless Ministry. I think of the teenagers I encounter daily who are more than willing to open up to me, a random adult—not to mention the incredible amount of people I’ve met in the last several years who are deeply interested in hearing the Gospel, despite having no background in church whatsoever.

 So—is the glass half full, or half empty?

I guess my tornado nightmare was worth it, to give me a question like this to ponder. I just hope that next time I’m caught in a vengeful tornado in my dreams, I have enough sense to swathe myself in bubble-wrap first.

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