Last Saturday I woke up screaming. I had a strange dream. Unfortunately, this is not an unusual thing for me. Frequently I have nightmares. Some I remember, some I don’t. I have a recurring dream that often is nightmarish of moving back to Hannibal Missouri. I don’t usually wake up screaming with that dream.
However, last Saturday I did wake up screaming. I had a convoluted nightmare that ended with me being in a strange house. Having been rebuked by the leader of a “prayer meeting” being held in that house for singing a song in parts, 10-12 black birds came flying toward me. Their wings fluttering loudly, they wrapped themselves around my head and neck. I managed to pull them off my neck but couldn’t get them off my head.
With that, I started screaming, waking my husband who always asks the same question. Are you seeing a bad dream? I mean, duh? No I just like scaring him out of a sound sleep. Sometimes I won’t answer him because I just don’t want to talk about the dream. Sometimes to “divert” me he’ll ask me if I have to go to the bathroom. That always makes me feel like I am five years old. I usually don’t answer that question either.
This dream was different from my usual nightmares. Often in my nightmares, I am abandoned. I am left alone in some fashion. I often wonder why I have so many nightmares. Often they make no sense. This dream last Saturday seemed ominous. Black birds are not usually seen as good omens.
As the week unfolded, it seems that many black birds have flown into my life. This has not been a good week to say the least. It has been a very difficult painful week of betrayal and loss in relationship to my brothers. I was processing this situation with a wise woman who referred to their actions as evil. I thought of the birds. Clearly if there is a meaning to my nightmare, they are prime candidates for an evil classification as black birds attacking me.
There have been other things this week. Two of my three older children are dealing with excruciatingly painful circumstances. Their pain deeply affects me as well. In their pain, I do marvel at their resilience and love. They inquire about me in the midst of their own pain. I have never delineated between my older children and my younger. They are all my children. I love them equally. I am proud of all of them.
My three older children however, are the children of my very painful youth. They are children who were, like me, abandoned by their father. The oldest of the three witnessed and endured the abuse of their father leaving an indelible imprint on his life. All three have struggled because of the pain of their early life. The love and care of later years never quite washed away the early pain.
Now they struggle with issues that seem insurmountable. Yet, I see the strength that comes through the forging of the crucible that they have endured. They are strong. They are pushing forward. There has been no easy road for them. Like their mother, they seem to go from crisis to crisis. Like their mother, they are survivors.
Yes, this week the black birds have come. They have been vicious in their attack. They have clouded my brain and left holes in my heart. I will always remember this week. It is a week I wish to forget. As I look at this week however, I am proud of my family. We may have difficulties and struggles that astound people. Yet, we are strong. We are strong because of Christ.
My oldest daughter is the strongest of all of my children. She has endured more black birds than anyone should ever endure. She still sees them fly over her head, sometimes nesting like they did on my head in the dream. Yet, she echoed this week in her blog some words that I need to remember as well.
Only one life will soon be past
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
As I start a new week, I will remember Paul’s words to the church at Philippi: