Saturday, April 29, 2017

Like Trees on a Hillside



Last night I had a dream.  Actually, it was more of a picture right before I woke up.  It was a picture of four trees on a hillside.  Normally I dream in color, but this picture was in gray-scale.  Nonetheless, it was beautiful.  The trees were bare-branched.   And the phrase 'Like trees on a hillside' crossed my mind.

Then I woke up.  But that image stuck with me.

I dream a lot.  And, most of my dreams are just dreams.  But, every now & then there will be a dream that stands out.  And, sometimes I have an image or a phrase that comes to mind right before I awake.

I've been trying to pay more attention to these.  I absolutely believe that God can speak to us in the midst of our dreams.  The fact that there were four trees in this dream seemed significant.  I immediately associated the four trees with my four sons.  (I also had a picture dream a few months ago of four clay pitchers, each with a different jewel-tone rim pouring out a liquid....I also associated that with my four sons).

I was curious if there was any biblical association or verse that I could find that mentioned trees on a hillside.  But, I couldn't seem to find anything exactly related to that.

I did find Matthew 5:14 which says, "
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden"

And Isaiah 5:1 says "
I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside."

But there wasn't anything that exactly spoke of trees on a hillside.

(Addition on 2/9/17 - Information I found online about trees on hillsides.  Interesting spiritual parallels...
"
Planting trees on slopes tends to be tricky, because soil becomes unstable when it's disturbed by running water, wind and gravity. All the plants, including trees, on a slope anchor the soil in place. Preparing the site for tree installation makes it easier for the tree to establish its roots. It is best to create flat terraces for trees in the planting location. The hardiest trees to plant on slopes survive harsh conditions while holding the soil in place."

Age. Post Muse

There's this thing that's been weighing on me.  This awaarmeness of my age....of aging.  This awareness that I'm no longer young.  No longer attractive.  I can walk into stores, down the street, around...and never wonder if someone is looking at me, noticing me.  Because I know they're not.  I blend into the background of normalcy.  A frumpy older woman running errands.

I remember when the simplest task - pumping gas, stopping for coffee...even driving down the road held an element of excitement because you never knew if someone might notice you, SEE you, be drawn to you.

That's what I always longed for - that sense of being seen, known in a glance.  For someone to realize realize that I was unlike other girls.  I was something special.  Something unique.

I wanted to be someone's muse.

But muses don't come in 46 year old, 200 pound bodies.  They just don't They come in young, willowy, haunting sillouhettes.  Not clodhoppy, aching feet & knees.

I am past that stage.  That stage of being noticed.  I'm a wife and a mother now.  A happy wife & mother.  It would no longer be appropriate to be noticed anyway.  But, that's not what I mourn as much as I mourn who I used to be.  Energetic, full of hope & passion.

I'm still there though.  I'm still that whimsical, passionate soul.  I've become a bit buried though - not only under layers of fat and drying skin.  But, also a more purposeful burying.  I've pushed her down, that nymph/ fairy wanna be.  I've pushed her down so that I'm not sure if any part of her still survives.

But then she surfaces every now and then.  In a dream.  While I'm reading a book or watching a movie that hits those old touch points.  She's still there.  I remember.  I feel myself again.  And, then I look in the mirror & remember that my reflection does not reflect the inner me - that girl.

When the Healing Comes

"The healing is happening even when you can't see it or feel it."

This thought came to me tonight as I was sitting on my deck ruminating a bit after dinner.  I was feeling lonely, overwhelmed, and discouraged.  Things I seem to feel too often for my comfort.

And, it's never something major.  My life by most standards is good.  I have a loving husband, four healthy & smart boys, a home, friends, family.  It is good.

No.  It's the little things.  Little things that add up.  Like not having as much time with my very busy husband as I would like.  And being too tired to have any real quality interactions when he is around.  Like seeing what an incredible mess my boys are capable of making on a minute by minute basis.  And alternating between feeling guilty that I haven't trained them better this far and anger at the lack of appreciation they seem to have for all that I do.  Like comparing my tumble down little house that seems to be slowly morphing into hillbilly land and wondering how other people seem to tackle projects, both big and small, in their homes with immediate urgency.... yet after almost 16 years of marriage and living in this home I've learned that all projects seem to be ignored until they just become part of the normal backdrop.

It's little things combined with middle age hormones that finds me sitting on the floor after I've fallen IN the door from the deck crying silently wondering if anyone noticed the crash or ensuing silence.  They don't.  And, I get mad and sad all at the same time.  All I was trying to do was put the chicken on the grill (check) and carry the container with the marinade back inside the house (fail).  What I managed to do was fall inside, somehow gouge my hand and scrape my arm on the door, throw the container with the marinade (flying hither and yon) and land soundly on my knees (my knees that are already giving me trouble mind you).

And, I ask myself.  What is this?  It almost felt like a push, like a malevelent, on purpose "nyah nyah nyah nyah" from Satan (?).  These kinds of klutzy, ridiculous, trip over my own feet accidents always seem to happen when I'm already down.  When I'm feeling emotionally and physically spent.  And, so, there I was sitting with my bleeding hand convinced that I was utterly alone and pathetic.

Maybe this is menopause.  Maybe this is the onset of dementia or a mental illness.  I don't know.  Are most people this emotional?  If my husband and children are any gauge I don't think they are.  I'm pretty sure I fall on 'highly emotional' end of the range.  And, I've always been an emotional person.  But, it's been in hyper drive the last few years.

So.  That brings me to healing.  Because after cleaning up my mess & putting a band-aid on my hand (it was more of a 'ripped a little skin back' than it was a 'gouge'.  But, 'gouge' is how it felt at the time) I finished grilling the chicken and made my salad.  Then I took my plate back out to the deck to eat in the peace and beauty of my backyard that overlooks the neighbor's field...and beyond that the horse pasture.

I needed to take a few minutes to wallow in my self pity.  And, then I began to analyze.  I knew that I was feeling a sense of sadness and discouragement beyond what my current situation warranted.

I looked at my hand with my band-aid.  And, that's when the thought hit me.   "Right now.  Even as I'm sitting here looking at my hand, there is healing happening in there.  This 'gouge' that brought me to tears tonight is already healing.  I could pull back the band-aid and it wouldn't look any different yet.  But, it's happening nonetheless.

I actually looked this up.  The healing process of wounds and I found and article (link here: http://www.medicaldaily.com/4-stage-process-wound-healing-making-skin-stronger-310872 ) that says this...."When the top layer — the epidermis — is broken by a light scratch, not much occurs. You might see some dead skin cells flake off. But when something cuts into the deeper, next layer — called the dermis — you’ll see blood, and your body triggers a four-stage process of healing itself."
Four stages.  More or less they are this...
1.  Stop the bleeding - a temporary blood clot is formed to stop the loss of blood & prevent bad things from getting in.
2.  Inflammation - your body is fighting any bacteria that made its way in.  Swelling & redness are to be expected.
3.  Tissue growth & rebuilding - Collagen is dropped off to begin growing tissue to replace what is missing.
4.  Close the wound - The dermis and epidermis connect and contract to close the wound.

And, get this.  The skin after the wound has healed is stronger than it was before.  There may be a scar - large or small depending on the depth of the wound.

So, what do I do with that?  What does this have to do with my night of self pity on the deck?

I still haven't connected all the dots.  I'm figuring out what it means for me and my issues with depression and discouragement.  But, I take hope in that healing is happening.  And, healing is possible.  In fact, healing is natural.  Our physical bodies are designed to be restored - perhaps not to their original appearance, but restored nonetheless.

And, I couldn't walk away from this epiphany without thinking of friends who are experiencing significantly deeper and more serious wounds.  Friends dealing with infertility or being alone & desperately desiring a spouse.  Friends dealing with marriages that seem to be falling apart.  Most specifically I think of my friend who lost her beloved husband to cancer and is facing the pain of somehow living life without him.

These are people who know wounds.

And, my take away and word of encouragement is that the natural process of healing is happening even now. You might pull back the wound dressing (of what in some cases is major heart surgery) and it wouldn't look any different yet.  But, it's happening nonetheless.



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