Hitting Myself Over the Head with a Blunt Metaphor

I love my dreams.  Well, I love most of my dreams.  The ones that aren’t nightmares.  I’m such a comedian.  In my waking life I love to make people laugh, and in my dream life it seems that I love to make myself laugh, too.

Dreams are funny things.  We put in all sorts of inside jokes for ourselves.  And then, for me, sometimes there are the dreams that are like an American remake of a French comedy.  You know, the kind where there’s absolutely no subtlety.  The kind that screams, “THIS IS THE PUNCHLINE – RIGHT NOW – THIS HERE!!!” Do you ever have those dreams?

The other night I had a dream in which I was apparently hitting myself over the head with a blunt metaphor.  “THIS IS THE METAPHOR – THIS RIGHT HERE – NOW!!”  Right.  I got it.  Thank you.  It was pretty funny.

I was trying to take a heavy bag full of recycling or garbage to an outside bin.  Naturally this involved climbing up bleachers and then down stairs on the back side.  And apart from the big heavy bag i was carrying all this other stuff, which was making it more difficult and certainly inconvenient.  On the back end, as I was going down the stairs, at some point, they turned into a conveyor belt, and I was at the bottom waiting for my stuff to come down the conveyor belt.  As my stuff came, I was asking myself why I had brought all this stuff.  It was literally baggage.  Seriously.  It was handbags and duffle bags with the odd dress thrown in here or there.  Mostly bags, though.  Why was I carrying all this baggage?

Why, indeed.  Oh, yes, and “THIS IS THE METAPHOR! THIS RIGHT HERE!  THE WHOLE BAGGAGE THING!”  In case you missed that.

So here’s what I’m fairly certain my dream wasn’t telling me;  I’m pretty sure I wasn’t trying to tell myself that I have too much luggage.  Or handbags.  The metaphor may have been blunt, but even so, there’s a lot behind it.  The dream didn’t tell me what the baggage is.  I had to figure that out for myself.

In working with my pastoral counselor, eventually I was able to work out that a big part of my baggage is my dislike of being examined.  And yet, I keep putting myself in positions where I have to be examined.  I have to keep opening myself up to others, and even opening up my home to others – for inspection and approval.  For examination.

On Sunday, someone from a dog rescue organization is coming over to do a home visit so that I can adopt a rescue dog.  I could go and buy a dog.  No judgments.  No inspections. Just a check.  But I want to get a rescue dog.  That’s important to me.

For many years, Don and I were foster parents.  Home inspections.  Background checks.  Annual reviews.  Life in a microscope.  Again, though, these children needed families to live with.  I felt obliged.  So we did it.  We opened ourselves up to examination.

And here I am on the path to ministry.  Not too much examination there.  Self-examination.  Examination by psychologists and panels and professors and ministers.  All because I feel the need to do this work.  I’ve been called.

So all those bags – they weren’t empty.  They were filled with memories, hopes, and wishes.  They were filled with fears.  All kinds of stuff.

And like changing purses after a few months, there are all kinds of weird things at the bottom.  It can be scary to go there and investigate, but those stylish bags won’t stay looking good for long if you don’t clean out the bits of paper and lost breath mints every once-in-a-while.

So I’m going through the bags.  The metaphorical bags.  I’m examining them myself, which is much better than letting someone else rifle through my purse.  I’m going to try to learn how to carry fewer things around all the time.  I’m also going to work on sharing the load a bit.  And in my literal life, I’m limiting myself to carrying one purse at a time.  And a totebag when appropriate.  Or backpack.  You know, one carry-on and one personal item.  One personal item that my stylish purse can fit into.

I wonder why my back hurts?  Hmm…

Well, that’s it.  That’s all I’ve got.  Sweet dreams.  I hope they’re amusing.

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