I woke up to the baby crying very early this morning, and while I am usually wishing for a few more minutes of sleep, this morning I was relieved to hear her voice and I rushed to her side.
I had tears on my cheeks and a weight in my chest: I was having a nightmare. She had been abducted and I was walking along the railroad tracks, arms extended to my sides, palms facing up. I was looking into the night sky, telling God that I had surrendered. I was begging him to help me find her. The sky was almost black and speckled with stars, and I was totally alone.
When I woke up, I felt desperation, sadness, guilt, and fear. The dream wasn’t easily shaken. I went into her room and held her and she fell asleep in my arms. When I put her back into her crib and crawled back into my bed, my husband was gone for work and my son had taken his place, as he often does around 5:00 a.m. I held him and fell back asleep for an hour, lulled to sleep by his breathing. My children were safe. Nothing else really matters. It took a horrible dream for me to put things into perspective and to hear an important message.
Last night, I went to bed feeling so weighed down. It all started with a few comments on one of my recent, featured essays on a site for which I write. A few of the comments were just so harsh, and while most of the comments were positive, a few of the critical ones really shook me to the core. I perseverated about them. I doubled checked phrasing and clarity and intention in my work. This snowballed, as feelings of inadequacy often do, and it turned into feeling not good enough at writing or teaching or mothering or being a wife or friend. I rehashed old friendships in my head; I second guessed parenting decisions; I double checked lesson plans. I truly felt good at nothing and bad at everything, and for a bit, I felt like a total failure. And then I made plans to work and be better at it all. That’s always how I am: “let’s mend this, say this, do this, be this….”
And when I finally fell asleep, these feelings followed me to my dreams. The baby was abducted in my dreams because I turned away from her for a second and I didn’t realize someone had taken her. It was my fault, completely. And so, in the dream, I was alone, wandering around, looking for my daughter. I can still feel the pain in my chest as I type this with tears in my eyes. But in the dream, I raised my arms outward, palms up and I surrendered. I’m not sure what came of the surrendering in the dream because I woke up.
I still feel heavy today. But, I think if we’re all honest, we all have days like this? In the car, on my way home from teaching, Let It Be by the Beatles came on. It came on TWICE in my 30 minute car ride, not once. What are the chances? It was almost like a message to me to let it all be:
And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
My dream hasn’t left me and I held the baby for her nap today, just staring at her, thinking about Mother Mary. As I held her, I also thought about a text I got from a dear friend today when I told her about much of the above. She told me that my life lesson is to care less about what people think of me and that the lesson will keep revisiting me if I don’t learn how to deal with it. In essence, she was telling me to just let it all go, to let it be. I think she’s right. Between the dream, the song, and her text, I think I have received the message.
Sometimes, messages we need to hear present themselves until we listen.
So, today, I will try harder to let it be, in all areas of my life. Sometimes, we don’t need to do anything. Sometimes, we just need to let things fall as they will and simply let it be.