I had a dream last night about being at a church meeting of some sort. Groups of people sitting at the same round tables that have been in use for decades. Built to last. It was the lounge, but it wasn’t the lounge. There’s some familiar faces, but in that dream way where you don’t see anyone specific but somehow know they’re there. Someone I trusted was sitting at a table, and I went to sit near him. Various people in leadership wandering around. They avoided making eye contact with me.
It was like we were all waiting for a bigger group meeting to start.
At some point the person I trusted left without me realizing, and there wasn’t anyone left that I felt safe with. Internally I panicked. I made a plan to leave the room, got up, and walked out into another space and sat down there to wait. For someone safe? For something to happen? I’m not sure. I just remember hoping that nobody unsafe would come by.
Then I woke up.
I was left with a mix of post-dream emotions. Sad. Angry. Hurt. Empty.
The words my youngest said to me during our bedtime routine started playing back in my head: “When Grandpa died, everything changed. Thanks to [name withheld] I don’t get to see my friends anymore.”
Thanks for that night brain. 4am thoughts like this are so helpful.
The next stop my night brain took me to was the image of our kids letting themselves in to the main office area to go to what was Sue’s office to hang out with friends after church on a Sunday. It was a safe place. A place they thought they could relax in, be comfortable in, and feel a part of things by proxy because their mom worked at this church.
What I’ve taken to calling “conversations with my night brain” aren’t as frequent as they were a few months ago. But it doesn’t take much to trigger them. A side comment about something fairly unrelated. An Instagram post with a face I used to see on a regular basis. Someone asking me to play guitar. One of our kids missing some part of our former life.
Whatever it is, something kicks a pebble in my brain, and a whole bunch of rocks come tumbling down.
It’s during these times that the lyrics to the U2 song “The Little Things That Give You Away” try to help me make some emotional sense of it all:
The air is so anxious
All my thoughts are so reckless
And all my innocence has died
I wake at four in the morning
Where all the darkness is swarming
And it covers me in fear
I’m full of anger and grieving
So far away from believing
That any song will reappear
The end is not coming
It’s not coming
The end is here