Waking, the mist of dreams linger, a fine dew on the mind’s eye. I closed my eyes again and watched the nocturnal sepia tones fade. I am not an artist. I do not draw or paint. The rich details of my somnolence defy words. I am blessed to rarely suffer nightmares, instead having the mish mash of Picasso, M.K. Escher, Martha Stewart, Phillip Glass and Jacques Cousteau: surreal, disturbing, illusionistic, compulsively detailed, densely textured and vivid; wonderment and awe saddled beside precise and concrete. It is impossible to describe.
I find my living dreams, my hopes and aspirations for my future, to be equally difficult to convey. And with my waking dreams, I refuse to let them drift away, submerging into the depths until I visit my subconsciousness. The dreams I envision for this life are tangible and oh so close. Like a parched wanderer in a desert, I have dreamed of the cool water and lush terrain so many times only to be disappointed by the mirage. I accept the exiled wandering. But, there is an oasis. Life is proof.
It may be that I will not stumble into a luxuriant spring fed nirvana. Instead, I must bring my divining rod and search for the thready, hidden stream that will feed my dream. And oh, Lord…I am close. Part of this life is accepting the gifts God-given. I shall stop appreciating them like a window shopper. Walk into the store and own the things you so adore. I will wear the gifts, use the gifts and in the act of using, show true honor and homage to that which I am given.
When I was a small child, my family had a mafia worthy deep freezer, loaded with a white, butcher-paper, wrapped side of beef, frozen bags of vegetables, Holsum bread bags of shelled pecans, secret bars of candy and my mother’s sterling silver. She wrapped the precious treasure like a rump roast, burying it in the artificial tundra in the garage. She defrosted it for Thanksgiving occasionally, but eventually it became too troublesome and demanding to bother getting it out. And many Thanksgivings, Christmases and special occasions passed sans the beautiful treasure she was gifted. Then all of life was challenged when Hurricane Andrew plowed through our lives, demolishing all that we knew and held safe.
And my mother stopped freezing her sterling silver.
She now uses it every day to stir her morning coffee, spread her butter and jam and eat her peas. Unexpectedly, earlier this year, a woman that works for me (and who has not worked for me very long) gave me a full set of sterling silver. REAL sterling silver. She said she had two sets and thought I would find use for it. I took the felt lined box, too stunned for words. Embarrassed, even. What had I done to deserve such a extravagant gift? How could I repay such a thing? I put the case on the pantry selves amongst my larder and it sat. I walked past it when I came and left the house. It kept company as I did laundry. And like a Tomb Raider ticking clock hidden beneath the stairs, I finally heard its message. Something in the gift of this thing from a woman bravely battling breast cancer has been a sentinel event, a parable for my life.
Gifts are not earned. When given a gift, use it, appreciate it and savor the offering. It is an offense to shelve it and leave it unused. A gift comes without attachment or prerequisite. A gift is not a barter or an exchange. It is not a loan.
I have gifts, true and solid and God-given. One of my gifts is to have dreams (even BIG dreams) and to set myself upon a path to make those dreams real. My education. My career. Motherhood. (Noted in the order I started them not the order of importance.) Now, I have a new dream. And I must have the faith that I have the gifts to make this real as I have with the others. I can get stuck on the small failures, the fine print, but in the macrocosm of my life…I get the Big Dreams. But not as gifts. I get the big dreams because I use the gifts I was given to make the dreams real.