Oh my word I feel somewhat mad even mentioning it, but I had this dream last night. That mysterious work of the mind that could be revealing yet could be the mix of ice cream and John Wick, or whoever was on Netflix the night before! Meaning, I love a good one but try not to put too much stock in them.
I won’t go into detail, although I was sort of a goth-power-ranger chick and how fun was that! After waking, the dream brought to mind other heroes and villains and the unfortunate us vs them mentality rampant in the world today.
On one hand the gurus tell us to find our tribes and love them hard. Like we need groups of “us,” which I tend to agree with. Thomas Merton expounds on friendship in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. “There are people one meets in books or in life whom one does not merely observe, meet, or know. A deep resonance of one’s entire being is immediately set up with the entire being of the other—heart speaks to heart in the wholeness of the language of music; true friendship is a kind of singing.” I like this guy and agree, there is something magical about the connections we humans have the capacity to make.
On the other hand, we are so good at disconnection as well. Our propensity to disagree, condemn, judge, or wallow in miscommunication is astounding. I’m guilty of that as well as the desire to isolate when life gets hard. I know my people are there and for me, but just don’t reach out at times. I wonder if it doesn’t come from the difficulty we have in being vulnerable. Dr. Leanna Fuller writes, “The concept of vulnerability seems appropriate (here) because it points to the ability to be harmed and the ability to be intimate. Most people would agree that in order to establish intimacy in relationships, vulnerability is crucial. Such vulnerability provides a space for each person to be fully known in all of his or her uniqueness, but still closely connected with others. Yet vulnerability also opens us up to all of the ways that those with whom we are in relationship may hurt or disappoint us.”
She nailed it. “The ability to be harmed.” Most have experienced the harm that we humans can impose on each other. So many fine lines between the desire to connect and the safety of isolation. My Dad’s litany was not to trust anyone until they proved to you they could be trusted. Of course I am naturally the opposite and generally see the good in a person and intentionally respond to that before picking apart all their junk. Yeah, I do that too, but when you have lived for a time when only the worst is seen in you? Or know you have burdened others with that view? It makes you want to be different. There is probably some brilliant in-between that I haven’t yet struck upon.
I’ve joked about Pollyanna, the fictional character, in one chapter she quips, “When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will.” (Eleanor Porter, Pollyanna, 1913) Little silver lining seeker is right on that one. Doesn’t everyone have a shadow side?
I know it’s hard. We all have our filters of ideology and correctness that can weaken our attempts to see the good in others. We have our pain from rotten experiences. But haven’t most of us been the source of pain as well? Can we not let that reality strengthen our attempt to defy the us vs them mentality?
So the dream. What I remember most is that I was tasked with a duty and I just couldn’t do it alone. Many stepped up to help me and it was a beautiful feeling. The joy came from the help I received more than from accomplishing some great task. That is what stuck with me, the connection.
The dream was moving, but it was recent words from two friends that originally sparked my thinking on the difficulties of connection. I’d just be shocked if everyone hasn’t felt this way at one time or another, so wanted to share as a reminder for all the “them” in our lives.
Just Love Me
“Be all you can be
according to your vision
what I wanted
what I needed
was never my decision
I did everything
to move up in direction
nothing is right
I’m not a picture of perfection
when you look at me
I only feel your rejection
Every choice I made
is up for dissection
all parts of my life
get a thorough inspection
I just want to do and be me and be free
All I ever wanted from you was for you to just love me.” Kimitra Wallen
“Look at me, in all my mess, and walk with me.” Angela Riggs