I had a dream about tornadoes again last night. The tornado dream has been a recurring one for me and they usually go something like this: I'm doing whatever I normally do in a dream, and then I look out a window and the entire landscape is covered in tornadoes. I then spend the rest of the dream running and hiding and generally spending my time freaked out and high on adrenaline. Usually, I am by myself in my terror and my running and hiding.
These tornado dreams usually come in periods of high stress, when I'm dealing with difficult issues or having upsets in relationships. So, I wasn't really surprised when I had a tornado dream. Things have been really stressful lately. We just moved (stressful in itself!) and my whole ordered world has been turned upside down. It really doesnt help that things at the new house just haven't quite been working out like I thought they would. The house we thought was move-in ready, turned out to not be move-in ready. Of course, we only discovered that AFTER we moved in. Fast-forward a month of chaos and exasperation, things finally seem to be getting back to that baseline of content with the house at least.
But, as these things tend to work out, it's never enough to have just one stressor at a time. My relationship side has been rather tumultuous as well. Thankfully, my husband has been extra strong and supportive through all of it. But I feel like I have been on a roller coaster lately, with no sign of the end. I'm beginning to feel like this time, this ride, I'm going to have to come to a decision. With all of the broken hearts and dashed hopes and lost opportunities, I'm not going to be able to sweep this one under the rug - we're going to have to decide to turn it into art or to leave it all together. And right now, which way I'll end up is as murky as the end of the ride.
So, what was different about this dream was two fold. First, I wasn't by myself - my daughter was with me. Which meant that I wasn't just concerned with protecting myself, or with how fast or cleverly I could run away from the storms, I had to protect her first, bring her with me first. Which made the whole dream that much more terrifying and frustrating. The second piece is that this is the first time the tornado has ever caught me. Every other time, it's been close, but I have escaped the storm itself. This time, no such luck. The storm caught A and I, and we were thrown around inside it. I woke up from this dream, protecting A with my body, and I was whispering (like a mantra): "Please be gentle; please be gentle."
What does this all mean?
I think it means that I can't avoid this one, the storm has come to me and there is nothing to do but head into it. Which makes my heart beat hard just thinking about it. I really would rather not face this head on, now is not a good time (when is it ever?); and I really don't need this right now (when do I ever?). This conflict is weighing me down so much, I can feel a physical weight on my chest, literally keeping me from being able to take a full breath.
My dream confirms that this time is different, this time I have to take a stand and ride it out. I'm not by myself this time - I have someone else to think about, to protect. And maybe, the end is that everyone will be fine, but we'll all be moved to different places with a sense of wonder that we were spared. Or maybe the storm will destroy us completely, so that what once was, is no more and we all have to pick up what is left and move on. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.
I don't know how to weather the storm. I don't know how to protect myself or my family. We are completely at the mercy of this thing, this chaos, this tumult that has caught us up into it and all I can think to whisper is please be gentle. Because it is already too late to ask to be let out. Please be gentle.