Two nights ago I had a dream that a man was looming over me with an outstretched hand, reaching for my neck. I screamed (apparently not loud enough to wake Trey), but my eyes snapped open and the tingle of fear ran down my spine all the way to my toes. I was silent for a moment as my eyes adjusted to the darkness. My mind registered that what I has seen as an arm and outstretched fingers was really the green bedroom wall and a plant in a corner of the room. I must have been on the edges of sleep where reality and consciousness clash.
Sleep has been elusive this week and my eyes have searched for the clock half a dozen times in the middle of the night. 2:07 AM. 4:46 AM. 5:28 AM. Although my body remained still between the sheets, my mind was skipping through a hallway connected to rooms of random thoughts. Old friends from my childhood often appear, bringing back memories from decades past. Earlier this week I remember waking, then closing my eyes hoping to find my way back to an earlier dream. I knew I would be fully awake soon and I wanted to find my old friend to say goodbye. I gave her a hug and she slipped away.
Driving home from work this week, something caught my eye on the side of the road. After getting off the interstate, I noticed a bicycle parked next to the cement column of the highway overpass. Sitting there about halfway up the cement embankment was a man in a sleeveless shirt and dark shorts. There was nothing unorthodox about his physical appearance but it was the way he was sitting that struck me as peculiar. He sat cross legged with both feet in his lap, two hands resting on the tops of his knees with palms facing up, his thumb and pointer fingers enclosed in two perfect circle and his eyes were shut. In the midst of rush hour traffic, under the rumbling of the overpass – this man was quietly at peace in the middle of meditation.
I am sometimes overwhelmed by the chaos in my house with Sophia shrieking, the dog barking, and Trey watching TV while talking on the phone. Even though I love them all, I sometimes yearn for silence and solitude. This is in my nature and Trey has come to understand and accept this – sometimes I simply want a quiet place to read, write, or pray. To find my solitude, I often sit outside after Sophia has gone to bed. The faraway roar of a plane overhead and a dog barking down the street – this is the music of my meditation.
This man was tranquil as the world rushed around him. Paying little notice to the uproar, he chose to sit, close his eyes, and be still. The next time I am overwhelmed by the clatter and chaos at home or even at work, I hope that I can remember the man sitting halfway up the cement embankment on the side of the highway. He is beckoning me to come sit, close my eyes and be still.
I met a friend for coffee last night at Barnes and Noble. She is a stay at home mom of a seven month old little boy and has recently realized her need to reconnect with her friends after emerging from a six month sleep deprived stupor. (I don't think I helped her much by keeping her out past 10:00 PM but we had not caught up in months so we had a lot to say). She is one of my favorite type of friends - one who even when both of you have been slacking on keeping up the communication, once you get together is is like no time has passed. It just feels like you are picking up where you left off the last time. Trey asked me what we had to talk about that kept us out for over three hours. I gave him an overview but said that basically we just got lost in our conversation and time slipped away so easily. We never even ordered any coffee, I was afraid it would keep me awake all night.
It is comforting to have other friends who are moms, because it is true that you do not understand the nature of a mother-child relationship until you have experienced it for yourself. You also are more understanding on the other demands on their time. Three hours spent with a girlfriend can be a luxury for the mom of a breast-feeding infant. I felt special that she chose to spend this time with me.