I’ve had recurring dreams lately after a long dry spell. In my younger days, I had plenty of vivid dreams. As I’ve aged, that imagination has been replaced by some streaming videos before falling asleep.
In my dream I am in a car with my wife, my child, or some other person. The dream ends with the car driving off the road, often from altitude. Immediately after losing control of the car, I say to the passengers in the car, “OK. It’s out of my hands now. Get ready …”
I am responsible for a lot of things in my life. There’s also a lot in my life that I cannot control. This dream allows me to express that tension creatively without the actual harm that happens when these two impossible truths bump up against each other.
As I approach my fifties, I naively thought my mid-life crisis was behind me somewhere in my forties. When I turned 40 I bought a used mountain bike (instead of the stereotypical sports car). Later, I switched over to running.
This past year, for no apparent reason, I grew out my facial hair to the extent that I could. It wasn’t much to speak about, but it was clearly something I had never done before in my life, so it was at least something new.
In Eric Erikson’s stages of life, he aptly describes moments in our lives where our generativity and creativity begin to wane. For someone who is as performative as me, I didn’t realize until now that imagination and creativity are not always these unlimited wellsprings. As each opportunity to perform, to speak, to write, to play music or sing are passed up, another moment to put God-given gifts into the world as part of saying “I’m here” and “Thank God!” gets passed by.
I realize belatedly, in this month of All Saints and All Souls, that I’ve grown this beard and walked this path because I’ve been in mourning. Mourning certain friends and spiritual mentors who’ve died this past year and for whom I miss the times we spoke, wrote, heard or sang music together.
More broadly, it seems our own national discourse continues to spiral away from civility. Quaint are the curse words I grew up with, replaced by more vile words of hate and insensitivity.
Cold Novembers lead us to the lights of Advent and the dawn of new light. Do we still have hope. Not just by repeating another liturgical cycle or entering another season of “Peace on Earth, Good Will to All.” Do we truly believe beyond votes cast that the darkest of times do not diminish the lights that matter?
Copyright 2018 Jay Cuasay