Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An accident

I dreamed that I was driving from my home to a nearby appointment at night, and as I approached a major intersection with a nearby highway, I realized there had been a bad accident. There was a white sedan, mangled, in the middle of the intersection. Nearby was a body, lying right on the roadway. There were several other cars, and other bundles looking like bodies that had been thrown alongside the road from the impact of the crash. There were no emergency vehicles and no other cars anywhere around. I was the lone witness.

I was shocked, but I carefully drove around the car and the body, and kept going. I had an appointment in Floresville at a hair salon, after all!

But when I arrived there, the owner immediately asked me to sign a form because she knew, everyone there knew, that I had seen this accident and had not stopped to help. The form said something like I was aware of the accident, but had done nothing about it. I wanted to add a caveat that it was dark, at night, and I remember thinking that I needed to lie and say I had not seen any bodies lying around. I was embarrassed and felt guilty that they knew. Somehow, it was too late or no longer necessary that I or anyone else return to the scene and try to help out.

Furthermore, the people at the salon were friends and family members of the accident victims. But I was not a pariah, somehow. It was like they understood what I had done, although we all knew it was wrong. They were talking about their loved ones, telling me about them, and I came to care about these people through that experience. Toward the end I was thinking what I would do differently the next time, maybe.

This is my 16-year-old's interpretation: Mom, it means you worry too much about driving and getting in an accident. I was telling him, no, this is all symbolic! The car accident really means something else. (Along the lines of an overly active guilty conscience.) But he wasn't buying it.

I saw a little video clip at a church youth meeting tonight that reminded me of this dream. There is a fire station, and lots of training going on for new firefighters. However, they are never actually allowed to go out and fight fires. There are all sorts of excuses -- you're not ready, you are too young, it is too dangerous, etc. In fact, nobody at the fire station ever goes out to put out fires; they spend all their time in training.

Eventually one of the trainees says, what's the point? What are we training for? Look at all those fires out there -- why aren't we helping? The camera pans out over a nearby neighborhood, where (rather comically) there are, in fact, quite a few areas where dark smoke is billowing upward. So the more experienced guy says something like, 'yeah, well the fire station down the street can take care of those. They don't need our help.' Immediately after he finishes talking, you hear a lady shouting, "Help!" It's all rather lighthearted, but on another level, not so much.

The video is about youth opportunities to take mission trips and help with construction/renovation projects. Seen another way, it could also be an indictment of the church's idle posture in the community.

My dream was about ... ?

1 comment:

  1. I'll take this one. Austin is partially right. Dreams are often (usually) symbolic but the symbols you choose are usually taken from real things that have happened or are on your mind. I think Ellie's accident and you having a driving son are what caused you to choose those specific symbols. Only you can know for sure what they represent, but based on what I know about you and what you've been blogging about, I'd say it is representative of your concern for the world and your feeling that you don't do enough to help or change the things you know are wrong. You're aware of them and feeling guilty...the awareness...that is what gets you - so many people are blissfully unaware and you are not....yet you worry you are just averting your eyes and driving on by - then you find out that you are, in fact, connected to these people (aren't we all?) and people you know are connected to these people and yet...in the end....forgiveness. Your subconscious is smart enough to say "yes, be aware, but there is always forgiveness for your humanity....for you are also nothing but a helpless victim of circumstance (aren't we all?). OK. That was my stab.

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