Posted by: megshoeman | July 10, 2008

Not “Where Am I Supposed to Go?”.

I used to but I don’t much anymore, and some folks have been encouraging me to “journal” lately. “Journal” sounds like such a touchy- feely, caring and sharing kind of a thing to me so I say I don’t really do it. Not that I’m without the capacity for caring and sharing touchy- feeliness (that’s a word, right? sure, sure)–it’s just that I perhaps sometimes unfortunately have a sense of time and place for these things. In any case it’s occurred to me that “blog” may be a good euphemism for “journal.” It works well for me sometimes.

A few thoughts then.

Recently I’ve been dealing with my dreams–the one I had just a while ago regarding “a good eucharist” as well as some I’ve remembered throughout my life.

My spiritual director had some helpful insights about the eucharist dream, and we talked as well about a dream that came often to me as a child in which Jesus was a child too and we two were pals. We would go around together, just the two of us, playing, looking for things, feet pounding dust all around the little house where I lived. It was kind of a funny, self- centered thing, for everybody else just stayed in the house and looked out the window at us; they never could join us! My spiritual director and I joked about the childish sort of “me and Jesus” quality this has but what a joyful dream really about incarnation, what a consolation it was to have. It has meant to me the friendship and trustworthiness of God so near throughout my life.

The past few years, I’ve had no sense of secrecy or shame around my experience of having been a victim of sexual assault as a very young girl. It takes some time to shake these demons but, though I still of course experience pain over what happened, the secrecy and the shame are gone. I’m saying this here to help you understand why I don’t want any sort of dreary shock quality to drag along with this post. I’m actually talking about a joyful thing. I don’t want you to feel awkward about approaching me either through this blog or in person. To keep shame about having been raped isn’t much different than keeping shame about having been shot in the back, you know? The shame isn’t mine, I refuse it… if you find it easier, just consider me like one shot in the back but now able to lift weights above my head in the gym. Shot in the back indeed and the scar’s still there, but healing.

All this to note another dream. This came only once and I was around about seven years old. A large and angry wild animal was chasing me round my house outside in the dark. I was terrified and tried to get away. I ran up the front stair, looked through the kitchen window to see several of the grownups sitting at the table casually playing cards. I pounded the door and screamed for help but the card players ignored me, and the wild animal gained his ground.

When I was a child I didn’t understand this dream. I figured it out several years ago. It helped me to understand that it was right for me to worry and to be scared and that someone should have helped me. I have that right, I realized.

And I wondered about that a lot as a kid–who would help? One day in school, I was excused by the teacher for a bathroom break. Mom had always told us that Jesus was our friend and would take care of us in everything. So when I got to the bathroom I just thrashed about in tears in one of the stalls and asked him, “Are you the one who is going to save me, or not?” In that moment, I heard nothing. I composed myself and walked back to the classroom to finish my worksheets.

It took me a little while to come around to it wholeheartedly but in seminary my teacher Andrew Purves was always insisting on the priority in Christology of “the who question.” That is, when thinking about Jesus Christ, to ask something like “How can he be or in the known scheme of things, how does he do what he does?” is always to ask the wrong question. Instead we must come to meet Jesus on his own terms. As he gives himself for us to know him and to be in relationship with him, the proper christological question is always, “Who are you, Lord?” 

It occurs to me now that perhaps that’s part of what my seven year old self was asking back in the school bathroom stall. I even used “who” in my little question, didn’t I? “Who are you? Are you the one or not? Who are you, Lord?” And there is a blessed sense in which the question contains its own answer: Who are you, Lord? Jesus the Lord of the universe says “I am he.” And difficult though it was for me, he didn’t say it aloud in the stall. But in the power of his Spirit he did give me those dreams.  Then “Who are you, Lord?” In those dreams I could hear him say, “I am he…I am the strength in your legs when you run because you know you ought to run…I am he…I am the one who is with you, I am the one who goes around with you so closely when no one else will come out into the dark to be your help. I am he.”

This is how I’ve been able to move along.

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