A River of Gold
At my mother’s funeral, I talked with one of my uncles. He told me that Leona had been horribly abused growing up, thanks to grandma and grandpa swinging the leather horse straps and the logging chains on their eight children. I was stunned! Never before, in all my fifty years, had I heard this story. “Will this chain of abuse,” I wondered, “ever be broken?”
For the next two weeks, I sorted through all of mom’s “treasures on earth.” She had moved from the farm into town in 1965 and, except for the machinery and the cows, had brought everything with her. My God! Why had she saved this and that and everything in between? It was intense work physically, and even more so emotionally.
Ron and I returned home to Light Morning on Christmas Day, 1990. For another two weeks I dug through my own “treasures on earth.” None of them seemed to have any meaning any more. Fifteen 39-gallon bags of my “stuff” went to the dumpster. More would have gone if I hadn’t run out of trash bags.
For months afterwards I lived in a strange void, lost in a fog of questions and confusion. I recalled the endless “to-do” lists on the Wisconsin dairy farm where I spent the first 18 years of my life. From before the sun came up to well after sundown, we hardly did anything but work. And after all that toil, this is where we end up? In a casket?!
As one of the world’s best workaholics, “getting it all done” had been a piece of cake for me. Just tell me what to do, leave me at it, and consider it done. Keeping busy, busy, busy had always seemed safe, I guess, since the ceaseless, mind-numbing activity left me with neither time nor energy to even think about (let alone do anything about) my festering wounds and buried feelings.
Now, once again, the chronic absence of quiet time in my life at Light Morning was shielding me from getting in touch with any of my “masterfully” stuffed feelings. Instead, I was experiencing a lifetime of daily foreverness in the eternity of hell, venting my anger onto every person, place, and event. I was busy stoking my own hell-furnace, throwing in great chunks of “fire-wood” to keep it blazing.
“How dare anyone call this mess life?” I fumed. The time-bomb inside was ticking, ticking, ticking, around the clock. On three separate occasions I seriously considered suicide.
By November of 1993, nearly three years after my mother had died, I was living in a war zone. Part of me insisted on another big basket push for the holidays. Another part of me was just plain sick of this entire hobby-turned-business (or, shall I say, “busy-ness”). A fierce internal struggle was going on: “I should” versus “I don’t want to.”
Years before, I had come across Kahlil Gibran’s belief that, “work is love made manifest.” I had been moved by it at the time. Now, however, I found myself hating whatever my hands happened to be doing. Everything felt like work for work’s sake, and there was no love to be found anywhere.
Then one day all my inner, emotional turmoil manifested as outer, physical pain. Suddenly my left hand and arm and shoulder simply stopped working. For almost five months my arm just hung there, absolutely useless, with a deadening “bad toothache” sensation day in and day out. At last, all my frantic doings were done.
So I surrendered, moving into what seemed, at the time, like an eternity of reading and sleeping and dreaming. And into all my dreams came my mother. She didn’t die! She’s still in my face. I don’t want to look at her. I don’t want to be in the same room with her. How could she have done what she did to me?! How could she still be doing this to me?! There’s no place to run from her. No place to hide. Anger and hate and rage surge up between us.
Gradually, however, the dreams begin to soften a little. We acknowledge each other. We make eye contact. (Which I now recognize as a larger “I” contact). More softening comes. My mother and I are speaking briefly. The icy coldness starts to melt.
In hindsight, this long, enforced hibernation was such a blessing! By the following spring I was up and around again, my arm like new. Then, in May, came another transformative dream, as intense as the “Deep Within” dream had been twenty-five years earlier.
The Huge Healing Center
(A Dream From May, 1994)
I’m in a huge healing center, bigger than what my eyes see when I’m looking at the sky. At the entrance is a large gold-mining operation, next to a river, where all the gold dust falls. I’m chatting with a lot of old-timers from back home. Some of them I know; others are strangers. They all know mama and daddy.
Now I’m inside the healing center. The hallways are part of the river, and gold dust is floating on top, like lily pads on a pond. I walk down to a nurse’s station. Although I’m fully clothed, I never get wet. It’s neat!
In some places the water is only a few inches deep; in other places it’s up to my waist. And while I’m walking, I watch these golden “lily pads” pass right through me, always keeping their shape. Yet it doesn’t seem strange at all.
Then I come to the next nurse’s station. I ask for Leona, my mom. The old man in charge seems glad to see me. He says that her therapy will be done soon. We talk for a while. Then he says, “Here comes Leona now.”
I look a long way down this hall (or river) and there she is. I start walking towards her. She’s young and beautiful, like the prettiest movie star I’ve ever seen. She is wearing an awesome dark purple top, which seems to make her even more beautiful.
We are walking towards each other, both of us with open arms and smiles and excitement. Then I wake up–wham, back to this reality.
“Wow!” I thought, as I awoke. “What an awesome dream.” I remember closing my eyes, lying there in bed, wanting to return to the healing center. Wanting to feel that hug.
I have no recollection of ever dreaming of my mother again. I just know that she is alive; that she is healthy; that she is happy. A lot of healing has taken place–both for her and for me. I’m sure we shared that hug!