I am a dreamer.
Both in seeing possibilities in any situation, and also at night.
Last night I had a dream that felt so vivid, it took me a bit to shake off when I woke up. Have you ever been there?
I couldn't figure out why in the world I would have had the dream. It seemed so random, and made me think I was just over-tired.
And then it all started to make sense, in a symbolic way.
I don't know if I've ever done this, but I'm going to share what the dream was, and what came to me after the fact.
We have a huge hedge line at one side of our property. We also have a few trees. They are all pretty special. One was a gift from my mother-in-law, one a gift to my wife from the kids and I, and another that our kids climb in, swing from, and our hammock hangs on.
I came outside to see chains wrapped around the base of the hedge line, and a large red truck pulling them out by their roots. Now, this might not seem odd when you first hear it. However...it is when you hadn't hired anyone to do it...and someone just pulled on to your property and started ripping them out.
I walked further out onto the lawn, and as I glanced to the right, two men were walking towards me dragging the tree that my mother-in-law had given us. It's a large tree, probably 30 feet in the air, and a trunk sturdy enough to climb if you were a kid. They had cut it at the base, and were hauling it away.
And then came the small sapling of a tree that our kids and I bought for my wife, on mother's day. It's an adorable white magnolia that stands only 4 feet tall so far. It's tiny. But it, too, was cut at the base.
I spent the next several minutes in the dream trying to sort out why this had been done. I confronted the men working, and none of them seemed to care too much, or offer an explanation that made much sense.
After finally getting an explanation that didn't offer any real answers that made sense, I began to wake from the dream. As I was coming to, I realized one more thing was happening as I did.
Drifting in and out of being awake, still in the dream, I was laying on my side weeping, holding the small white magnolia tree that had been cut down...that we gifted to Cara. My arms were wrapped around it, as I lay there trying to make sense of why someone would do such a thing with tears rolling down my face.
I started my day. But the dream kept popping into my mind like I was supposed to do something with it. Like it was begging to be understood. Like there was a lesson in it.
And within the hour it started to come into focus.
1. There are times in our life when something needs to be pruned. We've tossed around the idea of removing the hedge line on our property because it requires a ton of maintenance, and seems to have issues staying healthy after the winters. It's hard to keep up with, and generally causes more issues than the time spent on it is worth. It looks great once in a while, but generally is a beast to manage. Huge prickers constantly pop out of it, and snag your clothes if you walk too close to it. Vines choke out the one end, and a few random weed trees have started to sprout from it, that need to be removed.
*Do we complain about the circumstances that need "pruning" in our lives, or actually do something about them?
2. There are times in our life when something is taken from us that we have absolutely no control over. One day it's there, the next it's gone. It is beautiful to look at, think about, and reminds us of the love we've been given in relationship. And then...with no explanation it's vanished.
*Are we honoring the relationships in our lives with every ounce of what we can bring to them, or taking them for granted like they'll always be there? Not being dramatic...just realistic. Can we be a better friend? A better family member? A better community member?
3. There are times when we need to put things in proper perspective. We need to understand the frailty of life. We need to focus on the things that are precious to us, instead of wasting out time, energy, and resources on the things that frustrate us.
*Are we focusing on the most important things, or running in circles preoccupied with urgencies that aren't really emergencies?
We have windows out both sides of our home. Many of them focus on that hedge line. The ones on the other sides focus on the gifts given to, and received from.
The view we have in life depends on where we stand.
The perspective we focus on is a choice.
I'm wondering today...
I'm reflecting today...
What needs to be pruned, and cut away in my life?
What needs more of my attention, and a posture of appreciation?
All that from a restless dream.
I hope somewhere in it is a seed of hope for you. I hope your own personal wonder and reflection reminds you of who, and what truly matters the most to you.
Life is fragile.
Life is shorter than we'd ever imagine.
Life is also a beautiful gift.
When we see what is right in front of us, everything else comes into focus.
-Prune with a purpose.
-Pour into the hearts and lives you've been blessed to do life with.
-Plant a seed of hope in someone else's life.
I hope in some small way I've been able to do that for you.
Look at the first picture I shared today, at the beginning of the blog. You'll see my story in it when you look closer. You'll see the vibrancy of the flowers on the tree my mother-in-law gave us. Beyond it in the blur is the small magnolia tree for my wife, the hammock, the climbing tree, the swing set for the kids...the reminders to me of who matters most. The reminders to me of what matters most.
Today, I'll look at the windows that face the view of the last picture I'm sharing...where everything in it has a clear focus to it.
Today, a restless dream helped this picture come into a deeper, clearer focus in my life. What might come into focus for you after hearing it?
And that hedge line? It will get the pruning that is long overdue. I'll be thinking of you, as you find what needs pruning, too. Lord knows we all have something. Figuratively, and literally.