My dreams usually leave me shortly after I wake. The imagery may be fresh in my mind when my eyes first blink open, but no matter how vivid it was, it's often gone by the time I let the dogs out for their morning bladder relief. So when any part of a dream sticks with me, I tend to take note. “Hey dream, you’re still here. Aren’t you gonna run off with all your buddies?”
A couple of nights ago, I had a dream where I lived in a house with a sprawling backyard. It wasn't even a yard, actually, it was a massive clearing bordered on all sides by dense tall-treed forest. In the dream, it was night time, the sky blue-black like a fresh shiner. On one end of the clearing stood another house, and on the other end stood a small church. Both of these buildings were on our property, and both were missing their roofs. I walked into the house to find everything, the phone, the electricity, even internet, working just fine. I don't remember going into the church. But then it occurred to me, “jeez, I just need to get a roof on these buildings and they’ll be good to go. Just think of all the cool shit we could do with ‘em. Think of the parties we could have. We’re talking gatherings of Roman orgy proportion here. Am I really going to let a couple of missing roofs stand between me and a Roman orgy?”
The temptation for me, at first, is to seek meaning in this. What means ye by these night visitations, Sandman? What do the topless house and church represent? An inability to find security anywhere? Unfinished business in different realms of life? Lack of roofing skill?
But then I roll my eyes at myself, or rather, at my inner Jungian, what with his archetypes and his shadows and his dream symbology. Why this pressing need for meaning? Fuck meaning (but do it meaningfully).
I recently withdrew from the seminary where I had been pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling. In my letter, I cited a desire to spend more time with my family as the reason. And while this is certainly part of it, it’s not the whole of my motivation. I’ve simply reached a point where I don’t feel like I belong there, so much so that it would be a charade to continue. I’d be lying. Playing a role. I went there in the first place, in part, to labor on some of my questions pertaining to God and my spiritual life, and labor I did. I sort of wonder if I didn’t subconsciously know that I was going to end up where I am now. It’s a bit depressing, thinking that perhaps I wasted a lot in this pursuit...time, money, energy...and not just my own. And now I’m back here, no real thought for what I want to be when I grow up. I’d always wanted to do something meaningful. But maybe it’s like I said before: fuck meaning.
A church with no rooftop. A vast open clearing. A forest. A roofless house in which everything works.
So now I’m here. I’m a dad, a husband. I’m some people’s friends, other people’s employee. Sometimes I write stuff. Sometimes I make comics. I go to work, I play with my boys, I watch movies with my wife. I try to exercise. I spend too much time deciding which kind of beer to buy. For the last month I’ve been an actor in a play that will open tomorrow night. The question of what I want to be when I grow up is shifting in my mind. As immature as I can be at times, I am grown up, and I’m doing a lot of the things I want to be doing. True, I'm doing some things that I don't want to be doing, but most of those, ultimately, are responsibilities borne out of doing other things I do want to do. I may not want to wash the diapers at 11:30 at night, but I do want to be a dad. It may not be what pays the mortgage, but I’m doing it. And I’ve still got my dreams.