Friday, July 20, 2007

The Game of Life

Going to bed every night is a wonderful adventure, because I never know what I’m going to dream. Dreams can be a valid reflection of one’s life, so I pay attention to mine. Sometimes my dreams are nonsensical, and might easily have been produced by Lewis Carroll, but other times they show great insight into my current life circumstances. Rarely do they suggest a plan of action, but they can make clear, as if I had looked into a mirror, what conundrums I am facing these days.

Because I can sleep late on Friday mornings, the beginning of my weekends, I have lots of chances to dream Thursday nights. I also usually have time to watch the news on TV and a DVD or two, so I have plenty of material to work with in my receptive brain to produce Freud-quality scripts.

Last night was such a night. We watched the local news (something we do only once a week because our TV rabbit-ears reception is poor on our one local channel) and in order to see the national news which followed it, I endured the sports segment. The only sports I was involved in when I was young were playing badminton in our front yard, occasional basketball in the driveway, and bouncing a ball off the roof of our house. Other than that, I watched my cousins play a few baseball games when we travelled to see them in Arkansas. I never did get “into” sports of any kind until our daughter became the first female football manager at her high school, and after quite persistent begging on her part, I finally agreed to attend her games. After Ed patiently explained what those guys were doing out there on the field, their challenges, their victories, their threats, and the rules of the game, I finally was able to understand a sport, and I truly enjoyed cheering them to the state championship.

So, having just read my limited history of sports experiences, you can understand how sitting through the sports segment on TV is grueling for me, unless it’s football season. Last night, I watched Tiger Woods (see, I know a few names!) hit a birdie, a boogie, a booger, or something like that (OK, I’m not too keen on the terms). I find golf an enigma. Then I saw Barry Bonds, I think it was, hitting some home runs on his way to beating the home run record of Hank Aaron. After the national news, I did some hand quilting and as I sharpened my chalk pencil, the lead broke, and as the pencil was already a stub, I threw it away. Before bed, I watched an Agatha Christie mystery featuring her detective Hercule Poirot, and all through the movie, the characters were talking about a cricket match which was occurring simultaneously to the investigation.

You can see, now, how many ideas my sleeping brain had to work with. It would be interesting to see how my dreams would materialize and what I would learn about myself.

My brain didn’t disappoint. Here’s the scenario: I was in a neighborhood with a big back yard and my cousins and sister and I were playing baseball. I was at bat. This was no ordinarily baseball game, though. In the first place, the balls were the size of large marbles. In the second place, my bat was a chalk pencil that had been sharpened down to half its size. In the third place, I was backed up to a piano so that every time I swung my arms, I hit the piano. This was not good.

Needless to say, I got nowhere. All of a sudden I found myself on the other side (no, not heaven - the other side of the game). I was supposed to catch the ball. I had no mitt, of course, and the ball went flying over my head into the next yard. As I ran to get the ball, I realized it had landed in a field of horses, and I decided to try to the get one of the horses to give me the ball. Then when I looked over the fence, I realized that field was about 20 feet lower than my present position, and there is no way a horse would be able to retrieve that ball and return it to me.

This was one of those dreams that reflected a life situation, while at the same time, doing nothing to reassure or give thoughts on rectifying the situation. In every scenario of the dream, I was asked to do, or wanted to do, or was expected to do - the impossible. And these expectations in my life usually come from within myself. I’m still quilting on a quilt that I wanted to give to my daughter and her husband five years ago. I have quilts waiting in the wings that I want to make for my son and his wife, plus the two grandchildren, at least before the latter grow up. I want to starting sewing clothes again. I have to fit my exercise in every day. I haven’t played the piano in weeks, and haven’t played the harp in days, and that only in passing. I have a list a mile long of things to do before our trip to Memphis in August. It’s the usual stuff. Too many interests, not enough time. My to-do list is impossible to do, given the time allotted. And Ed keeps reminding me that I need “downtime” just to relax.

My sister gave Ed a book called “101 Things To Do Before You Die,” a book I rewrite for myself every day, it seems. The list gets longer and the allotted time gets shorter. I’m no physics expert, but it looks like to me that that sets me up for as impossible a situation as in my dream last night.

The whole thing can be quite depressing, but I choose to look at it with a favorable attitude. I’m glad I have a list that encompasses exciting, interesting, or even mundane but necessary things to do. I am never bored. I have lots to look forward to. Every night is a dream adventure, and every day is another adventure waiting to happen. Fortunately, my life will not be judged on how much I accomplished on my “to do” list. I want my life to be evaluated rather on the beauty I can create in the time given me, kindness, compassion, joy, love, appreciation of the moment, spiritual awareness, and irreplaceable time with family and friends. Each day is a blank slate, and most of the time the highlight of my day is not something that had been written on my “to do” list.

I saw a deer crossing our dirt road on my way to work yesterday. She was in no hurry, and neither was I, so we looked at each other for a few minutes, one of us standing in the road, the other sitting in the car. Then she looked around in a wondering kind of way, probably thinking, “Now what was I doing? Oh yeah, crossing the road,” and she sauntered into a neighbor’s yard. I didn’t have to ask her to retrieve a ball, and she was not 20 feet below me. Sometimes dreams are fun, but if we stay aware, real life moments can be even better.

1 comment:

Joy said...

As I think over my "to do" list for today, this makes me want to toss it all and go for a bike ride with Scott and Amelia.