Wednesday, July 2, 2014

i had this dream...

I had a dream about church recently...I dreamed that I was a kid, and I was given a paper lunch sack to carry.  The top was all scrunched over and folded down, and there were things written on the outside of the sack.  There was a picture of a Bible in the sack and some other things, but I didn't know what those were. It was dark in there, and even if I stood under the light, there was not enough light to see.

In this dream, my mother and father gave me this paper sack.  I had to take good care of it.  They told me to carry the sack with me everywhere I went, and that everything I needed to know was written on the outside of the sack.  They said the beautiful thing was that it would never change, that everything I had to do and everything I had to know was written there.

Everyone in my family was a sack-carrier.  Well, mostly.  My dad's family did not carry sacks, so we never went to their houses or talked to them. Or knew them.  Even when they died, we did not go to their funerals.  We only went to the funerals of sack-carriers.

The first thing that was written on the sack was that I couldn't put it down.  I had to let everyone see that I was carrying this beat up old scrunchy lunch sack, too.  I couldn't put it in a backpack or shove it in a box.  It had to be out there, a permanent accessory.  I had to carry it everywhere--to school, to the store, when I went to play with my friends...even when I went to sleep.

If I ever put it down, something terrible could happen.  In fact, I might not even be able to find it when I was ready to pick it up again.  My mother always told me if I set the sack down and I died before I could pick it up again, there would be no second chances to pick the sack back up.  It was final and I would meet a terrible end.  I was terrified that I would lose my sack somewhere when I wasn't careful, and sometimes at night I couldn't fall asleep because I had to keep checking to see if my sack was next to me.

Another thing that was written on the sack was that I could look inside, but I could not change anything in the sack.  In fact, it was better not to question anything in the sack because it was almost as bad as setting the sack down.  People would think I was disloyal to the sack and maybe they would act as if I weren't carrying the sack, even if I was.

If I broke the rules on the sack, I got in trouble and had to say I was sorry for what I did, even if I didn't understand the rules or know why it was wrong.  I didn't get to ask questions about the rules or wonder why the rules were there.  That was against the rules, too.

Every Sunday, we had to take our sacks and go meet with the other sack-carriers to hear about how hard it was to carry these sacks, and how we had to just trust that we would be given the strength to carry our sacks another day.

If people made fun of me for carrying the sack, that was just part of what came with carrying the sack.  The sack would remind me of all the things I could not do.  In school, when people were doing things that I couldn't do, I should try to go somewhere else, but if I couldn't, I should just look at the sack to help me remember what I had to do.  Having the sack would save me; it would carry me through any situation.

People were always checking to see if everyone else was carrying their sack.  If you got caught out in public without your sack, people would make note of it.  Then they would come make sure that you knew you should have been carrying your sack, and they often wouldn't leave until you said you were sorry and you picked up your sack again.  If you didn't, then they made sure everyone knew that you were not a sack-carrier anymore.  Even if you changed your mind and started carrying the sack again, you had to tell someone that you wanted to carry your sack again before they would acknowledge you as a sack-carrier.  You couldn't just show up with your sack on Sunday.  That would not do.

I did not get to change the writing on the sack.  Sometimes the writing on the sack changed, but only when people (certain men in the church) allowed it.  This was called being led by the spirit.  Only certain men were led by the spirit, and never women or children.

I couldn't break the rules on the sack while I was holding the sack because if I did, my mother said the sack would disappear, and I might not be able to find it again.  If I wanted to go into a movie theater, for example, which was on the list of rules -- one of the things I should not do-- the sack would not go in there with me.  I would have to go in alone.

I never got to understand what was in the sack, and when I did try to make sense of it, people would shake their heads and say it was better to carry the sack without questioning it because only God could understand it all.  Even though the men in the church had put it all together and the men made all the rules, they still said that God did it all.  It took me around in one big circle, where the end was the beginning, and the beginning came from the end.

I woke up before my dream ended, but I have made my own ending.  I looked in the sack and found it to be full of sticks and rocks that people use to hurt each other with.  There was no substance, nothing that made sense.  I took it to the beach, dumped the rocks and sticks out on the sand, crumpled up the bag, and threw it away.  I am now walking, sack-free; my mind is clear, my burden is light and my heart is happy.