Tuesday, I went to bed with a sense of dread in my belly. Literally, I was having abdominal pain, and the thought crossed my mind that there might be a new tumor growing there. I also was experiencing painful sores in my mouth from the chemotherapy, and my energy level had been very low. I admit that death was roaming through my thoughts.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised when I woke up off and on throughout a restless night of sleep dreaming of my ancestors reaching out with enticing offers. I saw beautiful hills full of fruit trees, and a faceless chorus of my “ancestors” was inviting me to come and pick the fruit. Later, my Grandma Ruth, who died when I was 13, invited me to come with her for a nice bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. In another restless episode, I found myself dreaming of a Kwanzaa/Hanukkah celebration in a submarine with my dad (who is very much alive).
I’ve hesitated writing about these dreams, which my dad told me were very weird, because they obviously weren’t ushering me into the netherworld. And I, of course, don’t usually attribute that kind of power to dreams anyway. Not to mention, I was afraid to write about these dreams because I didn’t want you to think I am actually going insane over here in Indianapolis.
But perhaps against my better judgment, here I am writing about the ancestors because, for one thing, I actually think the dreams are pretty funny. Imagine my surprise to awake Wednesday morning not only very much alive, but actually feeling a lot better than I had when I went to bed the night before. I wasn’t disappointed.
I also realized that perhaps I have been spending a little too much time thinking about my life and my death and not enough time picking fruit, eating grilled cheese sandwiches, and celebrating Kwanzaa (I realize it’s a little late for this year). If anything, I think the ancestors from my dreams may have been echoing LL’s comment from a couple of days ago that it might be a good idea to muse a while on something OTHER than cancer.
Yesterday, Jesus provided just such an opportunity. After my friend Sarah dropped off some art magazines and a book of essays on rural life, I spent the evening planning my next watercolor project and reading about bundles of twine. I also envisioned the gardens I will plant when Spring rolls around, and even imagined what I would do with a million dollars while I watched “Deal or No Deal.” (Does anyone actually understand the point of that show?)
Last night, the ancestors were gone again, apparently having completed their work. And I feel a renewed sense that Jesus isn’t ready for my life to be over yet.
Not for now, at least.