I had a dream last night that our fish died. There was an earthquake and apparently water had sloshed out of his tank and we didn’t notice until it was too late. In the dream, I was desperate to save Carl. That’s our fish. I was doing everything I could to get water to his tank but every effort I made didn’t work. Water kept spilling out of whatever container I used, so I scooped him up in my hands and ran him back to the kitchen and tried to fill up my hands with enough water to revive him. Finally, my family helped me to see there was nothing to be done.
You know how a dream can be so real that you feel it in your body when you wake up? In my dream, I was devastated. My body was wracked with sobs, I was inconsolable. Over a fish. And I woke up feeling that ache.
When we sleep, our brain processes our thoughts and emotions, attempts to make sense of things, to put things in order. Sometimes it can’t figure out where to store information because it doesn’t fit with any reality it’s aware of. I think my brain is on overdrive trying to process our world right now. The amount of hate and division. I honestly thought three years ago that it couldn’t get any worse. But here we are, fighting about masks and privilege and statues. I think I dreamt about earthquakes and loss because I’m struggling with all that I can’t control, with what feels like a desperate and losing battle.
Before I went to bed last night, I was talking with my husband about the division particularly among those who follow Jesus. How we’re not all on the same side of justice right now is something I’m not sure I’ll ever understand, and I’ve been struggling and grieving over it. We follow a man who continually was on the side of the marginalized and oppressed. It’s literally how he spent most of his time. Teaching and showing us how to live by seeking justice and mercifully loving our neighbors.
People have been questioning whether or not I’m even a Christian anymore because I have chosen to speak up about racial justice. The truth is writing and talking and fighting about these issues is likely the most Jesus-like thing I’ve done in my life, and it’s definitely the thing I’ve done strictly out of a calling to do so. It’s not fun, and it certainly hasn’t made me popular. That’s probably why my brain is struggling to make sense of it all.
Even though it was a dream, and even though Carl is just fine (I checked), my heart is still so heavy this morning. This obviously isn’t about a fish. But I’m still going to take this burdened heart with me and pray, wait, listen, speak, and act. And I’ll do it with hope, praying my brothers and sisters in Jesus will join me. Because what looks to me like a losing battle has already been won.