“—ay, there’s the rub.”
Of course, Hamlet was talking about death’s sleep. I’m just talking about sleep sleep when I say I’m wishing to sleep, perchance to dream. I just haven’t been sleeping well enough to dream lately, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until, lo’ and behold, I dreamt. It was, in fact, a horrible dream, folding in my (perceived) inadequacies at home, at my daughter’s elementary school, in my work, and somehow, strangely enough, my husband’s work found its way into my dreaming, as well. Not my husband, but his boss, calling me to write a press release for big news at his company. And, of course, in my dream that seemed like the most reasonable thing to do, especially when I had not been asked, but told.
Still, I miss dreaming.
For three days (or should i say nights?), my youngest continued to appear at my bedside. “I had a nightmare,” she said the first time, when it was almost light out and I peered at her through my sleep and said “you mean a morning mare?” and she laughed and, since there isn’t room for this 9-year-old between her father and me in our queen-sized bed, she and I trudged out to the couch, my feet in her face, her’s in my hip. And on day two, “I had a morning mare,” and we did it again.
Perhaps this is why I don’t dream: I’m still not sleeping well enough. Between night sweats and morning mares, there just isn’t time for the R.E.M. sleep that invites the mixed-up mess of reality, anxiety, hope, desire–and loss. What I really miss about dreaming is that sometimes there is a gem in there. Sometimes when I’m sleeping I am visited by sages who offer me one-liners to get me through the next day and sometimes much longer. There’s this one that I remember, still, distinctly, nearly 10 years later: “Visionaries are ordinary people who sometimes walk through walls.” I did a whole sermon on that one, I think, and maybe a column or two.
Dreaming is one way I connect with the divine, I suppose, and that is why I feel so kerfuffled when I don’t dream for long stretches. Even when the dream is a mixed-up mess of all that is and all that isn’t, I still feel a lot more like me on those days after a sleep tinged with dreams. Ay, there’s the rub.