What Dreams May Come
The night before last, I had a dream that I was driving an unfamiliar silver car, and that Willie was my passenger. We were driving toward my parents' home, and we were both relaxed and happy. And then, suddenly, the car careened out of control. It lifted off the road, flying over trees and intersections. Nothing I did with the steering wheel or breaks seemed to make a difference in its trajectory. The car was driving itself, moving with purpose toward an unknown destination.
When the car finally stopped, Willie and I found ourselves in a parking lot. The lot was in an area I knew; it wasn't that far from our destination. However, the lot itself was strangely structured. It was at the bottom of a small canyon, with no apparent exit. Worse, there was no one to help … no one, that is, save for a mechanic with grease-stained overalls, a garbled accent and a toothy grin. Yet despite his appearance, I had a sense that he was a sage. I approached him and asked for directions toward the exit. His manner was welcoming, but his reply was cryptic. He said something like, “The exit for this lot can only be found by those who already know where it is.” With a wink, he walked a few yards and then vanished.
So there I was, standing in a desolate parking lot with a possessed vehicle and a younger brother with autism depending on me. And the mechanic had quoted from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films and then disappeared. The situation did not look good. It was such a frustrating scenario, because I could see familiar buildings and landmarks in the distance. I knew that we weren't far from home, but I had no idea how to get out of the lot. Moreover, I was terrified that Willie would melt down at this unexpected change.
We were in the lot for a very long time. Fortunately, buildings lined the lot, and we were able to do things like sip water from a fountain and eat snacks. There was even a TV that Willie could watch. Even with these amenities, however, I could tell that Willie was having a hard time, and so was I. Yet miraculously, we never seemed to struggle at the same moment. When Willie was starting to freak out, I would be calm, and vice versa. Hours passed. I despaired of ever reaching home, but I tried to be strong for Willie's sake.
But then, at twilight, I decided to go outside and take another look at the lot. It was then that I spotted a small, well-concealed exit … one that hadn't been there before. I remembered the mechanic's words, and at last I understood them. This exit had come into being because of our time together in the lot. It existed because of how Willie and I had been patient and held one another up. It wasn't something someone else could have given us; instead, it was something that we had to “create,” albeit unconsciously. So Willie and I got back into the car, and soon, we were on a road leading us homeward. The relief and exhilaration were tremendous.
This was a leaving normal dream. When Willie started having behavioral problems, it was as though our family was in a car that had lost control. And the “parking lot” is where we are now. It's close to home, but even so, we're not sure how to “get back” to a place of safety and peace. Fortunately, we have provisions in the lot, and we can be sustained until we find the exit. And I believe my dream offered valuable guidance, as it “told” me that the only way out of this difficult time is to go through it. It told me that the only way my family can arrive at a place of peace is to travel the roads we already know, roads of patience, kindness, and love. We're in the parking lot now, but we're doing our best to keep it together for one another. And, in doing so, we're already on our way home.