Thursday, January 23, 2014

The jitney dream

I dreamed I was on the sidewalk of a busy road. Busses were zooming by. A twenty-something-ish white boy was to my left. He said he had to go home to watch a movie. It might have been tited 2012, 0r 2013 0r 201X. He mentioned the movie -- something about the end of the world and a time traveler-- and said I probably wouldn't know what the movie is about. I was offended and told him the plot of the movie. He was surprised that an older black woman would know so much about pop psychology and pop culture. As he ran off to catch his bus, I shouted a crack like "Do you think I'm stupid?" He didn't hear and I guess that was overkill for me to shout at him, because I had already proven his premise about me wrong so I didnt have to be obvious. My subtelty had challenged him enough and had worked.

I ran across the street and walked a ways and soon found myself in an intersection where there was a bus stop where buses rarely went. A little jitney came up. I wondered about taking it but I wondered if I should really take it because it didn't have a real bus schedule ...only a printed xeroxed black and white copy of a schedule. I knew the route would probably meet my town sooner or later although it might not make it on the first travel loop -- cause the schedule showed that the bus route alternated routes every hour. So I could be home on the first trip or i might have to go round again and make two round trips.

I hopped onto the jitney. It was sub-contracted to the larger bus company but it was kinda its own company. The driver was black, the passengers were black. The bus had seats made of cut-up taped dried up brittle leather. This was a very ghetto bus. It was as if they had gone on a little trip/outing and were returning. I didn't want to sit anywhere. It looked so scuzzy. There was no seats for me to sit but there were little corners I could sit on..and I moved to the back and sat in the middle of the back, maybe over the back wheel. Everyone was singing and so happy.

Rose-Marie's interpretation:

well, i think the dream is about going the slow, poor people's way even though its roundabout and not plush.  the twenty something kid is
young and thinks he knows a lot but doesnt know that other kinds of people know things that he didnt expect them to know.  He represents
lack of wisdom, human pride, worldly wisdom, youthful judgment,   in the dream you struggle with not wanting him to think you are stupid but
you arent stupid! You would have known whether you told him or not, whether you said anything or not.  With  the "black folk" in the junky 
jeepney is happiness.  So its about the tension to be something noticed in the eyes of the world vs getting there with simple happiness!
amen! i could have dreamed that very dream!

 i struggle with the same thing. but then i think what else (ugh) i would have been, in addition to "successful" ;) if i had gone done any number of "successful" roads, i would have reached more people reason, and felt like i had lived up to my "potential" --how godly is that kind of thinking. I think down is better than up and Jesus constantly models that. down brings us to up when we have really seen Truth.  but we have to guard against is laziness, judgment and not doing what we are supposed to do, however lowly.   Not to take anything away from people who are "successful" but other than their craft, are they successful, and if so,
how comfortable would they be really beaten down and among the lowly.

i think that for many reasons, limitations fall upon each of us. We wont be able to get past some of them. which ones, i dont know--i g uess that becomes our life history. . i guess it dependson how much we work at it and that is mixed with god's sovreignty. I mean what if we were christians born in the Sudan or Egypt or Iran. How much could we change? and how much would we "accomplish" by worldly  standards?  We are limited by our social standing, our education both ways --too little or too much, by our looks, by our finances, by our family situations. I thinkwe have to see God in them and try to stand our post without thinking there is no hope. --sometimes there is a destined way out and we have to look for it, and sometimes there is no way out this side of heaven and we have to rise up victorious in our difficulties.  With the writing i gues you can only be true to your own vision and what you have to say! as you well know, lots of authors are only deemed "good"
after they die! argh! 

The pain i get thinking about my novels and my writing careers! I think i understand what the dream is about. I often feel the book represents my little writing career which seems to exist in its little ghetto. It isn't much compared to the great careers of some of my minority writer friends. It was sent to Publishers Weekly or to Locus online as my other novel Wind Follower was. But they didn't review it. It wasn't included/introduced in Wildside's seasonal newsletters. I assume trendy types probably think I don't understand pop culture or SF issues such as time travel and pop culture...but my career --lowly, though it is-- is a good one. And The Constant Tower is one heck of a good book. Good multiculturally, good as a Christian novel, and good as a Christian multicultural novel. Still, I do tend to cry a lot about my place in the writing world. 

This week's kdrama meditation: misguided avengers

For the past year, there has been a glut of avengers in k-dramas who have simply ruined their lives (and other people's lives) because of some faulty notion of who was at fault for some great crime --generally a death-- in the past.

Cruel City, Secret, Prime Minister and I, Inspiring Generation -- to name a few. I'm watching Angel's revenge so I'm hoping the revenge here will be clearcut.

Now the question is why?

1) Is it a trend? Are drama writers now simply following each other?
2) Is it just another easy way to amp up suspense? After all, we are all waiting for the avenger to realize --ooops! Then the plot conflict would have yet another layer of anticipation.
3) Pure existentialism.

I'm kinda thinking existentialism.

Imagine the avenger: A person beset with grief. Understandable-- something or someone or some aspect of his/her life has been destroyed.

There is the need to make it right, to find justice in the world, to make justice, to find someone to blame.

So..using mere human eyes, mere human information --after all, it all SEEMED as if so-and-so was the guilty party-- you have lived a life, set up an entire persona, created a scheme to punish the person who seems to be the big bad in your eyes. In your "limited" eyes and "limited" imagination.

And then suddenly, as the drama goes on, your lack of true knowledge becomes plain to you. The goal you have wasted your life and energy on, the purpose for which you planned, the obsession that has ruined all your meals and sucked in all your time... IS WRONG. You suddenly realize you have set out to be judge jury and executioner (GOD, in short) but you were not omniscient at all. You have ruined --or were about to ruin-- someone's life. And Darn it!!!!!--  you were wrong. In short, you have wasted your life by following wrong information.

Now how does such a premise challenge the viewer? Does it make some folks reassess those whom they've been judging? There's something about kdrama writers and redemption arcs. It's almost as if South Korean culture has merged a Buddhist and Christian mindset in such a way that guilt and judgment are often done away. Avengers come to learn they knew little and the viewers --identifying with the would-be-avenger-- learn to forgive ....or at least to talk ourselves out of our angry. After all, it's possible we just don't have all the facts.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Psalm 59: The need for a defender?

Psalm 59 has many interesting images, especially the image of enemies prowling like unfed dogs. Today two verses jump out at me. The first is verse one: “defend me from those that rise up against me.” This verse really speaks to me because I often have wanted someone to defend me. As a modern woman who is fifty-four years old, I shouldn’t need a defender, right? It feels weak to ask someone to defend me. Society tells us that only little kids and weak overly-feminine women need people to defend them.

But I was often in a situation where —because of lack of family ties, being in the racial, financial, theological, or emotional minority— I stood alone.  My in-laws were against my marriage and my husband stood silent while they insulted me. Later, when my son was diagnosed with pervasive development delay, I stood alone against the doctor’s cruel comments while my husband sat silent. Even later, when my mother and aunt died, their lawyers — one in Jamaica, one in the US— stole the family house and other property. I could only watch as everything was stolen by those who had the poor, skill, and opportunity to commit fraud.

But my most important need for defense has surrounded my son’s illness. Having a disabled child has caused many cruel comments to be thrown at me. I have often begged God to defend me. If God showed His love for me and healed my son, all the theological, medical, and social judgments thrown at me would no longer matter because God would have shown the world how much He loved me. The best defense ever.

Another verse that jumps out at me is verse 8: The Lord shall laugh at them. This is not an image one generally has of God. On the one hand, it is normal for the wounded human soul to believe that God is on one’s side and is therefore laughing at one’s enemy. Certainly, David never seems to have felt that God laughed at him when David sinned against Uriah the Hittite. Surely, God would have been on David’s side at that time.

But David is not alone in showing God mocking the wicked. There are wicked people who are probably mocked in the heavenly court. In Jesus’ parable of the rich man who wanted to build up many barns, Jesus describes God as saying, “Fool, your soul is required of you.” Perhaps that was not mocking but godly pity. But the day will come when those who have mocked God will be mocked. 

This is a generation of mockers and sneerers, and indeed many people feel no qualms about mocking a holy righteous God. One wonders how it will be when the tables are turned, when sinners are caught in the hand of an angry mocking God.


Psalm 59

For the director of music. To the tune of "Do Not Destroy." Of David. A miktam . When Saul had sent men to watch David's house in order to kill him. [a]

1 Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
protect me from those who rise up against me.
2 Deliver me from evildoers
and save me from bloodthirsty men.

3 See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offense or sin of mine, O LORD.

4 I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!

5 O LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel,
rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
show no mercy to wicked traitors.

6 They return at evening,
snarling like dogs,
and prowl about the city.

7 See what they spew from their mouths—
they spew out swords from their lips,
and they say, "Who can hear us?"

8 But you, O LORD, laugh at them;
you scoff at all those nations.

9 O my Strength, I watch for you;
you, O God, are my fortress, 10 my loving God.
God will go before me
and will let me gloat over those who slander me.

11 But do not kill them, O Lord our shield, [b]
or my people will forget.
In your might make them wander about,
and bring them down.

12 For the sins of their mouths,
for the words of their lips,
let them be caught in their pride.
For the curses and lies they utter,

13 consume them in wrath,
consume them till they are no more.
Then it will be known to the ends of the earth
that God rules over Jacob.

14 They return at evening,
snarling like dogs,
and prowl about the city.

15 They wander about for food
and howl if not satisfied.

16 But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.

17 O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.

Psalm 59:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
Psalm 59:11 Or sovereign

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Shared Dreaming, the New Year, peace and a promise of guidance

Shared Dreaming is what occurs in families or between friends or sometimes between strangers.
For instance, twice my friend Jessica and my friend Stephen have dreamed the same dreams about me within the same week.Although they don't know each other and they don't know the other had had a dream about me. Once, they both saw me in African dress. And recently, the both saw me in an exotic house.

Shared Dreamings are like parallel dreams. They doubly affirm and bring confirmation that God is speaking. Sometimes it's the same dream twice to one person or the same or similar dream to two different people. As Joseph told Pharoah,"because the dream happened twice, it is from God."

So I got up this morning and told hubby my dream:

I dreamed my husband and I hated our house and were thinking of secretly committing arson in order to rid ourselves of it. But then I started rethinking this plan. I kept feeling a foreboding in my heart that maybe we shouldn't do it. What if I got caught? Just that feeling inside warning you to rethink some well-laid plan. I saw flowers growing in my little garden and thought: "Those will burn." As I looked on the hose and gasoline and water set-up which was to start the fire, I thought about tossing the plan, a little kid came through my door.He was small, black, maybe 5 or 6. He said, "The Lord told me to tell you: Don't burn down this house.What about your sickly neighbor? Won't the fire hurt her lungs?Will she be able to get out of her house in time?" Then a neighbor dropped by to show me the clothing she had made. It was made of different patches  and the outfit was definitely weird but I liked her creativity and praised it. There was also a little inset in the dream: Elizabeth Taylor in a wedding dress visited her friend Diana Ross...and her friend said, "You always wear your wedding dress even on normal days."  I wondered about a woman who makes patchwork but beautiful clothes for herself and if that was a depiction of those who create their own syncretist religion..beautiful but not a wedding dress at all. I'd just finished a review by a so-called Christian writer who had a very Buddhist/Hindu/etc tinged Christianity . 

So I said to hubby: What did you dream?

Then he said:
I dreamed we were in front of a beautiful Lake House in a forest and I was considering buying it when the thought occurred to me: "I wonder if the lake floods the house?" At that moment, as if in answer, the lake came up to the front of the house and hubby thought, "Okay, I won't buy this house, then."

We realized then that we had another night of dream-sharing. I had dreamed of fire, and he had dreamed of water. But the dreams had given us advice about moving. We figured the dreams were saying that we certainly should not move to California...and we should not move too far from our present town. Our life affects other people as well...and why move away from people who have grown to love you? In addition, we were shown that God will guide us through feelings in the heart, through a direct word from a child of God, and through events/coincidence. In addition, all Christians walk around with their wedding dress on.

Now this is so interesting. This is the second time since the new year began where we both dreamed different sides of an issue that God decided we would dream about. It's not as if we agreed to dream of a specific issue, after all as a married couple we talk about a lot of things during the day.

Incidentally, the other shared dreams were these:

My husband dreamed he was in a school room. Everyone had regular desks but he had a weird cardboard contraption. Someone came and took the cardboard out into the hallway for recycling/trash. My husband went and picked it up again because some of his artwork was in it also because it was his desk.

I was explaining to an old man about a guessing game in which art pictures were shown. He thought it was too modern and complicated. A pic came up of someone in a bathtub and suddenly it was as if the old man and I were in a bathtub as well. It was a movie still from the godfather. It made the old man happy to realize he could play the game because he had seen the godfather. I was happy too because I thought the game was only going to be arty museum pics.

I think those dreams were about my husband's assessment of his career or maybe a sense that he has gotten old and should challenge himself to newness and laying aside the old. My dream was about encouraging him. He no longer does comic books for the most part. True, he created the Obadiah Stane character in Iron Man and we got blessed financially when that film was made but hubby's comic book days with DC and Marvel are done. Men feel old when there is a career change and it was so sweet of God to challenge both of us in this situation.

This all makes me feel and know that God is with us. I wonder if God is letting our children dream the same thing as us as well. Family shared dreaming also occurs sometimes. Will see. But feeling so happy about God's nearness. As the book of Job says, God directs us in dreams. He hears our conversations, sees our worries, and speaks to us in the night. 

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