Have you ever had a really awful dream that you wish you could erase from your memory? You wake up breathing heavily, wondering what world you’ve awaken in. With relief you realize it isn’t real, and that everything is “as it should be.”
I had a really bad dream, but then woke up the next morning to find that it was real. All of it, in detail. I wanted nothing more than to understand why it happened. After time, though, I wanted more to wipe away the evidence of its existence. I wanted to live in a world where that dream didn’t have to be a part of me, where people would look at me an not see “that poor girl.” Since my plans didn’t pan out the way I had hoped, there had to be some way to make the dream end happily.
As a child I had regular, twisted nightmares. They were so awful. It began to develop a fear in me of all those shadows and creaks in the dark. My mom would pray with me about them, and once I asked her about demons and how to make them go away. She talked to me of the authority I had as a child of God, that all I need to do is command in the name of Jesus Christ that they leave me alone. I began to make this speech nightly. The dreams didn’t go away, though. At some point I heard that you could change the ending of a dream while coming out of it by reliving the ending in a way that makes you feel safe and happy. It worked.
So needless to say, when the real life nightmare occurred, my mind was already trained to rework the story. Since I couldn’t change the circumstances, the only hope I saw of creating a happy ending was by starting over from the very beginning.
Traveling is my favorite adventure. My first airplane ride gave me chills-the unnerving, stomach-churning kind. My second airplane ride secured a love of going to new places. In all honesty I have not been to THAT many different places, but I’ve taken every opportunity I could to leave the walls of the Piedmont. If I couldn’t take a short trip, well, then I moved to a new state.
Call it running away, call it escape, call it release or call it searching. Most of it I’ve done alone…hours and hours of car rides and airport sitting. Some really great conversations between God and I have been in my car alone on I-95. Actually, those car rides are where I learned to truly talk to God so openly. Sometimes I did a lot of yelling. Surely the passers-by wondered what was going on.
I think I thought I would find myself on the open road. I definitely thought starting over and over and over again in new states would help me create the life I had always dreamed about in my heart. However, the more I traveled, the more lonely I became. It became clear that even though I had momentary excitement of these new places and new opportunities, there was a lack of something.
In actuality, my parents and childhood teachers prepared me well. I always considered myself close with my younger brothers, too. Somewhere between adolescent insecurity and college disappointments I left my roots. I tried to detach from them, thinking they had a part in creating my bad dream. Now, I do not attest that everyone should want or need to come back to their roots. Some roots are not very deep or very stable. Some are unhealthy. Some just got misguided…but it was necessary for me to return home to restore faith in my family
Two people within the last month have said this statement to me: “Bloom where you are planted.” When I moved back to my hometown two years ago, I did this as a last resort. I wasn’t looking to stay. My mind was on the travel track. I’d get on my feet and then move on…I couldn’t stay here. Staying here meant putting Andi in a box. Somehow, I’ve learned the value of family since then. I’ve begun to appreciate the opportunities this small town has to offer. It’s not the end, but it is an important part of my journey.
Now I don’t have to travel aimlessly anymore. If something awful happens, I know who to call. I’ve learned to find comfort in my family. So, I’m working on my bloom so when the Spirit wind carries me elsewhere I will know how to plant again.