***Author’s note, again this is mostly unedited. I’ve been writing for almost two hours. This is just therapy for me. To write it down. Then try to figure out what my inner self is telling me. Maybe what God is telling me. I’m making it public…because…I don’t know…Maybe I’m still hoping some for my church members or family members can understand my struggles better. It just isn’t about them. This is about me. I’m still waiting for someone in authority over me to tell me that I’m a good person, and made good choices regarding the church and my family’s healing. I’m not an apostate. God just let me down one too many times. I’ve had one too many traumas. The church let me down way too many times.***
I’m continuing to have uncomfortable dreams/nightmares. Today it again, had a baby, but this time also church themes.
There is a family (a real family) that was in my congregation for many years while I was growing up. I also saw them at different social events as an adult, they purchased a few art prints from me. When I started this blog the wife was very kind and reached out to me (for a while), until it became obvious that I had become disillusioned from the church. I will call them the Smiths (original, I know). The couple had some troubled children, if I remember correctly.
In my dream one of their teenaged daughters had a child out of wedlock. Since the couple knew of my experience with foster care and adoption, they gave me the baby girl, asking me to take care of her. She was a beautiful baby, all wrapped up in pink, a little on the small side. I held her very close to me expecting to automatically love her and want her. But those motherly feelings never came. I continued to hold her close, thinking of how important it was for the infant to bond and feel safe with a caretaker, knowing of all the serious emotional problems that occur with adopted children, and unbounded children. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I did not want this baby. I didn’t want to raise another traumatized child. (I feel all adopted children are traumatized, in differing degrees, by not being able to be raised by their biological parent. many are even traumatized in the womb). I continued to hold her close, wrapped her in my favorite blanket, and talked brother Smith into letting his daughter keep the infant and have him and his wife assist in raising this babe.
Brother Smith agreed and his daughter came to me, to thank me. She was holding her baby girl and I realized her daughter was no longer wrapped in my favorite blanket, but back in her pink wrappings. I explained to the new mother, that her path would be turbulent and difficult, but she needed to be the one to raise her baby, that it was just too much for me, and not my responsibility. After which I went to find Brother Smith and ask him about returning my favorite blanket. This is where the one dream morphed into another…
I worried about the blanket. I worried what Boe would say about having me lose it. It was irreplaceable, and Boe is very protective of me.
In real life, this blanket of mine is the family favorite, including the dog. While I often lend it, I make sure everyone knows it is MINE. There is something about the fabric and fill that are just divine. It’s the most comfortable blanket in the world. I got it as a gift long ago for my sister-in-law. While I have looked online and in stores for a similar one, I’ve never been able to. So my feeling for this blanket are very real. And the fact that in my dream I wrapped the infant in it and gave it away is somehow significant. It shows I was willing to sacrifice my comfort for that of the infant. Even though I didn’t love the baby. It was just the right thing to do.
In my dream, Brother Smith was the Bishop, so I had some anxiety in approaching him because I no longer believed in the teachings of the church. When I spoke to him, there were other members in the round room. It was like he was king and was holding court. I approached him and pleaded my case. For some reason, I felt I had to defend my myself. I felt his children stole my blanket, and that he wouldn’t believe me, because they were the bishop’s children, his children, and I was a fallen apostate, a defector of the faith. I appealed to his honor and fairness. I said, “I know we disagree about matters of faith, but I have always known you to be a just man of honor, and I would just like my blanket back.” His children denied taking my blanket. They said they didn’t know anything about it. Brother Smith made some grand speech about how he would always be fair and just with his people and gave me perdition to search for the blanket in his house.
I found a blanket pile and mine was right at the top. I clung to it, putting the fabric to my face to authenticate it. Brother Smith’s teenaged and adult children protested that it was their blanket and had been in their possession for years. I looked again at the pile of blankets and notice that right underneath mine, was a very similar looking blanket. As soon as I touched it I knew that this was NOT my blanket. So I handed it the the group, showed them the similarities and offered that the had simply mistaken my blanket for theirs. To my surprise they agreed and I was free to take my own blanket, realizing there was no maliciousness involved, and that is was simply an honest mistake.
I returned to the round room, to wrap up with Brother Smith and thank him. He had softened a bit. Then started addressing me as my bishop. He asked why I had turned against the church.
And suddenly, I was on trial again. The audience were all members. They had talked about me. In my dream I knew they felt I was influenced by the devil, and was an enemy to the church. I knew how much they feared me, thinking I wanted to lead them astray with me. They thought I was a bad person.
I told Bishop Smith that there was a lot of evidence the church had been misleading its members. Historical evidence, financial evidence. But I asserted that I was NOT the enemy, and did not have an agenda to destroy the church. And of course I felt a little guilty about saying this, because deep inside me I wanted them to feel, what I had felt. I wanted them to feel the horrifying realization I felt at finding solid evidence that the church was not true. It’s actually pretty interesting that I didn’t bring up my confrontation with my real-life bishop and stake councilor. Also interesting that I didn’t bring up the the first solid seed of doubt triggered by an accident I had, over 12 years ago.
So in real life I was in a pretty serious accident. I was a passenger, my mother in law was driving us to help make some arrangements for my sister in law’s wedding reception that was happening that day. The roads were icy. All I remember is a flash of seeing a truck and knowing it would hit my side of the car, before losing consciousness. As I came to, the first thing I remember is blackness and being utterly alone. I was stunned and horrified that an angel or God wasn’t anywhere near me. I thought I was dead. I expected angels, or departed ancestors, or God. Like truly expected…thought is was a fact! And the first cognitive feeling I had was being aware that there was nothing NOTHING there.
I started singing “Nearer my God, to Thee,” in my head…in my consciousness. I was thinking of my life wondering when God would appear. Singing the hymn gave me a small measure of comfort, but I was so scared!! Slowly I started hearing voices, feeling my body being jolted. I realize I wasn’t dead after all. My very first word were, “the kids, where are the kids?” I realized my mother in law was beside me speaking. I got a tiny glimpse of her before everything went black again. There were voices of men all around me, and the jolting feeling. They said, “we are going to get you out of here.” Then magically I was bound in a stretcher, and they kept asking me questions, and questions. I asked about the kids. They said there was no one else in the car. I heard my mother-law say that the kids weren’t with us, we had left them at home.
I remember telling the medics what here’s they were, like Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton (the kids and I were studying them in homeschool at the time). and still in my head I sang in my head the hymns, I waited for a heavenly visitation. I felt it was my right to receive one because I was still so scared, and I had obeyed the commandments.
I remember the medics giving the ER doctors a briefing of my condition. They said I was confused and kept repeating myself. So I apologized. Over and over I apologized for repeating myself and disturbing them. They sent me straight into a cat scan machine. I thing they forgot me there. I felt like the circulation to my head was being cut off. Finally they wheeled my out. Still completely strapped in. They put me in a room with my mother-in-law, who was talking to both me and herself, willing us to remember why we had been in the car. Why I was there (at the time I lived 350 mile away from her.) Eventually she remembered.
But I was still mystified why they was no angel. They cut my clothes off, my garments, my bra. They put some staple in my head. Boe (who was 350 miles away) was called and he was in the car on his way to me. My new brother-law came and I burst into tears when I say him. I asked for a blessing. He gave me one. Still no angels. Everyone kept saying that the side airbag has saved my life.
When Bo got there we were already at my mother-in laws. I was lying on the couch. Boe’s mother was in the kitchen. I could be wrong, but I remember him going to her first. I heard her sobbing in his arms and apologizing, “I almost killed your wife.”
When he came to me I told him how alone I felt, how there were no heavenly visitations. He lovingly petted my hair back and said, “you weren’t dead.”
The family started attributing the miracle to the fact that before I went out the door, I had called out to the kids and reminded them to say family prayer together, which they did. So I guess that’s what saved us.
Intrusive thoughts were planted, “would God had not saved us without family prayer? and where the heck was He anyway? The airbag saved us, the medics saved us, wearing a jacket saved me from the cold. But where was God?” I stuffed the thoughts, tried to bury them. But they took root, and I had solid evidence, that God would not always be there. That there was a possibility, we were alone.
So, in my dream, I didn’t mention these more emotionally loaded experiences to Bishop Smith. The last thing I said to him (and this is currently slipping in and out of my memory) is that I no longer felt that God needed a middle person. I wanted to access God directly.
The bishop asked why I had not removed my name from the records of the church. I answered that I still held hope of reconciliation. (????!!!!) And that the church had been my life for umteen years (32 precisely) and I didn’t want that simply erased. **how odd that I also omitted the kid’s sexual abuse and how badly it was handled by church leaders and the victim blaming that started, and my sister checking up on me with my therapist, instead of hearing me out and validating at how my real life bishop confronted me, and my mother-in-law saying to Boe how I exaggerate stuff and get too emotional so she also did not believe my account!***
My dream ended, with an intense fear, that now that the bishop knew I did not believe in church doctrines he would hold a “court of love” (excommunication determination) and end up excommunicating me. I was surprised when I awoke to see how afraid I still was of the church. There is another something I told him to justify my unbelief…but it keeps floating in and out of my memory. I’ll write it down when/if I remember.
I will mention that the accident has not been far from my mind lately. Bill has been very sick the last month and has lost near 10 pounds. He is thin as a rail already. He passed out at the doctor’s office yesterday. Lost consciousness for a few minutes on the floor. On the way home he described the sensation…how his senses slowly went offline, and then slowly back on line. Our experiences of coming to have and few similarities. Except…he wasn’t scared. His logical side of the brain took note as indifferent as if he were calculating a math problem. He understood what was happening to him. Boe was there to catch his fall. He stayed with Bill the whole time. Bill’s real life dad was there. Bill was not alone. He did not expect an angel.