The dream came as inspiration. The dream came as comfort.
I sat with a six-year-old girl on a park bench. We turned toward each other and made eye contact. Light glinted from brown eyes. I read at once vulnerability and intelligence. She asked, "Did you read my book?" I shook my head, "No, I said, I want to, though. I understand that you are here today to receive an award for the book." "Yes, but that's not so important." She hopped from the bench and extended her hand to me. "You want to go for a walk? It's so pretty here; there's a lot to explore." Her enthusiasm magnetized me. I noticed, though, that this child appeared neglected, her hair tangled and uncombed. She wore a faded dress and her shoes showed scuff marks and worn out soles. Yet she exuded joyful expectation as children do, despite circumstances. I placed my hand in hers. What might I discover with this adorable child? Might I help her? Might she help me?
As I've pondered and prayed about the meaning of this dream, I concluded that the child is an aspect of myself. This child is a creative muse. She is the writer. She is the one who says, "Don't you just love how the sunlight falls on that grove of trees?" "Why look at that rose bush. It's erupting in pink," she exclaims. She's the one who begs, "Let's stay at the library just a little bit longer. You only want to run and pick up your books on hold. But let's browse. A book might find us...won't that be fun?" Her eyes light up when we plan a walk down by the ocean. "We might see some dolphins leaping out of the water today. Yay!" She's the one who suggests, "Let's stop on our trail walk at the swing by the marsh. That back and forth motion on the swing feels so free. I love it. And then we'll see the sunset too."
As it sunk in how I neglect her voice, I wept. Too often I say, "We must stick to the list. We've got a lot to do today. There's no time for the swing, for the sunset, for the extended stay at the library, for the dolphins." This child, however, is loving and forgiving. She coaxes, "We could do things differently. We could spend more time together. You'd have a chance to read my book." "What shall we do?" I ask. She pulls out her own concurrently wise and whimsical list...
~First, shorten the lists. They are too budensome, like rules that can't be kept.
~Plan a weekly date.
~Read as many books as we want.
~Go on lots of walks.
I suggest, too, that we get her a new outfit and a pair of beautiful leather shoes. A brilliant ring for her finger. A new haircut. She claps her hands. Yes! And I'll read my book out loud to you. You'll love the lyrical prose. You'll love every bit of it. I know you will."
What might your child be whispering to you? Picture him. Picture her.