A Table Still in Transition: Lessons from a Dream

Hope everyone is well. So far i dont have internet here really and end up going out for it instead.... so blogging will be sporadic till a solution is found.

Thought i'd do a little an update. As most of you know after the fun little fiasco of the place i was moving into flaking two days before moving in, there was a scramble to even find anything. So i found a temp situation for a month which was moved into a few days ago. The place itself is horrible frankly, but the area is quite lovely since its right accross the street from the ocean and walking distance to cute little antique stores etc, its a sweet little town. So my hope is that perhaps i was put here to find another place in the area? Will have to see what unfolds.

Most of the energy's been focused on all the details of moving really, and also on the continuing search since this place is only for a month anyway so no roots can be put down yet... havent even unpacked/put out most of my "special things" yet. I feel a bit like Ma Ingalls when they lived in this company housing sort of place while Pa was working a season (forget which book that was in). Because when he asked her why she wouldnt put out her special little statue they kept on the hearth she firmly said something like "no, it doesnt go out till we are in a real home and this isnt it". Thats exactly how i feel. But still, a couple of things have stood out. On the old blog i'd mentioned a bookbinder's dream i'd had some time ago (had it a year or more ago) and it came up again during the move so i'll share it again so what came up will make sense.

The dream began with a walk to the beach. It was modern times, and early morning. I was in a new area and it was my first walk down to the water and i was excited. But an older lady (a very old-world feeling Russian peasant type woman) saw me and waved her arms telling me to go back. She seemed nice enough, but her caution irritated me at the time because all i wanted to do was go and see the water and i felt like her fear of whatever it was was ruining it. I thought, "what's she doing trying to tell me it was too cold or something...well bah, i want to get down to that water and noone's going to stop me". So i waved hello to her but ignored her warning arms waving and kept on going towards the water. And several minutes after walking suddenly a whole troop of buses came along and nearly ran me over since this was a teeny tiny road. The buses themselves hardly fit on the lane and i just barely avoided getting hit. The woman who was trying to warn warned me had been right, seems she knew that this troop of buses came at that time of morning and i definitely should have listened to her to find that out and done something differently.

Next scene in the dream is different. I'm in a very ancient quaint feeling village with my finace, only in the dream we are married already and have been for a very long time. We are bookbinders, in this ancient village where books are rare and precious and bookbinding is a sacred and serious craft. One inherited this bookbinder's role i believe. Kind of like how craft-lines were passed down in the middle ages, and the town itself was kind of like the middle ages, and yet also something else special that i can't put my finger on.

At any rate, me and my partner were a bookbinding couple, and there were strict rules about this sort of thing. It was very much like icon making although really i didnt even know that at the time since i didnt know much about icon making back then when i had the dream and its actually only very recently that i've connected the dots there. But certian colors and certain patterns etc were to be used for certian themes in our bookbinding in the dream. And this bookbinding work had to be done quite calmly and prayerfully, if one was upset or unfocused one had to stop working and pray and come to a better place inside and then come back to working. Which again, i ending up finding out later was exactly like icon making really.

And so in this dream we both just loved it. We loved the prayerfullness, the calm, the order, the beauty, the way there was a tradition of certain colors and images and patterns we were to be carrying forward. It made us feel we were being carried by, and carrrying, something greater rather than just ourselves. It felt so "right" to us that rather than being an artist type who created something based on our own individual instincts we were instead carrying forward something traditional and sacred. Again, i've learned later that that this is like icon making...in icon making one isnt considered an artist but rather a writer, becuase in making icons you arent making an individual artistic creation so much as you are copying a sacred manuscript in a sense, preserving that past not reinventing the wheel....like they did it in the middle ages when they copied manuscripts in monastorys (a craft i've always fantasized about with such longing btw...i'm learning my draw to monastic living isnt about the aesteticism much of monastic living has turned into but rather about these ancient prayerful sacred traditions they had carried there like manuscript making etc, i get so mega drawn there).

Its funny, but so much is making more sense now. I hadnt fully connected the dots from this dream to icon making before, and yet for months now i've had this phrase in my head about having an "iconic rule of life" (see old blog).... that is, having a "rule of life" (rythym of the day, way of doing things etc) that is like the principles of icon making. Its only been recently that i've realized this dream was showing how somehow. And for months i've been drawn so deeply to the feeling of the picture of the bookmaker above too, and its always gone along with that "iconic rule of life" phrase. Now i'm realizing it goes with the dream too, they are all connected. This dream was telling me my role in life i think, my "work", and my partner's too (he has a similar draw in this prayerful living and crafting area). And this image above has been drawing me so much lately i'm trying to find the right way to make it the blog header too (its up there now but i hope to find a better format somehow, upcoming...anyone know how to shift template colors and width and such?).

Anyway, this dream had continued too, becuase there is another big layer here. In the dream, most the traditions me and my partner loved--the ancient way of living in this village, the ancient ways of our bookbinding craft too. Except for one thing, and it was a biggie. There was a strict division of what the men and women bookbinders were each to do. And in general we loved the traditional male-female roles in this village, they felt very right to us, but not in this one part, there we had a real problem. The thing was, the women were supposed to be the ones to weave the special cloth for the books, and the men were supposed to be the ones who sewed the special designs onto it. And we were so incredibly unsuited to this. The broad strong motions of the weaving really hurt my spine and shoulder injury and the fine minute stiches of the design-sewing hurt my partner's arthritis in his hands. And it was mental and emotional too, i was just way more "geared" to the sewing part, found real joy in it and was good at it....and i was just terrible and miserable at the weaving. Likewise my partner just loved the weaving, and was very good at it, and hated the sewing. We sure didnt want to just toss the craft or this traditional way of living either, we embraced it all except for that one "little" weaving/sewing glitch...but we knew from a deep place that that part about the weaving and sewing just had to be switched....and without tossing the heart of the tradition. So what we did was we carried on with our living and craft in all the traditional ways but with one big change: he did the weaving part and i the sewing, and we kept the curtains drawn to keep the neighbors from seeing that switch. In the dream, it worked.

This dream has been in my mind lately for two reasons. One is that sometime last week i dreamt a kind of "part II" of the dream. Dreamt i was with the ancient Russian (?) woman who had tried to warn me about not taking the path to the ocean when the buses were coming that way (the beginning of the original dream). When i saw her in this new dream i apologized for not listening to her before, and i asked for her advice in my so-in-transition life right now. She didnt seem worried about the future even though i was, she seemed to think things would be fine. She took my hand and looked into my eyes and said "You are simply carrying forward tradition in an untraditional way, that's all". She smiled, telling me without any more words that that was just fine somehow. I woke up comforted, even though i'm not sure how you carry forward tradition in an untraditional way, seems like kind of a contradition. But i'm sure it will unfold over time.

And in "real life" lately i've just been noticing little things about the whole "weaving and sewing" thing, just how much that image applies to me and my partner and that we should just accept it. It was really hitting me one day last week when he had loaded the heavy glass patio table the car to go store it. He had loaded the table and hadnt even noticed the water hose was left untidyly out in the open out on the patio in its wake, and that some other smaller things were left out too. This is the kind of stuff that tends to upset me, the details missed. But last week it was hitting me....it's just that he's weaving and i'm sewing. No way could i do the "broad motions" of moving the bigger stuff etc, and i accept that limit in myself. Well likewise he's not cut out for the "sewing"/looking at the little details as much, and i need to accept that limit in him. Limit isnt even the right word, we just each have different strengths. It applies to lots of thing i think. I love for example Fascinating Womanhood's chapter on handling finances, that the husband takes care of all the details ("sewing") there, and so handles all the billpaying and buissiness etc. But there's just no way that will work for us really, my partner is not geared for the details of "buisiness stuff" so i can already see it coming...likelyvhe will be doing the "broad strong motions/weaving" of earning the living and keeping the car and home in good repair etc and i will be doing the "fine minute" details of the actual organizing (sorting, planning, this goes here, redoing this, cleaning that, we need this for that etc) of things, and also the bill paying, buisiness calls, etc. He is also far better at the whole keeping connections/peace with the neighbors thing than i am, while i am better at organizing and keeping track of the details/ planning/steps etc of the things we need to do....while the stereotypical image folks have of traditional roles is that that stuff is reversed. But i'm learning that that's fine,that maybe that's a way of simply "carrying forward tradition in an untraditional way".

After all the heart of the traditional provider/nurturer roles are still there we are just carrying them forward in a bit of a different way. Keeping the archetypes but knowing the stereotypes are optional. There really is a difference i think between the archetype of something and the stereotype. Maleness and femaleness, Adam's "curse" and Eve's "curse", the deeper heart of traditions... these are archetypal it feels, rich, deep, alive. The minute "how--to's" and frozen expectations there...those are stereotypes it feels, not as core. No way am i tossing the archetypes but the stereotypes are becoming less and less important over time. Its kind of like a woman's role of keeping at home....that's archetypal. But the how there doesnt have to be the sterotype, we are not all cut out for the for the energetic domestic dynamo so idealized by some, some of us may be more like a sort of Laura Ingalls Wilder type who keeps house with a book in one hand (my favorite part of her life lol) becuase our focus is a bit different there, or maybe we tend towards Beatrix Potter's way of bringing healing to the home with her stories instead of the more expected hands on way of carrying forward home, or just fill in the blank. STILL carrying forward the tradition of women and home-centeredness, just in a non-traditional way. This is very different from being a revolutionary and scrapping tradition. This is instead really longing to bring out more and more the heart of tradition, cherishing that, just finding a way that you can carry it forward that works. Just like in scripture folks found new ways to carry core things forward in different ways. Debrah's way would have been different from Tamar's, Leah's from Rebekah's, Martha's from Mary's. None of these women were revolutionries, none of these women wanted to run from their traditional roles, they only longed to know how they were being called to best fufill them.

Anyway, just noticing lots of little things like this lately amid all the moving and such. Guess its a time of not just outer transition but inner too. Or something.

An ending qoute that's been inspiring me lately amid all the home turmoil:

Thank God, O woman, for the quietude of your home, and that you are queen in it. Men come at eventide to the home; but all day long you are there beautifying it, sanctifying it, adorning it, blessing it. Better be there than wear a queen's coronet. Better be there than carry the purse of a princess. It may be a very humble home. There may be no carpet on the floor. There may be no pictures on the wall. There may be no silks in the wardrobe; but, by your faith in God, and your cheerful demeanor, you may garnish that place with more splendor than the upholsterer's hand ever kindled.
~ T. De Witt Talmage

Guess that applies even to a home in transition, even to a home where the "pretty things" are still packed away till the real move later. Kind of like the time of manna in the desert for the Isrealites... women still carried their touches of home-ness there i'm sure in their own ways even amid all the packed up things and wandering, a woman's home-ness comes accross i think just in how you live somehow. I dont think you can wander too far if you put yourself in God's care and realize that when it comes down to He is your Home. We are "keepers" of home, but He is home.

Anyway, thats a little update for now, and it may be a bit before writing again. Hope all are well : )

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