I woke up this morning from the midst of a dream I couldn’t shake. i think it sprang from reading the story of Hannah and Samuel yesterday and from this post by Rachel Balducci about how hard it is to have her little baby in a full body cast.
In my dream Benedict was a toddler, maybe a bit older and larger than Sophie is now. We were having some sort of religious ceremony, putting a sort of ritual garment on him that he’d have to wear the rest of his life. It was sort of like the fringed garment that Jewish men wear under their clothes. In the way of dreams, its appearance changed a couple of times. At first it was a rough uncut piece of sheepskin but then it appeared that there were several layers sewn together and the one next to the skin was rough, like a door mat, the ones with thick ropey fibers, and directly next to his skin was the side with the little rubber spikes that prevents the mat from slipping.
We put it over his head like a poncho and it was so heavy and so rough against his tender skin, the points biting and the fibers rubbing. I cried seeing my little boy having to wear such a burden and yet knew I was doing it out of obedience to God.
And I suppose that’s what the dream really boils down to: how hard it is to give my children over to God, to keep in mind that my children aren’t mine but his and are merely given to me for a time to care for them as His steward. (I wrote a long reflection on that here after my miscarriage.) And that in turn relates to broader concerns I’ve been pondering recently: trusting in God, relinquishing control, letting go of fear and anxiety, suffering for our children but also suffering with our children.
Dom also pointed out that we’ve also been discussing the question you don’t have to deal with when you have a girl child: to circumcise or not. I’m not sure how much a part that played in the dream, but certainly that comes into it to. It’s obviously not a religious question for us but one of health concern. So often as parents you have to make the tough decisions, the things like immunizations that hurt your child and protects him at the same time and all the limits and boundaries you set that can seem harsh and unnecessary to a child but you know you do for their own protection.
Heavy thoughts for so early in the morning. Just had to get them down because the dream won’t let me go.