I had a dream. I returned from a trip, a happy, carefree trip, and drove by my home to see only a burned out shell where my apartment building was. It wasn’t so obvious at first, because the brick still stood, but it had crumbled a little near the roof. Then I turned the corner and I could see all the way through the windows and to the sky showing through. I had left the heater on, forgotten the stove, something, and now the building had burned down. I was terrified for my cat and rushed in to find her hiding under a little overhang of the foundation. Nothing important was really lost. I was relieved, but still afraid.
I called my parents to tell them my building had burned down. They didn’t seem to care. Worse, they didn’t even really understand what I was telling them. I tried to make them understand. I wanted so badly for them to help me and surely if they only understood, they would help me. I was alone with my cat, trying to figure out what to do and no one would help me.
I know what it means. It means I’m afraid of dropping the ball, one of the balls, and everything will come crashing down around me.
There is a train rumbling up behind me. It has been there all the time. I’ve always known it. As long as I kept moving, I could stay ahead of it. As long as I faced forward, I didn’t have to be afraid of it. I could ignore that slight vibration in my feet. That is just nerves, or exhaustion, or malnutrition. But when the whistle blows, I can’t ignore it anymore. I have to turn around and face it. When I do I realize that no matter how fast I run, I won’t escape it. I’m alone on the trestle a thousand feet in the air and no one will help me. After all, I knew it was coming.
So I just stand there, paralyzed into immobility, my feet nailed to the track. Why try to escape when I can’t see any way out? I can look in all directions without finding a safe path, so I just stand there.
That is how I feel today. I have so much to do, it seems insurmountable and I seem totally immobile. Whatever energy and motivation I might have maintained before I turned around and saw the train is gone, as surely as if my feet were nailed down. So maybe the train will get me this time. Nothing important would really be lost, right? I would survive (my cat would survive) and I could keep going. I might even be relieved to have it over with, but I am still afraid.
I ignored the train for so long. I planed and organized and wandered along. I deluded myself into forgetting it was even back there. I paced myself to prevent exhaustion and now I chastise myself for being lazy and then I become angry because I’m not lazy! None of it matters, because the train doesn’t care. All of my little games amount to nothing. There is nothing to hang on to. That’s what I’m afraid of.