I have been living in fear. I am afraid of my public life. I am afraid of what it might mean to be known for what I do and recognized. I am afraid of what it might mean to not be known for what I do and not recognized. As I age, I am afraid of being called on to take care of my husband in ways I don’t know how, and I’m afraid he may be the one taking care of me, and that I don’t know how to surrender to that either.
Combine this with fantasies of simpler times, fantasies in which life is easy and manageable and I know what to do. Sometimes I pass a house and I think, would life in that house be easier? Maybe there would be a dishwasher, more counter space, a spice rack that makes sense. Maybe it would have a better place to write. Maybe I wouldn’t be afraid in that house, or that one, or that one.
And then the other morning, after praying over my constricting heart, while lying in bed in half sleep I suddenly felt myself to be a giant. It wasn’t unpleasant. The fact is it was kind of nice. I was the same as I am now, only very, very large. I felt the weight of my huge head on the pillow. I felt the curl of my body on the mattress, big and solid and strong.
I’m a giant, I thought. This is interesting. I like it. I like feeling this big and strong. I knew if I stood up I would tower. I knew I could not be knocked down. I knew I wasn’t just “okay” – that reassuring little back-pat of a word – “You’ll be ‘okay.'” Instead of okay, I was strong and solid and firm and without a doubt I was a giant. I would not wobble.
And then I started shrinking again. Not terribly. I never got smaller than I am now. But I was normal and I wanted to be a giant again. So the giant feeling came back, and then left again, and came back, and left, and by the time I got up I understood something I hadn’t understood before. I understood that I’d built a big life for myself – one that includes a lover, and a home, and soup, and writing books, and teaching, and friends, and being known and recognized sometimes, and unknown and unrecognized other times, and a church, and a river, and herons, and otters, and beavers, and energy work, and over one thousand Facebook friends, and that in many, many ways I’d built this big-ass life and yet I was shrinking from it. I was scared to occupy it.
And finally I understand how small-minded that is. And finally I understand what a ride life is. And finally I understand that I need to make my spirit bigger. My giant dream showed me that. I need to live in my big life. I need to fully occupy it. I felt solid and strong as a giant, but the pillow was just as soft, the bed just as comforting.