The idea that we are dreamed into being by generations past is a common one among Indigenous people around the world. I realize that I hold it so deeply that I am surprised when it is new, and resonates, with others. Michael Watson – Dreaming the World
I follow Michael on WordPress and many of his posts speak to me about things I know, but know with shadows around the edges. He brings a personal perspective to what I know about being different, having unique needs in a world that very often finds people who are different scary or annoying. And he offers me insight from a world perspective that I’m familiar with only through reading novels or professional literature.
Periodically Michael talks about the role of ancestors from generations past, usually insights on how they influence mental health and relational difficulties. When he talked about being dreamed into the world by ancestors, I had to do a lot of thinking to wrap my mind around it. But I liked the concept. I just wasn’t sure I could believe my ancestors dreamed me into being.
Could I really have been dreamed into being when my being wasn’t planned by my 17 year old second-generation Polish Catholic mother who worked at a soda fountain and my 16 year old Anglo somewhat-Christian father who played football in his junior year of high school. This was in 1943 when out-of-wedlock pregnancies were a disgrace and Catholics weren’t allowed to date Christians. And Christian parents warned their adolescents about marrying a Catholic. I wasn’t planned for – maybe not even wanted. Did my ancestors from generations past on both sides of the Atlantic really dream me into being?
After months of letting this concept percolate through my brain cells I have discovered that I actually find comfort in believing that my ancestors dreamed me into being. I can support this comforting belief because I am dreaming my great-grandchildren into being and even my grandchildren’s great-grandchildren. I also believe in an afterlife and my afterlife wouldn’t be worth looking forward to if I couldn’t continue to care for and guide those who are born long after I have departed.
On this Memorial Day weekend I spent some time thinking about the people who are no longer living but have impacted my life. Because I have been loved and nurtured throughout my life, I feel better equipped to deal with the pressure of living in a world with increasing threats and challenges. Because others felt hope for me, I also have hope for opportunities for self-fulfillment and loving relationships for my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as they negotiate creating lives with integrity.
I am also in the process of thinking about how to integrate into my self image those who prepared the way for my birth, loving me long before I was born. “May we remember that we are the prayers of past generations, and their hope for the future, and may we carry those hopes and prayers lightly into the future as we continue to dream future generations into being.” (Michael Watson)