yellow bicycle

I had a dream last night, a dream odd enough that it woke me up.  It was a new setting, one I hadn’t visited before in dreamspace.  I was inside a narrow building, dominated by a narrow, spiraling staircase.  There weren’t floors as much as slightly large landings sometimes lined with benches, or baths, or other odd furnishings.  The dominant color was white, the white of sun-bleached stucco.

I entered the building knowing that I needed to make it all the way down to the bottom of the staircase in order to get to my destination.  There were a lot of others going up and down the, and it was tight enough that you had to stand sideways in places to let others pass.  On top of all that, I was carrying a bicycle.  It was bright yellow, brand new, sleek, light-weight and expensive.  The impression was I hadn’t had it very long and was pretty stoked about having it.

The stairway seemed to be a bit like a main thoroughfare, with groups travelling together, families, old and young people, some carrying lots of belongings piled high on their backs or in their arms.  No one was happy I was carrying a bicycle and at times the spiraling turns were so tight I was barely able to coax the bike around them.  There were also branching hallways off the central way, dark and mysterious, showing the occasional furtive figure and pale suspicious face.

I interacted with a few of my fellow stairwell travelers, but most were in a hurry and could barely be bothered to spare me a dirty look for bumping them with my bike tire or the handle bars.   I was in fairly good spirits until I realized I’d left something on one of the upper levels.  I stopped and stepped off the stairs onto one of the small landings, leaning my bike against the wall, while I considered my options.  I could make my way back up and retrieve my things, but was frustrated at the prospect of carrying the bike back up through some of those tight turns.

“I’m sure I can just leave it here for a few moments.. I’ll be right back.”  And so I left the bike and made my way as quickly as possible up and back.  I have no idea what it was I needed to retrieve, that wasn’t central to the dream, apparently.  I came back to the landing and my bike was gone.  I was angry and frustrated and asking those around me if they’d seen what happened.  I vowed to track down my bike and those who’d taken it, and started pell-mell down the stairs.  Some of the people around me, those who I’d asked for information, stopped me with patient voices and firm hands.  They counseled me not to waste my time, that I wouldn’t find the yellow bike again, that it would just be an endless and, ultimately, fruitless search.

And, oddly enough, this logic actually stopped me in my tracks and woke me from my dream.  Ya see, this isn’t usually how my dreams go.  Usually when faced with a quest like this, I will obsessively go after the lost item until my dream becomes a tightly bound coil of stress and repetition.  But this time, a dream character spoke to me, told me to stop, and I did.

I think this is about my almost obsessive need to fix things, to be the person who solves problems, retrieves lost items,  makes it all better.  I have an need to fix problems that I see, always believing that if I try hard enough and think long enough, I’ll find a solution.  I hate conceding defeat in the face of a challenge.

This year has been full of challenges that I wasn’t able to defeat through sheer willpower and desire.  I ended a relationship with someone I really didn’t want to lose, but the right thing to do was let go.  I went through a period of time when I wasn’t sure I’d have a new work contract after June.  My wife’s pregnancy went very well for the most part, but toward the end there were challenges, some fairly serious pain that she had to put up with until after the delivery.   Roxy and I have gone through some tough times, almost breaking up more than once.   I worry that I don’t give Amber enough of my time and attention.   Roxy’s going through challenges in her life and I have to stand by helplessly because all I can do is be supportive and give her a place to vent.  I almost always feel that I’m not caught up in my life and don’t think that feeling is going away any time soon.  And the latest blow, coming just this week, is that my sweet elderSpawn has been diagnosed with a mild form of epilepsy.

So my life is in some ways that tight, spiraling staircase, and I’m determined to take the yellow bike with me, regardless the difficulty.   Along the way, other priorities come up and I have to put the bike down, leave it unattended, risk losing it altogether.   And as much as I treasure that yellow bike, there are sometimes higher priorities.

With these challenges, I didn’t have a solution, couldn’t pull something out of my box of tricks, or think my way out of my predicament.  I had to let go of my need to be the fixer, because sometimes there isn’t a fix.   And there are people telling me it’s ok to ‘let it go’ to step aside and not try to solve everything.  My wife just needed me to be at her side during the difficult part of labor and delivery, not make all the difficulty go away.  Roxy doesn’t need me to ride in on my white stallion, she needs me to love her and support her and sometimes distract her with fantasies about riding in on my stallion.  Amber knows my life is busy, she doesn’t expect me to invent more hours in the day, she just wants some of the time I do have.  My daughter doesn’t need me to cure her, she just needs me to love her and be her Mommy.

Sometimes there isn’t a solution, sometimes I’m not the one who’s supposed to do the fixing.   It’s not an easy lesson to learn and I’m not sure I’ve completely learned it yet, but I’ve had the dream, and that’s a start.

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