Yesterday began at 7:15 a.m. in Bridgeport, Michigan. It dawdled for a while in the sun on the back deck, soaking in the rays and the last few hours with family. Then a straight shot down to Detroit Metro, a small hop from there to O’Hare, and the long haul from Chicago to Anchorage. After an hour-long, story-sharing ride with a good friend, our travels brought us back to Girdwood, to the place we call home. We were asleep by 12:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. in MI), aided by melatonin in my case.
I am not usually a lucid dreamer. But this morning when I became aware that I was dreaming, I chose to awaken.
I had been asked to speak at the University of Michigan commencement, scheduled to begin in 30 minutes. I can still see the clock, which read 1:30 p.m. I had just a few paragraphs written, and was typing furiously.
When I worked as a minister, many Saturday nights I had “sermon nightmares.” Often I had left my sermon text or notes in my office, and I was now sitting in the chancel–or worse, standing in the pulpit. Most of the dream was usually an anxious effort to retrieve the text or notes by slipping out during a hymn, or choosing instead to wing it.
This morning’s dream was different, in one important way: I remember pieces the speech I was writing, and I like what I remember. After the requisite introductions, welcomes and thank-you’s, there were two things I had to say.
We live in a time, I wrote, when:
- Vocation isn’t a straight line. My partner graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in anthropology. Now she is Alaska’s first and only paraplegic aircraft mechanic. My undergraduate degree is in psychology, and I have a Master of Divinity degree, but my driving passions are sustainable food and agriculture.
- Every person matters. You may be an unemployed former Presbyterian minister whose daily tasks include feeding an airplane mechanic and walking the dog, and still the University of Michigan will ask you to speak at graduation.
I believe these two things. I believe that whatever I find myself doing in five years, whether it be in the pulpit, the kitchen, or the barn, every swooping detour of my life will have been important. And I believe each one of us influences this organic, interdependent world in which we live; a few weeks back something I posted here prompted a fellow blogger to take the leap and buy a new range, which will have innumerable repercussions in her life–to say nothing of the surprising actions it might prompt in her readers. We may not be asked to speak at graduation, but we matter.
Whew. What an intense way to start the day. Now that I’ve written it out of my system, I can take a deep breath, look around, and begin to acclimate back to life here in Girdwood.