As I stood next to a pool, a little girl who couldn’t swim jumped in and sank to the bottom. She didn’t struggle at all. In fact, she was intent on rescuing a piece of paper or two, lifting them up over her head, trying to bring them to the surface.
She couldn’t make it back up on her own.
Nothing more than a spectator, I stood and watched as another adult capably dove down, grasped the girl’s legs and pushed her up.
The girl neither thrashed nor struggled as the adult pushed her toward the surface. Instead, she calmly held the papers high over her head so that they burst out first.
The adult rescued her.
And she rescued the papers.
The papers weren’t the least bit soggy—in fact, the pages were perfectly dry, and the words clear enough to read or share with others.
That morning I told Ann Voskamp about the dream.
“What does it mean?” she wondered aloud.
“I don’t know, but it seemed significant,” I replied. “I wonder about my part in it, though. I mean, I just stood there, watching, like watching a movie.”
We didn’t try to analyze it more than that, and the dream faded into the background, as dreams do when the dreamer faces a plate of eggs and bacon. I don’t know about you, but I’m easily distracted by bacon.But I did remember the dream later.
I remembered it on the plane, when I was jotting down notes from the trip.
I remembered it the other day while I was taking a shower.
And I remembered it this evening, too.
I remembered the scene: the pool and the girl so intent on saving papers that had sunk to the bottom of the pool.
I began to wonder about it.
Are the papers stories to rescue? Stories from childhood, perhaps?
Am I the girl, rescuing the papers—the stories?
Am I the adult, diving in to assist others as they jump in to rescue their stories and bring them to the surface?
Or am I in the same role that I held in the dream: standing nearby, observing everything; curious, but detached?
Maybe I’m to take on any one of the roles at any given moment. Maybe I’m the girl sometimes, pulling up stories and writing them down to share; and other times I’m the one who helps others get their stories to the surface by taking on the role of editor; and then I must be the interested spectator, as well, sometimes…a reader, perhaps.
Maybe I need to dive down and rescue the truth from my past; and maybe I need to help others do the same.
Maybe we all need to be intent and courageous enough to jump in and rescue our stories—and maybe sometimes we need help bringing them out safely and in the best possible condition.