In the Driver’s Seat | A Nightmare

by Elouise

Here’s a short version of a response to my recent nightmare, beginning with two uncomfortable facts.

  1. I’m the leader of this group.
  2. This nightmare is primarily about my voice, not a musical program.

In addition, I can’t ignore these realities:

  • Human body parts lying around the house
  • Men sitting on the sidelines, not at the table
  • The atmosphere: Sullen, Passive, Disengaged, Heavy, Disconnected, Disinterested, Bored, Dangerous

Here’s what I would do differently, as of today:

  1. After I see the first body parts, I consult with D. We’re in agreement. This is not a safe place.
  2. I ask D to contact the proper authorities immediately. He might need to call my contact person for help with this. Tell the proper authority that there are human body parts lying around this house and that we need someone to come immediately, without a siren.
  3. Introduce myself briefly to the group, and begin circulating a sign-up sheet to include everyone present: name, address and contact information – printed legibly.
  4. Read names aloud, connect them with faces, and welcome them to this meeting. (There are less than 20 people in the room.)
  5. Invite men sitting on the sidelines to join us at the table, or leave now.
  6. Tell the remaining group what I’ve seen in other areas of this house, and that D has contacted authorities. We won’t work on a musical production at this meeting. Someone will be in touch with you about whether another rehearsal will be held, and where.
  7. If and when we reconvene, we’ll create our own musical program, drawing on input from everyone. I urge you to think and write about what you’re thinking and feeling right now. What music, poem, or other creative writing might respond to and honor the bodies and lives affected by this tragedy?
  8. If you’d like to stay until authorities arrive (assuming they haven’t arrived), you’re free to stay here with D and me. If you need to leave, feel free to do so.
  9. For those who remain, we’ll be thinking and talking about how we’re feeling right now.

I’m not sure about letting the men and even group members leave—perhaps before the authorities arrive. But I have no grounds for keeping them, and have collected their names and contact information.

Perhaps this seems morbid for Sabbath reading. Nonetheless, it puts things into perspective for me. This is about giving up my need to survive, or to change situations. It’s also about speaking truth in a clear voice. A spiritual skill each of us needs in today’s world, whether we identify ourselves as followers of Jesus Christ or not. Even a nightmare can lead to productive reflection and dialogue.

Thanks for reading and commenting if you’d like.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 November 2017
Daily Prompt: Atmospheric