Friday, July 20, 2012

On Dreams and Hard Lessons

Bucky Collins. Photo swiped from his wife Pat's facebook.

Clementine has been in Vacation Bible School, this week, at the first church to which I belonged in Powhatan. Several times, I've guided her to the correct pew and, on my way out of the church, passed Bucky Collins, the sight of whom always reminds me (in the most pleasant of ways) of a lesson I learned the hard way. (Why is it that I have to learn so many things the hard way?) It went something like this:

I taught sixth grade English for one year: the 2005-2006 school year. I could write several posts about it and probably will, at some point, but it didn't go well at all. I'd gone in excited and optimistic, and I'd never in my life felt so unloved and disrespected. I'm not a person accustomed to failure, and my confidence had been shaken as never before. I vomited, often, before going to work in morning. I cried all the time. I needed to be medicated (although I never was), and more than one person suggested as much. I still count my surviving the school year as one of my proudest accomplishments.

Anyway, at some point during the school year, the Lord showed me Bucky's face in a dream and said, very clearly: "Talk to Bucky Collins."

Now, this was well before I had a facebook account, which meant that--in order to talk to Bucky--I'd have to call him up on the phone or track him down at the (large) church I'd left a year or two before. I was pretty sure he wouldn't know me; I remembered him but didn't know anything about him and, for that matter, didn't think I'd ever had a real conversation with him. And what was I supposed to say: "Uh, hello, Mr. Collins. I know you don't know who I am, but the Lord spoke to me in a dream and said I need to talk to you?"

I'm an extreme extrovert, but, remember, my confidence had been shaken. I'd never felt so insecure in all my life.

I let the dream go.

A year or two later, I enrolled Cade in a Cub Scout troop that met at my former church: Bucky's church. Cade hadn't been part of the troop for long when I saw Bucky at the church, one evening. I was waiting for Cade's troop meeting to end and sat down with Bucky. I told him about my dream and a little bit about the point in my life at which I'd had it.

He didn't laugh at me at all. Instead, he said he wished I'd called him. As it turns out, he's a former Scoutmaster who continues to devote much of his life to working with young people. (The crazy middle-school kids are his specialty!) He was so kind, that evening, and I promised myself that--in the future--I'd take my dreams more seriously. It's one promise I've kept to myself.

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