Me and my Shadow
I’m leading two book studies now at two churches during Lent. The book is the same for both: Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language by John Sanford. The first chapter exhorts us to “Agree with Thine Adversary.” In this chapter, Sanford gives three examples of dreamers who come face to face with the devalued and denied aspects of themselves through their dreams. For these dreamers, the shadow parts, even though they look and feel uncomfortable or awful, are exactly what are necessary for completeness and wholeness.
“No!” we say – “not THAT!” Yes, THAT. For me, a goal driven businesswoman pretty proud of my thinking function, anything that seemed emotional or sentimental or just relational – traditonally feminine virtues – smacked of fuzzy-headed weakness and vulnerability. And yet, for my personal relationships to work and indeed for my new career to happen, I needed to develop and value my emotional sense, my ability to connect with people on a level deeper than the intellectual one. Over time, my dreams showed me my Shadow side as represented by the female figures found there. Finally, a very clear dream showed me what I needed to know. In it I am employed by a ruthless businessman who is planning to kill his flighty, pretty teenage daughter. I know this in the dream and am afraid for her and for myself. I begin to plan an escape and place my purse outside of the door of the house where we are. The girl appears but drives away in a car before anything can happen to her. The car is a green 1964 Olds Delta 88, the same car my mother drove for almost 13 years. The thinking-type ruthless businessman part of me was threatening to kill the lovely, young , potential feminine part of me. I recognized the danger and got outta there. In my mother’s car. Wow.