A recent news photo of an upside-down flag at a demonstration reminded me of a dream from years ago…
In the dream…
I’m walking down a road when I see, to my right, a small house with a white garage. A typical working-class domicile.
A big U.S. flag hangs upside down on the side wall of the garage.
The dream puzzled me, but didn’t trouble me. So I merely wrote it down and filed it away.
But then, a few years later, while watching the movie In the Valley of Elah, I learned that an upside-down flag is used as a distress signal. Now the dream troubled me! That garage flag symbolized the distress of the working-class. A working-class that had been thrown for a loop. And was still being thrown. Upside-down.
As typically happens, a dream was trying to get me to see the obvious. But this wasn’t a typical dream…
Dreams are personal creations which reveal the dreamer’s waking life. But this dream isn’t just talking about my life. This dream is talking about our life.
That idea sounds grandiose, I know. But why shouldn’t I dream about our life occasionally? After all, my concerns go far beyond my own personal needs and wishes.
Nevertheless, it’s fair to ask: why did I need that dream, that message? I can do little to change the fate of the working class in my country.
However, the fate of the working class—or any class—does affect my life. So I do need to see what’s happening. The dream says, “Here’s the situation on the road you’re traveling. How will you respond?”
My personal dreams also say: “here’s the problem”; also ask “how will you respond?”
Though I may answer that question differently, according to the dream, the basic answer remains pretty much the same: I must find my strength.
How will I respond to the upheaval in my country? To our “upside-downess”? Though my specific answer may vary, according to the season, the basic answer will remain the same: I must find my strength.
© 2019, Michael R. Patton
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