I had a dream last night.

All I remember was that I was approaching a crossroads. Maybe that was the entire dream. It did go on for what seemed like forever, so it could have been.

You know how in movie dream sequences, paths can stretch out far into the distance? The destination gets further and further away?

Well, this happened to me in the dream. All I wanted to do was to make a full stop at the stop sign. Instead, I only slowed down before hitting the gas again. This happened again and again and again, the stop sign stretching out further in front of me each time, giving me another chance to make a full stop.

I finally stood in the car and pushed with all my weight on the brake.  It felt like I was wrestling a wild beast, the car strained to push through the stop sign, to continue in the path that I was headed.

I’ve had a lot of stops and starts over the last couple of years.  I feel like I’m always waiting before I can move forward. I just keep plugging away, trying to be patient as I move towards long term goals and plans. But I wonder if I should be looking at things differently. 

In dreams, a crossroad indicates that there are many directions and paths opened to you. Stop signs indicate a need to look over options, consider all paths and outcomes before moving forward.  Or maybe possibly changing direction?

I was accepted into a graduate program a couple of months ago.  Originally, I had intended to start in August.  They wanted me to start earlier and I initially accepted. But then I got this overwhelming need to stop. I needed to just be still. I couldn’t explain it. The feeling was overwhelming. I pushed back my entry date until January, but not without a lot of opposition from the university first.

There is this common misconception that we have to be doing all the time. If we aren’t doing and achieving, then we are missing out, we are without value.  But I wonder how many opportunities we miss because we don’t stop long enough to look around and really consider what it is that we really want.

The path I am on is the result of several variables.  Life experiences have gifted me with certain talents and abilities. I need to work in order for us to one day survive retirement. I am not able to do the one thing I have ever wanted for myself.  I need to feel of use, to know that I matter. My chosen path seems to be the best direction to achieve any sense of security or fulfillment.  But is it really?

One thing my husband’s recent layoff has shown us is that often times the best solution is the one that requires thinking outside the box. And that takes time. It requires being still. It requires making a full and complete stop.

So after standing firm against the university’s manipulation to keep me going, an opportunity presented itself, something strange that I never have considered once in my life. This opportunity has me thinking about what I know to be true about my current path. Maybe it isn’t true. Maybe I’m still thinking in the box and I need to get out of it.

I am choosing to keep the things I’m now considering close to my heart. I may, and hopefully will be able to share them in the future. But for now, I’m just being still. I’m thinking outside the box.  I’m praying.  And I’m still planning on beginning my graduate work in marriage and family therapy in January. The things I’m thinking about will add to my path, not change it entirely.

At least I think so.




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