I was once told by an acupuncturist that dreaming in vivid details and colors indicates stress and trouble processing life events. I saw Gil, the only acupuncturist that I’ve seen to date, regularly for the last couple of years that I lived in Tel Aviv. He was quiet and methodical, while I was at first skeptical. It was Gil that revealed to me I was pregnant, when it was two weeks too early to take any type of over-the-counter test. My trust and affection for this peaceful and wise man was affirmed in that unbelievable moment.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had those vibrant dreams he once helped alleviate, the products of some kind of stress or worry. Lately though, I’ve found myself once again startled into panicked wakefulness, with brilliant colors and violent images fading into the bleary eyed realization that my little love is safe and healthy, and wholly unaware of the greater suffering happening in the world around us.
Once a person who only skimmed over current events headings, I am now constantly glued to my phone, flipping from one tragic story to the next. From Syria, to Pakistan, to Nigeria, to Sudan, to Israel, to Gaza, to our own border, the suffering of innocent men, women, and children rips at my heart. As I read the latest updates, I’m always haunted by the same recurring question: How does a mother survive, knowing she is helpless to protect her child? The answer is unimaginable to me.
The question then becomes what can I do? When I look at my precious girl I find that for us, it’s the small changes made in our daily lives. To reduce our carbon footprints, we’re not taking on factory farming. We’re eating a plant-based diet and recycling. When she brushes her teeth, we talk about the importance of saving the fish by turning off the faucet. It’s not saving the world, but it’s education. I pray to raise my daughter to become a compassionate citizen, one who thinks critically about world issues and strives to affect positive change in whatever measure that may be. My goal is to teach her about the voiceless, and to find opportunities to volunteer that she can participate in as well. Memories of my mother doing the same have stayed with me until this day, and had a profound impact on me as a child.
As we were waiting at a stoplight a couple of weeks ago, there was a woman holding a cardboard sign next to us. I had some extra snacks in the car and offered her a granola bar. She accepted and we drove on. My sweet girl had a lot of questions about why we had given this woman her granola bar. I can’t drive by someone standing on a street corner now, without a petulant little voice demanding her granola bar back. I know that one day our repetitive discussions about hunger and poverty will eventually resonate with her. Change, no matter how big or small may take a while, but it’s worth the effort.
We changed up our veggie tacos this week and tried a barbecue artichoke taco recipe. I used a locally produced barbecue sauce, and instead of a purple cabbage slaw, made a broccoli carrot slaw. The results were delicious. Afterwards, during bedtime prayers, my little love said her usual revision of what I had prayed before her. Her version was, “Thank you God for today, safe children and happy dreams,” which as her mother, blessed me with a greater peace of mind and a hopeful heart.