I was wandering around Paris in my dream last night. I was a little girl on my old bicycle, riding around the insane streets. They are crazy. Go to Google Maps sometime and check them out. Streets in the U.S. typically have intersections composed of two streets which cross at right angles. In Paris, the intersections can have as many as six streets crossing. Finding your way around in Paris can be intimidating.
I had two bags, one on each shoulder. First I noticed that one bag was missing. I retraced my steps and found the missing bag and got back on my bike again. A few minutes later, I noticed that I had lost my other bag. This may seem an incredibly chaotic situation to you, but this is not all that unusual for me. My life has always been a never ending game of hide and seek, retracing my steps to find the materials I am missing. Usually strangers and acquaintances are very helpful in providing information and helping me track down my misplaced world. Paris can be a lonely place. The French seem to be very sociable in Paris. They sit around in outdoor cafe tables under colorful umbrellas and awnings with rapt attention focused on the other person, not a phone screen in sight. Of course, they are usually speaking in French, so I feel like a strange kind of spectator, outside looking in at this intimate world as though I am invisible.
In this lonely place, my little girl was starting to panic. That swirling vortex of terror, surrounded by strange words I didn’t understand and strange people I didn’t know, I started to fall into that dark place that people with anxiety disorders know too well. At the back of my subconscious mind I knew that even though I was a little girl, there were four precious little boys somewhere that needed me. I knew that they were being cared for, but I suddenly felt desperate to find them. Like my lost bag, they were lost somewhere and I would never be okay again until I had them in my arms, safe and found.
The morning came with delighted shouts from Austin, “Momma! Momma! The tree!! the Christmas tree!!” I had told him last night at bedtime that the tree would still be there in the morning, and he was bursting to tell me that I had been right. Momma is always right. The dream Paris evaporated in the delight of his little voice. My boys were safe. I was a big strong woman again, ready to mother my little angel/devils.
Eva is my middle name, so when I was little I was Little Eva or Little E.
My dad used to call me that. Little E is my core self, my authentic self, my inner child. She is called my many names in therapy, but lives inside my psyche. She is the child that Jesus loves and I have to become again to enter his kingdom. She is vulnerable and soft and loving. I found her in my counselor’s office many years ago and she is still afraid as evidenced in my dream. When I was little I used to carry around a small yellow memo book. In my childish hand I had added the letters -ry to Memo to make it a memory book. I thought it might help me to remember where my lost things were. I thought it was a marvelous idea. If I had found my memory book, perhaps she would have been found sooner. Once I found my Little E, afraid, ashamed, and neglected six years ago, I fell in love with her. She is precious and I am her mother. I am a rather protective mother, but sometimes neglectful. I’m working on it and Cathy, my counselor, helped me. She doesn’t pop up in my dreams very often. In fact, I can’t remember another dream she was in. As her Momma I have a message for her in Paris.
Little E, you are in Paris! There are beautiful things here that you will love. Ride your bike and feel the Parisian air whip past your face. It is magical! It is the city of love and you are in the middle of it. Go to the Seine and watch the tourist boats. Watch the students. See the blossoms on the trees. Go to the park and see the queens in their stone glory, magnificent women even with pigeon poop in their hair. Dance in the flowers, find the butterflies, take a selfie, laugh at yourself, and practice saying “Bonjour!” to anyone when you catch their eye. Your children are safe in their beds in Texas and nothing can hurt them. Your bag is your baggage and it deserves to be lost. In fact, drop the other bag. You don’t need it. Bags don’t belong in dreams anyway. Paris will love you because how could they not? You’re a flower and an artist and everything they love and want to have around. Life is your garden and I want you to bloom wherever you find yourself in the world.
Most of all, know that I love you and I believe in you. Your throat is too small for vegetables, and your brain is too busy for unimportant things, and your hands clutch your memory book. Often you sit in the hall at school with your shame and your unfinished work, and that’s wrong because you’re smart and I know it. You’re enough and your Savior has you in his caring hands. He is Mighty to Save, and he loves you! He sees you and goes with you wherever you are. He is a prayer away and his angels guard you. There is nothing to fear, for faith in Him is all you need. Tough times will come. It will be okay, just never forget that the One who sees the sparrow fall sees you. His love is like the sun and it will never change even when sin and darkness seem to swallow everything. Find his love and his light, become his handmaid, his broken handmaid…..his Little E.