I dreamed that, at this stage in my life, I was repeating my senior year in high school. I had just moved back to my childhood home where other people were living, too. Although I had nothing unpacked, I found and placed what I needed to start my first day of school at the end of the drive where the bus would pick me up.
Next morning, I stood waiting for the bus in plenty of time when I realized I didn’t have on my shoes. I ran back into the house and searched everywhere for them, to no avail. I found what I thought was a pair of my dress boots in the bedroom where another guy was just waking up. When I put them on, the boots were too big. The guy said I could wear them, but they were so long I couldn’t walk in them.
Still searching, I heard the bus pull away. I’d missed it. Undaunted, I found some shoes and another way to school. While there, I couldn’t find my classes at first. Especially confusing for me was that I was a student who had been a teacher, so in this new context of repeating my senior year, I didn’t fit in with either group. As I went through my day, it occurred to me that I had already earned my credits and graduated. I needed only show the administration my transcript so I didn’t have to spend the entire year reliving something I’d experienced so long ago.
At the end of the school day I was at a football game standing on the sidelines with a female student. When the ball sailed our way, we ducked and hid instead of trying to catch it. From my hiding place, I looked across the stadium and saw most of the student body together enjoying the game. I realized that repeating the past was also repeating the mistakes of my past, where I had withdrawn and hidden from my peers instead of relishing the opportunities before me at the time. I knew in that moment that life does not invite us to turn back, but only to move forward and do the best with what we have right now.
I was awakened by the flutter of that same little bird at the bathroom window.
The lesson: don’t turn back to fix or repeat the past. We have only this moment to see where we are on our life’s journey, with all its lessons, losses, and blessings, and to make of our lives what we can right now.