I had a strange dream this morning. In this dream, weird zoo animals somehow got into my house (which later turned out to be a mobile home). By weird, I mean these animals sort of resembled certain species of animals, but something was slightly off. For example, there were some ostrich-like birds, but they were about the length of two hands, and their necks were much more flexible–almost snake-like. There were also miniature penguins and some full sized sea lion type creatures. I was attempting to round these creatures up and convince the other person in this dream we needed to do something about these animals. The person suggested we drop them off on the side of the road, not realizing the type of animals we now had. So, I had to tell the person we needed to take them to the zoo, but it was difficult for the person to understand why we needed to go to the zoo.
At some point, I needed to kill the mini-ostriches because they were sick, but I covered the bodies and kept them for when we got to the zoo. At some point, I meet a man who is, I guess, a zookeeper or has some sort of job working with animals. He shows me some signs around the house the point out that the little ostriches were most likely very sick. I then told him what I did, and he accused me of doing the wrong thing because I had no proof they were sick. In my mind, I was thinking, “But you just showed me physical evidence that they were…” Nonetheless, I was confused about his reaction.
The two people in the dream had something in common: In both cases, I thought I had given them enough information which would explain why I wanted to do something, like go to the zoo, or had done something, like kill the mini-ostriches. However, because they had not seen for themselves, the amount of information I had given was not enough. When I first woke up from the dream, I thought it had been odd, and I wondered what it might be about. When I was younger, I used to dream fairly often, but I seem to dream less and less as I get older. So, this dream definitely caught my attention.
I pondered about it as I dozed in and out of sleep until my alarm went off. As I was getting my breakfast, I had a realization that this dream mimics our lives in a lot of ways. We all have strange dreams–things we want to do which may not seem normal to everyone else. We have all seen things we can’t quite explained. We have all made decisions we knew were right but did not seem logical to those around us. However, because people can’t read our minds or see what’s really in our hearts, because they have not seen what we have seen, when we try to explain, they don’t understand. It can be very frustrating. From the other side, others’ actions can seem odd. We think to ourselves, “If I were in that situation, I would act completely differently” or “What in the world is this person doing??” The fact of the matter is, we may not have all the information about the particular situation or fully understand the person’s intentions. We may not realize they have zoo animals running a muck in their house.
Regardless of which side of the coin you currently find yourself, I think we can all work on having more grace towards those around us, realizing they can’t read our minds and we can’t read theirs. It may look like they are doing something crazy or stupid, and maybe they legitimately are. Instead of automatically labeling the situation and person a mess, let’s first talk to them, try to understand what they are going through, what factors are influencing their situations of which we may be ignorant.