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Heart to heart

I just woke up from a nap where I had a very poignant dream.  I don't remember my dreams very often, and when I do I don't always remember very many details.  That's why this particular dream stands out.  It was very vivid, and I remember many details.  But I mainly want to share it because it shows what's been on my mind lately and because I think that it is a good lesson.  (As a side note, this is about the 4th or 5th dream within the last week where Magic cards have appeared in the dream.  Clearly I think about it too much.)

There was an event that I was going to participate in.  It was a sort of musical performance kind of thing.  In fact, Conrad and I were going to sing in a choir, so we attended choir practice together.  Also, many of the members of the ward (Mormon congregation) I used to belong to were asked to participate by doing some dances and musical numbers.  It was a rather big event, actually.

Anyway, I remember on the actual day of the event, I was sitting in the area that I assume was reserved for the choir (although, we never actually sang, which was odd, but dreams often do strange things like that).  On the stand there was a couple and a woman, each of whom I respect and admire very much (in real life, as well as in the dream).  For the sake of the discussion, I'll call the couple Fred and Rachel and the other woman I'll call Thelma.  And in real life, Fred and Rachel know Thelma and all like each other.  They're great people.

The show took place in a big open room, like the gym/cultural hall that most Mormon church buildings have (in fact, later on in the dream when I was walking around during intermission, the building felt very much like a Mormon church).  There was a stand/platform at the front where some VIPs were sitting, including Fred, Rachel, and Thelma.  I was sitting on the side, face the center of the floor, so the stand was on my left.  There was a rather handsome man in the center of the stand who was either MC or guest of honor or both.  At one point, he called a certain woman (also very attractive) up to talk to her.  At first I thought he was going to propose to her.  I knew them and I knew that she was very excited about this and she enjoyed the attention.  They talked for a little bit, then he sat down and asked her to sit on his lap--he was going to do the Santa Claus thing and asked her what she wanted, but it was clearly very flirty and suggestive.

Anyway, I don't really need to go into too much detail, but she sat on the floor next to him with her head in his lap and at that point he wasn't wearing pants.  She kept pushing his underwear up a little bit further to reveal more of his legs.  They were both enjoying it very much.  At one point, Rachel looked over (she had to look over her shoulder, from where she was sitting) and saw what was going on.  She was absolutely appalled.  As soon as I saw that she looked, I knew exactly how she was feeling.  This was completely inappropriate.  I knew how she felt, I knew what was going through her mind.  Then she spoke up and said something to the effect of "We shouldn't be doing this."  Her words seemed to have no effect on anyone, although I knew everyone in the room could hear her.  I felt extremely awkward at what she was saying, and I buried my head in my lap as I often do when I'm in that kind of setting.

She got up and came over to sit by me.  She wanted to be reassured that she wasn't being irrational in saying what she had said.  I briefly told her that I knew how she felt (although I didn't go into any detail at this point in time).  Then, as she was standing up to go back to the stand, Thelma came down and was about to go somewhere when Rachel said she wanted to talk to her.  So they both sat down next to me.  Rachel knew that Thelma's standards were the same as her own, so she sought confirmation from her.  She asked if she was right in saying what she said.  Thelma replied that she didn't think it was appropriate.  This came as a shock to Rachel.

"Don't you think that they shouldn't be showing that much skin?"

"I don't think it's my place to judge people.  I feel the way you do, that it shouldn't happen, but I don't feel comfortable telling other people what they should or shouldn't do."

Then Rachel brought up an experience from Thelma's past (this part deviates from real life--this experience isn't real, but it was in my dream).  Thelma had been sexually assaulted four years ago.

"Don't you think it's important for you to take a stand and prevent that from happening to people in the future?" Rachel asked.

"I've decided to put that in my past.  If I hold on to it and let it eat at me, then I can destroy my own life.  That was a very emotional and intense thing that happened to me, and I've decided to just move on with life."

Thelma was getting emotional because she was remembering something intense from her past.  Rachel was getting upset because she wasn't geting the support she was looking for.  All of the women around us were looking over and listening in to the conversation, but not saying anything.

Skip to intermission.  I got up and started walking around (this is when I realized the building was very much like a Mormon church, although it wasn't really a Mormon-sponsored event).  I came to a room where Fred and Rachel were sitting down.  Rachel was talking about that incident, which bothered her greatly, and Fred was agreeing with her.  I came in and sat down next to Rachel.  She asked me again to confirm her feelings.  She sincerely thought that I still feel the way she does about modesty.  I put my arm around her and told her that I knew exactly how she felt, that I respected her opinion and her feelings.  I acknowledged that her feelings were very real and it wasn't irrational for her to have said what she said, since it was a very real thing for her.

I also told her that I no longer felt that way.  I said that it's quite different looking at the Mormon church from the outside than it is to be Mormon and look at the church from the inside.  Most of the world would consider the Mormon standard of modesty to be rather strange and restrictive.  I told her that I know that she felt like the MC and the woman he invited up were being immodest, but that I think there are times and places when that kind of behavior is appropriate, and I felt that this particular event was one such occasion.  I also said that I think the human body is something that should be explored and experimented with.  I knew she didn't want to hear me say that, but I felt that I needed to be honest and I got the feeling that she appreciated my honesty, even though she was clearly disappointed in my opinion.

However, I feel that overall, the conversation was very good.  I think by the end of it, she was feeling better--she at least felt justified in having spoken up about what happened on the stand.  I think we understood each other and felt mutual respect for each other holding different views on the matter.

When I woke up, I was actually quite surprised that I had had such a dream.  All of the things that Fred, Rachel, and Thelma said were things that I could picture them saying in real life.  Even their gestures and body language were all typical of them.  I was shocked at the level of clarity in this dream, since in most of my dreams, people don't even have a specific identity--they may be a "friend", but not anyone in particular that I know in real life.  So, this was remarkable to me.  But I do hope that I can do what I did in the dream and reach out to people with whom I now disagree but used to agree with and reach that kind of respect and mutual understanding.

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