Game of Thrones and Dreaming
At 1:08 in the afternoon on October 7th, I threw my head back in my cubicle within a sea of cubicles and laughed. It was a bittersweet, gut-laugh.
It was at precisely that moment, at 1:08 in the afternoon, that I saw my life flash before my eyes for what it really was. Some of the ‘should bes’ of my subconscious thoughts suddenly became as obvious as if I’d made a list on a sticky note.
He answered my text that he’s engaged now, and I laugh, because for a fleeting moment I thought that there was some greater meaning in this s’mores-weather-feeling pricking at my memories, saying, “Hey, you know who you miss?”
“Congratulations!” went the reply text. And that was that.
By 1:10, I had decided a few things. That evening, I would drink the white wine in my fridge straight from the bottle, and I would start painting a wall in our study white. The color was decided for me, so I can’t say it was from some epiphany on how to get the hell on with my life in physical metaphor.
I started reading A Game of Thrones recently. George RR Martin said of Christianity in an interview that he found it interesting that the Bible treats despair as a sin.
It is also interesting how Mr. Martin, who doesn’t claim to believe in much, carries this idea about despair into his fantasy writing. No matter the atrocities that the Starks of Winterfell face, Mr. Martin doesn’t ever give them permission to give up. Now, he gives them permission to be maimed, tortured, and experience all manner of miseries, but never to give in to despair.
I like that. I can’t say that I embody that mentality, but I like it.
A few years ago, I would have hated it. I would have said, No, Martin, you have it all wrong. What about resolutions, what about miracles?
Lord, what about these things that you have promised me?
I’ve always been a dreamer. Culture has taught us to idolize this part of ourselves—and Christian culture cloaks this idea beneath a warped Word of Faith ideology. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” “Ask, and it shall be given to you—no matter what.”
We all dream dozens of things every day, from how we could fall in love, to what we would say to our student loan collectors if we won the lottery. Just because we dream things doesn’t mean they’ll all come true. For anyone who needs to hear it: that is not a failure on our part, an effect caused by a lack of faith.
God shows up as he chooses, dripping glory onto our brows whether we feel like it or not.
Very early on in A Game of Thrones, one of the Stark boys gets pushed off a tower and his mother goes into a fit of grief for days, not leaving his side for anything. Her duties are shoved aside so she can stay by his side. When an assassin comes to kill him, it causes her to shake off her grief for fiery determination. There’s a plot afoot, and she can do something to seek out the truth, so she does.
In my relatively short life, I have told many mountains to move in the name of Jesus that have simply laughed in my face.
I’m trying to learn to laugh back. I’m trying to come to terms with the ambiguity of life, of relationships, and even of faith, instead of giving into despair whenever the journey doesn’t look the way someone told me once in a movie or a sermon that it should because I am good or kind or I believed.
I think half the battle with self-pity is seeing and gratefully accepting things for what they are, not grieving over a life that you think you should have but don’t.
Jesus died and rose again. The rising part is nice, the #blessed life worthy of Instagram, but there is something in my heart that aches when I pretend that the dying part didn’t happen—or that it doesn’t happen in our lives all the time, in different ways. Acknowledging the death part somehow gives me hope, just as it does when I give thanks for the resurrection from the dead.
At 1:08 in the afternoon, on this chilly Thursday, I paused from my corporate world, shrugged off a few paper thin ideas of who I am, and stepped into myself a little more. I started writing these words feverishly on yellow sticky notes, page-after-tiny-page, because they had struck me like a bell. I hope this cry to have mercy on yourself, this call to accept that the journey of dreams and faith is manifold, resonates with you.